Cooperstown Graduate Program Announces the 2008 Bruce Buckley Lecture

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On Thursday, April 10, Amanda Dargan and Steve Zeitlin of City Lore will present Poetry Duels in the Americas at the Fenimore Art Museum auditorium in Cooperstown, NY at 7:30 p.m. The lecture focuses on the oral tradition of poetry contests, as practiced in Trinidad. Participants perform improvised poems in musical form to ridicule or challenge their competitor and win the title of master poet. The lecture will include footage of interviews with Trinidadian extempo masters and actual performances.

The Cooperstown Graduate Program, the premier program for the training of museum professionals, invites each year nationally known folklorists to share their research and experiences in a free public presentation. Folklorists collect the traditional stories, beliefs, and songs of a people, handed down through oral traditions. While poetry attracted Zeitlin to folklore, Amanda Dargan first took interest in traditional stories and songs as a result of a gift.

She said, “My father had brought home a book for me from the 25 cent bin of Alan Lomax’s Folk Songs USA with the cover torn off and in the back it listed all these recordings in the Library of Congress.” Born in 1915, Alan Lomax traveled across the country collecting and recording folk music for the Library of Congress. Dargan wrote to the Library of Congress to ask about the recordings and received a packet of information along with a list of academic programs in folklore.

Now Zeitlin serves as Executive Director and Dargan as Education Director at City Lore, a New York City based organization. City Lore presents programs and projects dedicated to documenting the culture, arts, music, oral traditions, and poetry of New York City and the United States. At city Lore they have also pursued their interest in poetry and have offered programs, such as the People’s Poetry Gathering, a biennial poetry festival in lower Manhattan.

Please join us for this exciting and informative event on Thursday, April 10 at the Fenimore Art Museum auditorium at 7:30 pm. It is free and open to the public. Funding has been made possible by the Cooperstown Rotary and the Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Post 7128 Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Cooperstown Graduate Program is jointly sponsored by the State University College at Oneonta and the New York State Historical Association. CGP offers an intensive two-year program leading to a Master of Arts degree in History Museum Studies.


For more information, please contact:
The Cooperstown Graduate Program
Phone: (607) 547-2586/E-mail:

Press Release Category: 
Program and Event Press Releases
Publication Date: 
March 2008