All readings begin at 7 p.m. and include a reception and time for questions and book signing.
April 12, 2018: Nathaniel Perry
Nathaniel Perry is the author of Nine Acres (American Poetry Review, 2011), which won the 2011 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. His poems and translations have appeared recently in American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Gettysburg Reviews, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. He is the editor of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and Associate Professor of English at Hampden-Sydney College. He lives with his family in rural southside Virginia.
Nine Acres is composed of 52 poems, all of which take their names from the chapter titles of horticulturalist M.G. Kains' 1935 book on small-farm management, Five Acres and Independence. As one reviewer writes, “The poems in his debut collection consider what it means to be faithful—as husband, father, neighbor, and as steward of land, poultry, orchard, and garden…they confront the passions, tedium, graces, and sweat labor of such fidelities both thematically and structurally.” The poet Marie Howe praises Perry’s work, as well: “[T]his is a book that concerns itself with freedom and constraint, with what we used to call husbandry—care of the land, of animals, (of a marriage, of children). Nine Acres speaks of the responsibilities of love. … These poems restore and refresh—they taste of water and metal, arising from a spring close to the source.”
Previous visits in 2017-18
October 5, 2017: Gabriel Fried
Gabriel Fried is the author of The Children Are Reading (Four Way Books, 2017) and Making the New Lamb Take (Sarabande, 2007), which was named a best poetry collection of 2007 by Foreword and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is also the editor of an anthology, Heart of the Order: Baseball Poems. His work has appeared in many magazines, including American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, The Paris Review, and The Yale Review. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and a Director’s Guest at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy. He teaches in the graduate creative writing programs of the University of Missouri and Sierra Nevada College, and is the longtime poetry editor at Persea Books, a literary publishing house based in New York City. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.
Of his first collection, his publisher writes, “[Reading this book], we find ourselves unexpectedly amidst Biblical and mythological stories so intimately retold that they seem populated by friends and relatives . . . the distance between myth and the everyday, collapsed. We remember Eliot’s dictum that only a poet with personality in the first place is able to repress it. And we welcome this poet, who gives us—instead of yet another hip, new, media-ready version of the self—the world we live.”
November 2, 2017: Tarfia Faizullah
Tarfia Faizullah’s poems appear widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, and have been translated into Bengali, Spanish, Persian, and Chinese. She is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016) and Registers of Illuminated Villages, forthcoming from Graywolf in 2018. Her honors include two Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, POETRY Magazine's Frederick Bock Prize, among others, and she was recently recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change. Tarfia co-directs OW!Arts, a collaborative publishing venture with the poet Jamaal May. She is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Poetry at University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' program.
Natasha Trethewey says of Seam, “In poems made more harrowing for what’s not said—the poet’s elegant and wise restraint—we confront the past and its aftermath in the lives of women interrupted by violence and brutality and loss. Memory and the journey back are always fraught with difficulties… Tarfia Faizullah is a poet of brave and unflinching vision and Seam is a beautiful and necessary book.”
January 25, 2018: Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize winner, former U.S. Poet Laureate
Natasha Trethewy served as 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014) and is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Trethewey, who received her master’s degree in English and creative writing from Hollins University, is the author of four collections of poetry, Thrall (2012), Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000) which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013. She teaches at Northwestern University.
March 15, 2018: Molly McCully Brown
Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017). Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Image, TriQuarterly Online, Kenyon Review, The Adroit Journal, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Raised in rural Virginia, she holds degrees from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Stanford University. Currently, she is a John and Renée Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi.
Haunted by the voices of those committed to the notorious Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded in Amherst County. Virginia, epicenter of the American eugenics movement in the first half of the twentieth century, this evocative debut marks the emergence of a poet of exceptional poise and compassion, who grew up in the shadow of the Colony itself. Poet Ada Limon praises the book, saying, “This is nothing less than a revelatory debut that reveals how to stitch something undeniably beautiful out of immense pain and solitude. Intelligent, intricate, fearless, and relentlessly acute, these poems do the good and complicated work of both shattering and singing.” Writer Beth Ann Fennelly says, “I am stunned by the power of this deeply imagined collection. Because the author herself is ‘spastic, palsied, and off-balance,’ she realizes that, had she been born fifty years earlier, she might have ended up in the infamous Virginia State Colony…”
Previous visiting poets
Given Sugar, Given Salt
Elegy for a Broken Machine
Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America
The Blue Hour
Lisa Russ Spaar
Satin Cash: Poems
Allison Seay, Associate for Religion and the Arts // email // 804.288.2867