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Former Texas Poet Laureate’s chapbook added to TWU’s pandemic collection

Former Texas Poet Laureate Karla Morton’s new chapbook was added to Texas Woman’s University’s Voices of the Coronavirus Pandemic:The Chancellor Carine M. Feyten Collection, which documents the pandemic through public submissions, Oct. 19.

The project, which the Board of Regents named after Chancellor Feyten for what they recognized as her leadership during the pandemic, is a permanent part of the TWU library’s special collections department. There are six committee members that oversee it, as well as one graduate student and two undergraduate students who help work for the collection.

The chapbook consists of 16 poems titled “Where to Go Among the Chaos,” and a dedication is made to all TWU faculty, students and staff.

“To Chancellor Carine M. Feyten, Dr. Phyllis Bridges, and the amazing Faculty, Staff, and Students of Texas Woman’s University, for lifting up and changing the lives of so many,” Morton said in her dedication.

Morton reached out to English professor and chair of the publications committee Phyllis Bridges in early September about donating her work to the collection. Adjunct instructor Esther Houghtaling designed the chapbook, and her poems were published in October.

Morton is also a photographer and professional speaker along with being an author, and she has won many awards such as the Western Heritage Award and the Betsy Colquitt award. She has been featured on news outlets including ABC and CBS and has published 12 books of poetry. 

Morton describes her chapbook in a comment written to Bridges, exploring the effects of the pandemic and how although there are struggles, people become stronger.

“This chapbook is a narrative of just that,” Morton said. “One woman’s journey through the pandemic, but written for everyone to identify with.”

Morton has had a history with TWU because of her visits to the campus and the faculty she has befriended, including Bridges. She previously resided in Denton, and she has a star with her name outside of the Campus Theatre in the Denton Square. She always enjoys coming to town and being on campus, as she has become acquainted with many people at TWU, Bridges said.

“Karla Morton is a longtime friend of TWU,” Bridges said. “She has appeared on the campus before, spoken to student groups and she has always been an advocate for TWU.”

Bridges said she hopes to have Morton visit TWU in the future.

“Whenever the pandemic can be defeated, we want to invite [Morton] back to campus,” Bridges said. “I know she is willing to come and do a session for students, faculty and staff. We will have the chapbooks available there if we can work that out.”

Anyone can submit their work to be included in the collection, even if they are not affiliated with TWU. Accepted entries include writings, artwork, audio recordings, photos and videos, social media posts, clothing and textiles and artifacts. Donors must fill out a form agreeing that their work can be open for public viewing.

Laura Pearson can be reached at lpearson6@twu.edu.

Featured image courtesy of texaspoetlaureate.com.

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