Lafayette College has hosted a wide variety of distinguished writers as judges of our writing contests and as campus visitors, including Paul Muldoon, Molly Peacock, Gerald Stern, Yusef Konunyakaa, William Matthews, Mark Doty, Alicia Ostriker, David Lehman, David Chin, Tino Villanueva, Campbell McGrath, W. D. Snodgrass, Heather McHugh, Lawrence Joseph, Sam Lipsyte, Kimiko Hahn, Matthew Dickman, Michael Dickman, Brenda Shaughnessy, Jared Harel, Porochista Khakpour, Heidi Julavits, Alexandra Kleeman, Jennifer Gilmore, Cortney Lamar Charleston, and Hafizah Geter.

Our 2019 MacKnight Black Competition Judge will be the distinguished poet Shane McCrae. Our 2018 MacKnight Black Competition Judge was the poet, novelist, memoirist, and editor Jill Bialosky.


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon was featured at The H. MacKnight Black Poetry Reading held in the Williams Center on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

Our 2019 judge for the Jean Corrie Poetry Competition will be the exciting young poet Leslieann Hobayan.  Our 2018 judge for the Jean Corrie Poetry Competition was sam sax.

The Ruth Mary Callahan Closs Residency was established in 1984 by Fred and Joan Closs in honor of Fred’s mother, Ruth Mary Callahan Closs. Fred Closs was a long-time member of the Department of English who brought many writers to campus and who originated the Roethke Poetry Festival, now the Roethke Humanities Festival. A range of distinguished writers have visited classes, met with students, and given readings on campus through the Closs Residency. Closs Visiting Writers have included Sherman Alexie, Peter Carey, Ping Chong, Maxine Clair, Christopher Durang, Danny Hoch, Marie Howe, David Lehman, Margot Livesey, Paula Morris, Idra Novey, George Saunders, James Tate, and S. L. Wisenberg.  Our 2018 Closs Visiting Writer-in-Residence will be the novelist, short story writer, and foremost satirist Brock Clarke.