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School of Humanities

News and Accomplishments

Most recent news:

Dr. Garrett Ashley (PhD, Creative Writing) will be starting as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Tuskegee University in  Fall 2021.

Hannah Mummert (MA and PhD, English), received the Children's Literature Association Graduate Student Honor Award, MA level, for her essay “Little Bodies, Little People: Conflating the Child and the Dwarf in The History of Sir Thomas Thumb." 

Dr. Kent Quaney’s (PhD, 2014) novel A Breath Away from Drowning is under contract at the University of Wisconsin Press and will be released in the spring of 2022. Additionally, this fall Kent begins a full-time position as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University at Montgomery.

David Hii (MA, English) had a story, "The Dragon Sands," accepted for publication in the Spring 2021 print issue of Sou'wester.

Nick Rupert  (PhD, Creative Writing) won a Pushcart Prize for his story "Aunt Job," which first appeared in Idaho Review.

Miguel "Prymo" Linan, (BA, English) had his first story, "Celebrities" accepted for publication and it will appear in Platform Review.

Sara Lewis (PhD, Creative Writing) The National Endowment for the Humanities announced a grant of $350,000 to the Oxford American. The grant will fund a series of feature-length reported segments to air within Points South, a podcast hosted by Oxford American executive editor Sara A. Lewis.

Joseph Labernik (MA, Creative Writing) recently had a story accepted for publication at Zone 3.

Brooke Turner (MA, Creative Writing) had a story, "Silence," accepted for publication in White Wall Review.

David Hii (BA, English) had an essay accepted for publication in Hobart.

Nick Rupert (PhD, Creative Writing) had pieces accepted for publication in Yemassee and Moon City Review.


January 2020

News from our current MA and PhD students:

Rachael Fowler (PhD, Creative Writing) was accepted to present her paper on Jesmyn Ward at the Society for the Study of Southern Literature conference this spring. She was also awarded a College of Arts and Sciences travel grant, shortlisted for the Master's Review Summer Short Story Award, and accepted with an artist grant for a Vermont Studio Center residency. 

Corey Ginsberg (PhD, Creative Writing) recently published poems in The Fiddlehead and Yemassee, and nonfiction in The Crab Orchard Review. Her flash fiction piece won first place at the Orca Cover Letter Contest. 

Karla Keffer’s (PhD, Creative Writing) paper “A Girl Grows in Yorkville: Queering the Upper East Side of Harriet the Spy” was accepted for presentation at the CHLA conference in June 2020. She will be publishing her newest zine “Shifting and Drifting: A Sorta Kinda Tribute to Neil Peart” in February.

Ryan Price (MA, Creative Writing) has a short story forthcoming in Beloit Fiction Journal. He’ll be presenting on a panel at the Mississippi Philological Association in February. 

Jon Riccio's (PhD, Creative Writing) recent poems appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Bending GenresOxidant|EngineRune Bear WeeklySons and Daughters, and The Ocean State ReviewSonora Review published his interview with the poet Robert Carr; the University of Arizona Poetry Center's 1508 blog featured his interview with Ryka Aoki and Cori Bratby-Rudd. His full-length collection, Agoreography, is forthcoming from 3: A Taos Press.

Kayla Schreiber (PhD, Literature) and Dr. Jameela Lares are co-authoring a chapter, “Women (Re)reading Milton: Gendered Reflections on an All-Day Reading of Paradise Lost,” for the collection Women (Re)Writing Milton: A Global Perspective, edited by Sharihan Al-Akhras and Dr. Mandy Green and to be published in the UK by Routledge. 

Brooke Turner’s (MA, Creative Writing) recent fiction has been featured in South 85 Journal and White Wall Review. In addition to fiction, her essay, “The Milkman,” was featured in the print publication, Quills & Pixels. She recently presented her short story, “Woman Friend,” at the 2019 Arkansas Philological Conference where she also served as a moderator for a creative writing panel. She is the Editor of Product Magazine and also volunteers her time as an Assistant Editor with the Mississippi Review.                                                         

News from Alums & Faculty:


Dr. Steve Bellin-Oka (PhD, 1997) published a chapbook, Out of the Frame, with Walls Divide Press in November 2019, and Instructions for Seeing a Ghost, winner of the 2019 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, was published by the University of North Texas Press in January 2020. He recently received the Poets-in-the-Park fellowship from the National Parks Arts Foundation and a fellowship to Yaddo. He is a 2019-2020 Tulsa Artists Fellow in Poetry.

Dr. Annette C. Boehm (PhD, 2015) has a new collection of poems forthcoming with New Rivers Press in 2021. 

Dr. Damian Dressick's (PhD, 2013) debut novel 40 Patchtown is now available for pre-order from Bottom Dog Press. The book details the struggles of fatherless coal miner Chet Pistakowski providing for his family during the1922 coal strike in western Pennsylvania. Damian also serves as fiction editor for the new print journal The Northern Appalachia Review

Dr. Chad Foret (PhD, 2019) started teaching world literature and composition at Southeastern Louisiana University in the Fall. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in FlockBarely South Review, Camas, The Pedestal Magazine, Apeiron Review, and the Wild Gods anthology from New Rivers Press. His manuscript was Runner-Up for the Words and Music Book Prize and a finalist for the Conduit First Book Prize.

Micah Dean Hicks (MA, 2011) was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship. He teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Central Florida.

Dr. Christina Rothenbeck (PhD, 2015) is presenting as part of the panel "Bodily Transformations: Freeing the Self" at both AWP and the New Orleans Poetry Festival this spring. She is an instructor at LSU, where she currently splits her time 50/50 between teaching and working in the Communication Across the Curriculum program. 

Dr. Nickalus Rupert’s (PhD, 2019) story collection, Bosses of Light and Sound, was selected by Kevin Canty as the winner of the prestigious Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and will be published by Willow Springs Books. 

Dr. Erin Elizabeth Smith (PhD, 2009) has recently had poems appear in Guernica, Tupelo Quarterly, SWWIM, diode, Pretty Owl Poetry, and City Brink. Her third full-length collection, Down, is forthcoming from Stephen F. Austin State University Press. This past fall she was a featured presenter at the Young Appalachian Story Summit and the OUTStanding Seminar at the University of Tennessee. You can hear her as guest host on the recent bonus episodes of the podcast Shitty First Drafts

Michael Farris Smith's fifth novel, BLACKWOOD, releases March 3. It has been hailed as a "gleaming, dark masterpiece" by Kirkus Reviews, and it has been optioned for film to Phillips Pictures, who are attached to direct Smith's previous novel, THE FIGHTER. 



Dr. J. A. Bernstein’s novel, Rachel’s Tomb (New Issues, 2019, A.W.P. Award Series Prize), was featured in an interview with Fiction Writers Review. He has a story forthcoming in Washington Square Review and one in the current issue of Hypertext Magazine, which was nominated for Best American Short Stories. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Moon City ReviewNotre Dame ReviewInkwellStone Canoe, and Hobart, and a book review is forthcoming in Joseph Conrad Today. His essay collection, In Josaphat’s Valley, was a finalist for the Zone 3 Creative Nonfiction Book Prize and longlisted for the C&R Press Nonfiction Book Prize.

Dr. Olivia Clare’s short story “Women and Men Made of Them” was published in The Paris Review in fall 2019. Her short story “The Real Thing” will be published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern in early 2020, and her short story “Company” is forthcoming in Bennington Review. She contributed to The Paris Review’s “What Our Contributors Are Reading This Fall” in October 2019. She’ll be in conversation with novelist Katy Simpson Smith at Pass Christian Books in April, and she’ll give a reading at The Twig Book Shop in San Antonio in March as part of an AWP offsite reading.

Dr. Adam Clay’s fourth book of poems, To Make Room for the Sea, will be published in March 2020 by Milkweed Editions. He recently published poems in The Believer (online), Bennington Review, Diagram, Laurel Review, and online at the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day Project. He also has poems forthcoming in Diagram, Cimarron Review, Exit 7, The Journal, and Seneca Review. Along with these publications, Tracy K. Smith chose his poem, "Let's Make a Joke About How Old We've Become," for a future episode of her podcast, The Slowdown.

In the spring of 2020, Dr. Damon Franke’s essay "Nostalgia and the Kiss of Ulysses in Twin Peaks" will be published by European Joyce Studies. In the spring of 2019, his article "Vachel Lindsay at Gulf Park, 1923 to 1924" was published in Mississippi Quarterly 69.4 (Fall 2016): 433-56. In the fall of 2019, he won the Kenneth M. Roemer Innovative Course Design Award from the Society for Utopian Studies for the use of utopian dimensions in his Survey of British Literature II course.

Dr. Sherita Johnson recently received two awards:

  • Dale Center Research Award to support travels to the upcoming "Southern Studies Conference" at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama (January 31-February 1, 2020). This is an annual interdisciplinary, international conference on all aspects of the American South with scholars typically drawn from more than a dozen states and several countries. My presentation is entitled, " 'Oh, What a Field of Work is Here!': Frances Harper and William Wells Brown in the Unreconstructed South." Looking at their southern tours, I examine the writings of Harper and Brown that document the experiences of formerly enslaved African Americans during Reconstruction. Their intimate encounters inspired poetry and other works of African American literature that undermine the records of black caricatures found in what W.E.B. DuBois called "the propaganda of history." Ultimately, Harper and Brown's works offer a powerful counter to both the white Southern literature of the nineteenth century and the troubling gaps and errors in Southern studies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
  • Center for the Study of the Gulf South Research Award to support my investigation of black "contrabands of war" through research in Corinth, Mississippi and at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University. As described in military discourse, these "contrabands" were refugees or  formerly enslaved African Americans who achieved self-emancipation by escaping to Union army camps.  My research trip (in early January) included a visit to the former site of a contraband camp at Corinth, which is now one of few remaining such sites open for cultural tourism and public education. While there, I also spent time researching black refugees at the Civil War Interpretative Center. On route to the contraband camp / park and museum. I spent time conducting archival research at the Grant library to find materials related to the Union occupation in north Mississippi.  The research travel provided a historical foundation on which to launch an interdisciplinary investigation into Reconstruction-era writing by African American authors. A presentation of my research findings is scheduled for later this spring.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Philip C. Kolin is the Featured Poet for the February 2020  issue of the Delta Poetry Review which also contains John Zheng's interview with Kolin about his poetry about the Delta as well as his scholarly work on Tennessee Williams. Kolin has also published new poems in Pilgrimage Magazine, American Journal of Poetry, Louisiana Literature, Integrite, Christian Century, and Vocations and Prayer. His "Reflections on the Eucharist" appeared in the current issue of Emmanuel Magazine. He is also guest editing the Spring 2021 issue of Valley Voice which will focus exclusively on the subject/icon/meme of cotton and include new poetry, short stories, memoirs, interviews, scholarly articles, and archival materials.

In April, Dr. Jameela Lares will be presenting two papers in the UK, one an invited paper at an interdisciplinary conference at Loughborough University and the other as the speaker for the evening at the Children’s Literature program at Cambridge University. Dr. Lares and Kayla Schreiber (PhD, Literature) are co-authoring a chapter, “Women (Re)reading Milton: Gendered Reflections on an All-Day Reading of Paradise Lost,” for the collection Women (Re)Writing Milton: A Global Perspective, edited by Sharihan Al-Akhras and Dr. Mandy Green and to be published in the UK by Routledge. 

Dr. Leah Parker has two recent publications:

  • In December: “Eschatology for Cannibals: A System of Aberrance in the Old English Andreas,” in Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World, ed. Richard H. Godden and Asa Simon Mittman (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 227–48.
  • “The Proleptic Fantasy of Anglo-Saxon Crusade in a Manuscript for King Henry VI,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 119:1 (Jan. 2020), pp. 89–120.



August 2019

News from our undergraduate students:

Lena Kinder, an undergraduate, published a story, "A Murder of Crows," which she first wrote in her 421 fiction workshop, in a literary journal, Prometheus Dreaming.

David Hii, an undergraduate, has had an essay, "Farmers of Men," accepted for publication in Salt Hill, which is a premier literary journal run by the graduate creative writing program at Syracuse University. USM issued a press release here


News from our current MA and PhD students:

Thus far in 2019, Corey Ginsberg’s (PhD, Creative Writing) poetry has appeared in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Politics of Shelter anthology. Her essay, “Unlocked,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She recently read at the Sundress Academy for the Arts Reading Series. 

Jon Riccio's (PhD, Creative Writing) recent and forthcoming poems appear in Molecule, Sheila-Na-Gig online, Wordgathering, and Word For/ Word. The University of Arizona Poetry Center's 1508 blog published his interview with Sandra Simonds earlier this summer. 

Joseph Sigurdson (MA, Creative Writing) will be opening for Jonathan Franzen at San Jose State University on September 20th. He will be reading his poem "Letter 2" which won the Edwin Markham Award from Reed Magazine

Josh Stricklin’s (MA, Creative Writing) newest publication is called The Nelson House and is a follow up to last year’s Ridin’ The Five. This is the third installment of the Under the Wolftree series. It is set to release this fall.


News from Alums & Faculty:


Dr. Steve Bellin-Oka (PhD, 1997) was awarded the second annual Poets-in-the-Park fellowship from the National Parks Foundation and will be in residence at Gettysburg National Military Park in September and October 2019. His sequence of poems, "Geronimo Photographs," is currently on exhibit at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, and his long poem "Immigration Interview" is part of Proviso, a multimedia project combining text, visual art, and film opening at Cameron Studios in Tulsa in September. New work is forthcoming in World Literature Today, and interviews with other poets are forthcoming from Adroit Journal and 32 Poems

Dr. Annette C. Boehm (PhD, 2015) has a new chapbook out with Dancing Girl Press. E.D. Liberations is a collection of erasures of Emily Dickinson poems. 

Kim Chinquee (MA, 2002) was recently elected as the AWP Northeast Regional Chair. She co-directs the writing major at SUNY-Buffalo State.

Dr. Rene Fleischbein (PhD, 2018) has a visiting position at Clemson University. 

Dr. Chad Foret (PhD, 2019) was recently hired to teach world literature and composition at Southeastern Louisiana University. In 2019, his creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Pedestal Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Barely South, and What Rough Beast.

Dr. Jay Glassie (PhD, 2019) has joined the founding faculty of the new Bard High School Early College in Washington, D.C. as an English Literature teacher. Bard DC is a collaboration between Bard College and the District of Columbia Public Schools, with a mission to provide an academically rigorous, public, tuition-free education to residents from the most underserved sections of Washington. Graduates earn an Associate’s Degree simultaneously with their high school diploma. Dr. Glassie will be teaching both high school and college courses at Bard DC. 

Dr. Jessica Guzman (PhD, 2019) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College, where she teaches creative writing. Her collection Adelante was selected by Patricia Smith as winner of the 2019 Gatewood Prize and will be published by Switchback Books in 2020. 

Dr. Anastasia Stelse's (PhD, 2018) poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Verse Daily, Narrative, Boudin, Stonecoast Review, San Pedro River Review, LIT, and Louisiana Literature. She is currently a Visiting Instructor at the University of South Florida.



Dr. Angela Ball’s poem, “Ordinance Survey,” appears in FIELD magazine's “50 Poems from 50 Years” section of its 100th and final issue. Her poem, “Often I feel as if Someone Has Hit Me with Cold Water,” appears in MEMORIOUS magazine's 15th-Anniversary Issue. She was recently named an Honored Artist by the Mississippi State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

Dr. Jonathan Barron published the following in 2019: 

“Poetry and Realism” in The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Realism. Ed. Keith Newlin. New York: Oxford UP, 2019: 487-506.

“Robert Frost in Early Twentieth Century London: Harold Monro’s Poetry and Drama and Eros.” English Literature in Transition. 2019 (62.2): 186-205.

This summer, Dr. Barron travelled to Washington D.C. where he joined a team of six peer reviewers for Awards for Faculty in Literature for 9-12 month grants for the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities).

Dr. J. A. Bernstein’s chapbook, Desert Castles, was recently published by Southern Indiana Review, where it won the Wilhelmus Prize. Other recent and forthcoming works include a “novelette” in ArLiJo, a story in Contrary Magazine, an essay in the Obsession Anthology (Gimmick Press), and poems in B O D Y and Red Rock Review. His collection of essays was named a finalist for the 2019 Nonfiction Book Prize at Autumn House Press, and an essay from the collection is a finalist for a contest at Tiferet Journal. He’ll be reading from his novel, Rachel’s Tomb (New Issues, 2019), in February in Charlotte and presenting at the upcoming MLA and AWP Conferences.

Dr. Craig Carey published the following in 2019:

“William Dean Howells, Thing Theory, and the Hazards of Speculative Realism.” Arizona Quarterly 75, no. 1 (2019): 85-109. 

Dr. Olivia Clare will publish a short story in the fall issue of The Paris Review. She has a short story forthcoming in a special issue of Audubon Magazine (National Audubon Society) that will, for the first time for Audubon, include fiction. She’s had poems recently published in Denver Quarterly and Diode. This summer, she gave a reading at Square Books in Oxford, MS, and she moderated a panel on short story collections at the Mississippi Book Festival. Her novel is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic.

Dr. Adam Clay’s work was recently published in Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, and Harpur Palate. His fourth book of poems, To Make Room for the Sea, is forthcoming in 2020 from Milkweed Editions. 

Dr. Monika Gehlawat will publish the following in 2019:

“Strangers in the Village: James Baldwin, Teju Cole, and Glenn Ligon” in James Baldwin Review, Vol. 5 (fall 2019). 

Dr. Joyce Inman won the CCCC Lavender Scholarship Queer Theory Article Award for her article “Breaking out of the Basic Writing Closet: Queering the Thirdspace of Composition.”

Dr. Nicolle Jordan has two recent publications:

“Maria Graham’s Chilean Landscape of Independence.” XVIII New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century (Spring 2019): 63-81.

“‘Those Stately Palaces’: Tribute and Estates in the Work of Anne Finch and Jane Barker.” The Circuit of Apollo: Women’s Tributes to Women in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Laura Runge and Jessica Cook. University of Delaware Press (2019): 36-53.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Philip C. Kolin published his ninth collection of poems, Reaching Forever: Poems (Cascade Books). He served as the Guest Editor for a Special Issue of the Arkansas Review (Spring 2019) exclusively devoted to Delta Poetry and included new poems, essays, interviews, and memoirs from more than 20 distinguished Delta authors. In 2019, more than 20 of his poems have been published in Pilgrimage, Spiritus, Louisiana Literature, Sojourners, Christian Century, Emmanuel,, and St. Austin Review. He also did an interview with poet-biographer Paul Mariani for the 2019 issue of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.

Prof. Jameela Lares had a busy summer presenting at three international conferences: the International Milton Symposium (June, Strasbourg, France), the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (July, New Orleans, Louisiana—nearby for a change!), and the International John Bunyan Society (August, Edmonton, Alberta). Sadly, she had to miss a fourth conference, the Children’s Literature Association, because it conflicted with Milton.


APRIL 2019

News from our current MA and PhD students:

Garrett Ashley's work is forthcoming in Asimov's Science Fiction, Reed Magazine, Red Rock Review, and DIAGRAM

Chad Foret (spring 2019 PhD graduate) has recent poetry in publications such as Best New Poets, Tupelo Quarterly, Nashville Review, MAYDAY, and Spoon River Poetry Review where his poem was chosen by Li-Young Lee as runner-up for the Editor’s Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Other recent work has placed or been selected as a finalist for the Palette Poetry Prize, New South Poetry Contest, Tennessee Williams Poetry Contest, and Words and Music Poetry Competition.

Karlie Herndon's essay "Rejecting the Mother: Marianne Moore's 'The Paper Nautilus'" won the Committee on Services and Resources for Women Kathanne Green Award and the James Sims Award in March, 2019. She was also awarded a Howard and Helen Bahr Graduate Research Award. In April, Karlie was selected as the first recipient of the International Children’s Literature Research Grant, a $2000 travel grant that will allow her to do research in the Central Michigan Clark Memorial Library in August 2019. Finally, she served as a student ambassador during the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival in April, and her student archival display, "The Magical Umbrella of Children's Literature," will be officially open in the McCain Archives from April 17, 2019 until February of 2020. 

Karla Keffer’s poem “Mushrooms” recently appeared in Rappahanock Review. She was also accepted to both the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the 2019 Tin House Summer Workshop to study graphic narratives. 

Tanja Nathanael (spring 2019 PhD graduate) will be teaching two online courses at San Jose State University (San Jose, CA) in the fall. The courses are International Children's Literature and Fantasy and Science Fiction. Tanja Nathanael and Olivia Bushardt are the creators and co-editors of a webpage and blog for the ChLA (Children's Literature Association) international committee. The blog and website were created to highlight children’s literature from outside the United States with the primary audience being academics in children’s and young adult literature. As co-editors they seek submissions from scholars around the world to provide content for the blog. Please visit their webpage for more information:

Jon Riccio's work recently appeared in SUSAN and the 2018 Lambda Fellows Anthology Emerge

Nick Rupert (spring 2019 PhD graduate) had fiction published recently in Southern Humanities Review and Raleigh Review.  

Erika Olivia Shoup (spring 2019 MA graduate) will be attending Louisiana State University for her MFA in fiction.

Joe Sigurdson has an essay forthcoming in Columbia Journal

Mary Spooner (spring 2019 MA graduate) will be attending the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan for her MFA in poetry. 

Mary Stephens’ article “The Undead Past” will appear in the Spring/Summer issue of Southern Studies. The article discusses romantic Southern ideals in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic series.

Crystal Veronie’s essay, “‘When my hands are empty / I will be full’: Visualizing Two-Spirit Bodies in Chrystos’s Not Vanishing,” has been accepted for publication in Studies in American Indian Literature (SAIL). An earlier draft of this essay won the 2018 Committee on Services and Resources for Women’s Kathanne Greene Essay Award. 

Zachary Williams recently published his poem "I Place My Hands" in Juked. His poem "I Was a Teenage Quarduped" was selected as winner of the inaugural Driftwood Press Poem Contest.


News from Centers for Writers Alum & Faculty:



Steve Bellin-Oka's recent poems appear in Four Way Review, Lighthouse Literary Review, and Tar River Poetry. In June, he will be artist in residence at the Crosstown Arts Center in Memphis. Steve continues as the poetry editor of The Bookends Review and serves on the editorial board of Nimrod International Journal. One of his works in progress, a translation of Mexican novelist Jose U. Escobar's Vereda del Norte, was awarded a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Translators' Conference in late May. He is a 2019-2020 Tulsa Artist Fellow.

Kim Chinquee's sixth collection, Wetsuit, was released in March 2019 with Ravenna Press. Ravenna Press will publish her next book in Fall 2020. She won a 2019 Pushchart Prize for her story "I Figure," which was published in NOON. She is Chief Editor of ELJ (Elm Leaves Journal), Senior Editor of New World Writing, and an associate professor at SUNY-Buffalo State, where she co-directs the writing major. She was recently elected as AWP's Northeast Regional Chair and will serve on the AWP Board of Directors. 

Kent Quaney is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently teaching in China at the international campus, and he'll be back in Illinois to teach fiction workshops this fall.  

Erin Elizabeth Smith's poems have recently appeared in CALYX and The Boiler Journal. She was a speaker at Human Rights Day at Indiana State University and, she was a featured reader at the 2019 New Orleans Poetry Festival. Her third collection, Down: The Alice Poems, will be released this fall from Agape Editions.  

Michael Farris Smith’s most recent novels, Desperation Road (2017) and The Fighter (2018), have been optioned for film with Smith attached to adapt both novels. Desperation Road was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and Grand Prix des Lectrices in France. The Fighter was named a top summer read by Bitter Southerner and BookPage and was named to half a dozen Best of the Year lists. His fifth novel, Blackwood, is forthcoming in March of 2020.  



Angela Ball’s poem, "To Lon Chaney in The Unknown," is part of a new anthology, Reel Verse: Poems About the Movies, edited by Harold Schechter and Michael Waters and published by Knopf. The anthology also contains a poem by 1994 PhD graduate Jean-Mark Sens, "In De Sica's Bicycle Thief." 

J. A. Bernstein's novel, Rachel’s Tomb, came out on April 15 from New Issues Press (AWP Award Series), and his shorter works appear or are forthcoming in LUMINA, North Dakota Quarterly, The Swamp, pacificREVIEW, Laurel Review, storySouth, Broad River Review, Another Chicago Magazine, McSweeney's, Fiction Southeast, and other places. He recently won the Harkness Award from the Joseph Conrad Society of America and published an article in Conrad and Nature (Routledge, 2019). 

Olivia Clare's story collection, Disasters in the First World (Grove Atlantic), was named a finalist for the Texas Book Awards. Her novel is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic. Her short stories recently appeared in ZYZZYVA, The American Scholar, Catapult, and Bennington Review. Her story “Some Female Cats and People,” originally in ZYZZYVA, was featured this April in Lit Hub. She is currently working on new short stories and poems.

Adam Clay’s work was recently published in The Laurel Review, Constant Stranger: After Frank Stanford (Foundlings Press), Grist, and The Los Angeles Review. He served on panels at both AWP and New Orleans Poetry Festival, and he was awarded a 2019 Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Artist Fellowship.




News from our current MA and PhD students:

Renée Bailey attended the Tin House Workshop this past winter. She was also a runner-up in Raw Art Review’s prose poetry contest in December.

Bryana Fern was the Conference Coordinator for C4W, and she worked with the EGO Coordinator, Mary Stephens, to put on the USM Graduate Conference, “The Contradictions of Youth.” Bryana arranged for poet and essayist Ira Sukrungruang to give a reading from his latest collection, Buddha’s Dog & Other Meditations. In fall 2018, Bryana created and chaired a panel on Tolkien Studies for the South Atlantic MLA conference 90 in Birmingham, AL. The panel was entitled, “Tolkien as Commentator: Mythology, Philology, and Fantasy.” She also wrote a blurb article in fall 2018 for the ChLA International Committee called “Roverandom: Reinvestigating Tolkien.” In addition, Bryana won Sequestrum’s 2018 New Writer Award with her story, “Storm Chasers,” which should be published along with an author featurette near the end of 2019. Bryana also had a story, “Hector’s Photograph,” published in Harpur Palate in fall 2018, and another story, “Amish Country,” published with Entropy earlier in spring 2018.

Rachael Fowler gave a reading of her creative nonfiction "Pink Arctic Thyme" at the Sigma Tau Delta 2018 International Conference in Cincinnati. Her flash fiction piece "The Collective" won Prime Number Magazine's October Flash Fiction Contest. Rachael’s fiction short "A Lost Flutter" was a top-25 finalist in Glimmer Train's September/October Short Story Award for New Writers. She also presented a short documentary called "Alternative Grading and Graduate Student Instructors: Documenting Initial Experiences with Course Contracts in a First Year Composition Classroom" at CWPA 2018 in Sacramento (with Karlie Herndon, Kayla Schreiber, and Allyson Hoffman).

Jessica Guzman (now Dr. Guzman!) was recently a Tin House Workshop Scholar. Recent publications include poems in Shenandoah, Painted Bride Quarterly, Quiddity, Carolina Quarterly, Tin House: Broadside Thirty Series, The Normal School, and Florida Review.

Karlie Herndon was selected to be one of three student curators for the McCain Archives. Her curated archival display will go up in March, and the focus is on umbrellas in children's literature. It will be on display for a year in the McCain Library Reading Room. Karlie was also selected to be a student ambassador for the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival this year. This is a highly competitive program that allows students to be behind the scenes of the festival, meet with prominent authors in the field, and access the incredible variety of panels at the festival. 

Charlee Meiners published five poems -- “Everybody Likes the Mall,” “Escape Pod,” “Hyper Mold,” “Ten Worlds,” and “Maiden Form” -- in The Equalizer: Third Series.  

Matthew Nagel placed second in Whitefish Review’s Montana Prize. He has work forthcoming in The Literary Review.

Jon Riccio's recent publications appear in print or online at The Cincinnati Review, COAST | noCOAST, decomP, E·ratio, Manzano Mountain Review, Maryland Literary Review, Pattern Recognition, and SurVision Magazine, among others. He continues to serve as a contributing interviewer for the University of Arizona Poetry Center's blog. The poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review, he was named a 2018 Lambda Poetry Fellow.  

Matthew Schmidt attended the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and had work published in a number of journals, including Bateau, decomP, Hawaii Pacific Review, The McNeese Review, Really System, and The Seattle Review.  

Joe Sigurdson’s chapbook of poems, No Sand, was accepted for publication by the press Thirty West. The manuscript will be published in the spring. He also won the Edwin Marham Prize from Reed Magazine.

Mary Stephens is being inducted into the Graduate School Hall of Fame later this semester and will have a portrait hung in the grad school!

Kevin Thomason will give a reading as part of a poetry panel at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture this month. 


News from our former students:

Steve Bellin-Oka is the 2018 winner of the Vassar Miller Prize. His book of poems will be published by University of North Texas Press. Recent honors include a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship and poetry fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Recent poems are in Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Glass, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and The Boiler.

Kim Chinquee has a book of stories, Wetsuit, forthcoming from Ravenna Press.

Hannah Dow has published her debut poetry collection Rosarium with Acre Books.

Deja Earley has a new book of poems published with Signature Books.

Lydia Copeland Gwyn will have a book of flash fiction published with Another New Calligraphy.

Micah Dean Hicks’ novel Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones was published by John Joseph Adams Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Jianqing Zheng’s poetry collection Enforced Rustication in the Chinese Cultural Revolution has been published by Texas A & M University Press.





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School of Humanities

305 Liberal Arts Building (LAB)
118 College Dr. #5037
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Campus Hattiesburg

Campus Map