AU Press Releases

‘Wit and Wisdom’ essay competition winner to present piece at AU Forum

Elizabeth E. Wager, a junior English major at Alfred University, will present her award-winning piece “Why do personas matter?” on Thursday, March 4, during AU’s Bergren Forum at 12:10 p.m., in Nevins Theater, Powell Campus Center. This event is free of charge and open to public.

The first winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Wit and Wisdom competition, Wager’s essay presentation will includes several of her own poems. Her work focuses on the construction, development, and importance of narrative voices in poetry.

Wager is a daughter of Lamont Wager and Martha Paulson of Jamestown and a graduate of Jamestown High School.

“My presentation is all about the use of different voices and different characters within poetry,” Wager said. “Just because a poem is in the first person point of view doesn't mean it’s the poet speaking – I have a poem from the point of view of a coal miner. It’s about trying to understand what other people might be thinking and feeling. It’s all very liberating; when I write, I can be anyone”

“Writing and planning poetry takes a lot of thinking, taking notes, and crossing stuff out,” Wager said. “Most of the time I spend on poetry is just sitting and thinking about things.”

When asked of her interest in writing, Wager said, “I’ve always been interested in writing, but more for my own amusement than anything else.” For more information about her work, contact Wager at

Phi Beta Kappa is considered to be among the most prestigious of honor societies in the United States since its founding in1776, and is dedicated “to the ideal of excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.”

To be eligible to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, colleges of liberal arts & sciences must meet the society’s rigorous academic standards and be approved by the membership. There are fewer than 300 colleges – roughly 15 percent – nationwide that have been granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Alfred University was awarded a chapter in 2003 and installed its first members in April 2004.

The Bergren Forum, sponsored by the Alfred University Division of Human Studies, meets Thursdays during each academic semester at the University. Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch; coffee and tea will be available.