Foxcroft Alum, Tina Barr '73, Headlines Upcoming Poetry Festival

Tina Barr, an award-winning poet, esteemed teacher of creative writing and member of the Class of 1973, returns to her alma mater Saturday, January 25 as the featured writer at Paul K. Bergan Poetry Festival, English Department Chair Alexander O. Northrup announced recently.

As Foxcroft marks its centennial year, it is especially appropriate to feature one of its very accomplished alumnae. Barr is author of three award-winning chapbooks and “The Gathering Eye,” a collection of poems that won the Tupelo Press Editor’s Award. She has had works published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies as well and was director of the Creative Writing Program at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, for more than a decade.
Barr will hold a reading in the Audrey B. Currier Library Saturday morning at 10am, followed by a writing workshop. Beginning at 1:00pm, she will judge competitive poetry readings by students in FoxHound Auditorium. Students and faculty will also share original and published poetry, in English and in a variety of other languages, during the afternoon session.

The festival begins Friday evening at 7:30 pm in FoxHound with a coffee house-style open mic session, emceed by Steve McCarty of the English Department, and the much-anticipated Poetry Slam. All the festival events are open to the public at no charge. For more information, call 540.687.4511.

The “Slam” is an informal approach to sharing poetry -- the let-your-hair-down, audience-involved kind of spoken word performance that has become popular in college towns and coffee shops across the nation. Original works, presented dramatically by their student-authors, will be judged by students in an elimination-round format that always elicits an enthusiastic response from the audience. Cash prizes go to the winners.

Saturday’s formal reading competition, by contrast, has a long history, dating back to Foxcroft’s early years, and a strictly prescribed format. Every student participates by reading a published poem in class. Those who advance through two rounds -- judged first by their peers and then by a panel of faculty members -- will read in the final with the winners receiving the traditional crown of laurels.

A Black Mountain, NC, resident, Barr teaches in the Great Smokies Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and at Montreat College, works with private students, and conducts workshops. She was Charles R. Glover Chair of English Studies and Associate Professor at Rhodes College and also an award-winning professor at Temple University. After graduating from Foxcroft, Barr earned a BA at Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from Columbia University's School of the Arts, and both master's and doctorates in Literature from Temple. For more information about Barr, as well as samples of her poetry, visit her website at

The poetry festival, which has brought famed poets of all styles to the independent school campus over many decades, was renamed in honor of longtime English teacher Paul K. Bergan upon his retirement in 2007.
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.