Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2003

Liberian Poet to Present Reading at Whitworth

Liberian poet Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, professor of English and creative writing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, will read from her works on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall at Whitworth College. The reading is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

Wesley is the author of Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa (1998, New Issues Press & Prose), a collection of poems that address the deaths and destruction caused by the Liberian civil war. Her second book of poetry, Becoming Ebony: Poems (March 2003, Southern Illinois University Press), earned a second-place prize in the 2002 Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry.

"Wesley writes with clear-eyed lyricism about her ruthless and beleaguered homeland," according to a Feb. 15, 2003 review in the American Library Association's Booklist magazine.

Wesley, who was born in Tugbakeh, Liberia, earned a master's degree in English education from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., in 1985 and then returned to Liberia. In 1991, two years into the Liberian civil war, she immigrated to the United States with her husband and children.

"Patricia writes about her experiences in the Liberian civil war, focusing especially on the plight of women and children; her poetry is not, however, bitter or pessimistic," says John Yoder, professor of political studies at Whitworth and author of the forthcoming book Popular Political Culture, Civil Society and State Crisis in Liberia (The Edwin Mellen Press).

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


John Yoder, professor of politics & history, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4432 or johnyoder@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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