Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies


at Western Kentucky University



Rob Hale


Picture © Rob Hale

Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies

Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11086
Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101-1086

Dr. Rob Hale Coordinator of the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies, is a professor and Department Head of English at Western Kentucky University. His primary teaching area is 19th-century British literature, especially the poetry of William Wordsworth. He serves as Liaison between the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies and the Robert Penn Warren Circle.

Jonathan Jeffery, Coordinator of the Robert Penn Warren Library, is Library Special Collections Professor at Western Kentucky University.

The Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies at Western Kentucky University exists to honor the achievements of America's first poet laureate, the only person awarded Pulitzer Prizes for both poetry and fiction. The Center is uniquely positioned to accomplish its purpose because both the writer's life and work are deeply rooted in “Warren Country”. Therefore, the Center focuses its efforts on preserving Warren's regional heritage while promoting his considerable international reputation.

The activities of the Center fall into three major functions—education, research, and celebration. The Center's educational purpose is to increase awareness of Warren's life and work and of the values which inform them both.

The Center houses personal items of Robert Penn Warren, and the items are on display to the public. The most valuable items and 2400 books from Warren's personal library are in the Warren Collection located in the Kentucky Museum Building on the Western Kentucky University Campus. Jonathan Jeffrey, Director of Special Collections, is in charge of this collection.

The Warren Center coordinates the Warren Library, collects Warren interviews, and catalogues popular culture treatments of the author's works, such as film or television productions. The Center also collects materials focused on Warren country, including family memorabilia, private letters, local reminiscences, and cultural or historical material associated with the region.

The Robert Penn Warren Advisory Group, distinguished individuals from across the nation, provides valuable recommendations. Nicolette Bruner Olson is Liaison with the Advisory Group.

The Robert Penn Warren Center Committee has the responsibility for planning, directing, and securing resources to support ongoing programs. With cooperation of these groups, the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies realizes its purpose: celebrating the life and work of a versatile and prolific man of lettersóone of America's greatest.

Each April, close to the birth date of Robert Penn Warren, the Center in collaboration with the Warren Circle holds a weekend symposium at Western Kentucky University and in Guthrie, Kentucky, Warren's birthplace. The symposium is exploratory and celebratory, merging scholarly discussions of Warren's literary works with field trips and social events.

Each year the Advisory Group offers the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for an outstanding work of literary scholarship or criticism published in that year that exemplifies in the broadest sense the spirit, scope, and standards represented by the critical tradition established by Warren and Brooks. In particular, the award is intended to recognize and honor work that employs in a significant way the methods associated with "close reading" of the texts. On the Friday afternoon of the symposium weekend, the winner of the Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism presents a lecture at Western Kentucky University, followed by a reception at the Faculty House.

Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism

  • 1994-95 Lewis P. Simpson, The Fable of the Southern Writer
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  • 1996 Mark Royden Winchell, Cleanth Brooks and the Rise of Modern Criticism
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  • 1997 John Hollander, The Work of Poetry
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  • 1998 Denis Donoghue, The Practice of Reading
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  • 1999 Richard Schuchard, Eliot's Dark Angel
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  • 2000 Sir Frank Kermode, Shakespeare's Language
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  • 2001 Paul V. Murphy, The Rebuke of History
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  • 2002 Stephen Burt, Randall Jarrell and His Age
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  • 2003 Laurence Buell, Emerson
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  • 2004 James H. Justus, Fetching the Old Southwest; Marjorie Perloff, Differentials
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  • 2005 Constance Hassett, Christina Rossetti: The Patience of Style
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  • 2006 David Rosen, Power, Plain English, and the Rise of Modern Poetry
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  • 2007 Jeff Dolven, Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance
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  • 2008 Robert Brinkmeyer, Jr., The Fourth Ghost: White Southern Writers and European Fascism, 1930-1950
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  • 2009 Peter W. Travis, Disseminal Chaucer: Rereading the Nun's Priest's Tale
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  • 2010 Mark Payne, The Animal Part: Human and Other Animals in the Poetic Imagination
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  • 2011 Richard Strier, The Unrepentant Renaissance: From Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton
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  • 2012 Meredith Martin, The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture,1860-1930
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  • 2013 Victor Brombert, Musings on Mortality: Tolstoy to Primo Levi
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  • 2014 Richard Rankin Russell,Seamus Heaney's Regions
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For questions regarding the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies, please contact Rob Hale at rob.hale@wku.edu

For questions regarding the Robert Penn Warren Library and Warren Collection, please contact Jonathan Jeffrey at 270-745-5265 or Jonathan.Jeffrey@wku.edu