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USM Center for Writers to Virtually Host Visiting Writers Series

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 13:46pm | By: Ivonne Kawas

Photos of Dr. David Lehman, Tiana Clark, Ander Monson, Natalie Bakopoulos The Center for Writers, housed in the School of Humanities at The University of Southern Mississippi, will feature four acclaimed poets at USM’s virtual Visiting Writers Series for 2020-21. Adapting to conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the series will be hosted via Zoom Oct. 15, Nov. 6, Feb. 12, and Mar. 26.

Although the pandemic has brought about much uncertainty, the familiarity of the Visiting Writers Series provides a comfort to the Hattiesburg and Southern Miss communities.

“For over forty years, the Center for Writers' Visiting Writers Series at USM has brought a wide range of prominent writers to campus to read from their work and discuss their craft with our students,” said Dr. Adam Clay, director of the Center for Writers.

Writers will be able to virtually share their latest and forthcoming work from the safety and comfort of their own homes, which will make the series more intimate.

“For this year's series, we're happy to host these four remarkable writers via Zoom,” said Clay. “Along with reading from recent work, our visiting writers will answer questions from the audience about their writing and their writing process.”

The series will kick off with Dr. David Lehman on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. Praised as one of the foremost editors, literary critics, and anthologist, Lehman is the creator and editor of The Best American Poetry, and author of eight books of poems, including When a Woman Loves a Man, The Daily Mirror, and Valentine Place. He has edited a number of anthologies and collections, and teaches at the New School and NYU. His reading can be viewed via Zoom at

Writer Tiana Clark is featured guest on Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. Clark, winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, is author of the poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). She has appeared in or is forthcoming from BuzzFeed News, Washington Post, Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker, Oxford American, among many others. She currently teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and her reading can be viewed via Zoom at

Writer Ander Monson will read from his collections on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. Monson, who is a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, edits the magazine DIAGRAM, the New Michigan Press, Essay Daily, and a series of yearly literary/music tournaments. He is the author of nine books, all of which consist of nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. Monson teaches at the University of Arizona, and his reading can be viewed via Zoom at

The series’ final guest, Natalie Bakopoulos, will read from her work on Mar. 26 at 5 p.m. Bakopoulos’ second novel—Scorpionfish—was published by Tin House Books in 2020, and her book reviews have regularly appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times, Granta, Glimmer Train, and Mississippi Review. She’s an assistant professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. View her reading via Zoom at

The Visiting Writers Series is free to the public, but registration is required.

For more information about this series or the Center for Writers, visit