School of Humanities
School of Humanities
For over thirty years, The Center for Writers at USM has brought internationally acclaimed authors of poetry and fiction to Hattiesburg and the USM community for public readings, workshops, and individual conferences with Center graduate students.
Over a long history, and with the generous support of the university, the College of Arts and Letters, private donors, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Visiting Writers Series has brought to campus Lee K. Abbott, Toni Cade Bambara, Russell Banks, John Barth, Frank Bidart, Robert Olen Butler, Raymond Carver, Angela Carter, Robert Coover, John Dufresne, Richard Ford, Tess Gallagher, William Gass, Barry Hannah, John Hawkes, Lynda Hull, Hugh Kenner, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Larry McMurtry, W.S. Merwin, Edna O’Brien, Charles Simic, W.D. Snodgrass, Gerald Stern, Mark Strand, Derek Walcott, Joy Williams, Charles Wright, and more than seventy other writers.
In the last decade of the series, visitors have included Ellen Bryant Voigt, Percival Everett, Stuart Dischell, Stephen Dobyns, Lucie Brock-Broido, Francine Prose, Tim O’Brien, Amy Hempel, Padgett Powell, Dana Gioia, Rick Moody, Mary Gaitskill, Kelly Cherry, Bobbie Ann Mason, Diane Williams, Ann Beattie, and Dara Wier.
Since 2012, visiting writers have included poets Kevin Young, Don Bogen, Alex Lemon, Caki Wilkinson, Adam Vines, Catherine Pierce, Farrah Field, Allan Peterson, and L. Lamar Wilson, as well as fiction writers Justin Torres, Lauren Groff, Mary Miller, Michael Farris Smith, and Peter Orner.
Our disposition has always been toward a mix of well-established and interesting writers and new on scene and interesting writers, with the idea that each serves the students in a unique way and that exposure to different aesthetics and styles is vital to learning the art.
Jeanne Larsen's new book What Penelope Chooses, winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award, was published last spring by CPR. She also is the author of four novels, two other books of poetry, and two of translations of poems by medieval Chinese women. She has just retired from the Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University.
Jamel Brinkley is the author of A Lucky Man: Stories, a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, the Story Prize, the John Leonard Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His writing has appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2018, Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, The Threepenny Review, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, A Public Space, Tin House, and The Believer, and has been selected for The Best American Short Stories 2019. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he was also the 2016-17 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He is currently a 2018-20 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University.
Marianne Chan grew up in Stuttgart, Germany, and Lansing, Michigan. She is the author of All Heathens, forthcoming from Sarabande Books in March 2020. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, Indiana Review, West Branch, Poetry Northwest, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati, where she is a Yates Fellow.
Mississippi native holds a prominent spot among the nation's foremost contemporary poets, having captured the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for "Native Guard," one of her four published poetry collections, before serving two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States, from 2012 to 2014. She served simultaneously as Poet Laureate of Mississippi, the first poet to concurrently hold state and national posts.
As Poet Laureate, Trethewey's name ranks among some of the nation's most revered poets. Her work has appeared in several volumes of Best American Poetry and in journals such as the American Poetry Review and Ploughshares.
Trethewey, who earned a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and creative writing from Hollins University and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts, has earned fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Academy of American Poets and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also a member of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Ada Limón is the author of five books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was named one of the top 5 poetry books of the year by the Washington Post. Her fourth book Bright Dead Things was named a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency MFA program, and the online and summer programs for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky.
Photo credit: Michael Sandoz, Student Printz
Benjamin S. Lerner is an American poet, novelist, essayist, and critic and he is currently a MacArthur Fellow.
Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She’s won grants and awards from the N.E.A., the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Beth Ann has published six books--three of poetry: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, all with W. W. Norton. Beth Ann's poetry has been in over fifty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1996, 2005, and 2006, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Poets of the New Century, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and in textbooks such as Contemporary American Poetry and Literature.