Center for Writers
Center for Writers
For over forty 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, 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 Natasha Trethewey, Hanif Abdurraqib,
Eduardo Corral, Ada Limón, Natalie, Shapero, 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 Jamel Brinkley, Katy Simpson Smith, 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.
Forrest Gander is a writer, translator, and editor of several anthologies of writing from Spain and Mexico. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Twice Alive; Be With, which received the Pulitzer Prize in 2019 and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award; and Core Samples from the World, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include two novels, As A Friend and The Trace; the poetry collections Be With, Eye Against Eye, Torn Awake, Science & Steepleflower; and the essay collection Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory & Transcendence. Gander’s essays have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Review, and the New York Times Book Review. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, United States Artists, and Whiting Foundations.
This event is co-sponsored by Partners for the Arts.
Maria Kuznetsova was born in Kiev, Ukraine and moved to the United States as a child. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her debut novel, Oksana, Behave!, was published by Spiegel & Grau/Random House in 2019 and her second novel, Something Unbelievable, was published by Random House in April of 2021. Her other fiction and nonfiction can be found in venues including Slate, Guernica, Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, Crazyhorse, Catapult, and Mississippi Review.
She lives in Auburn, Alabama with her husband and daughter, where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University. She is also the Fiction Editor of the Southern Humanities Review and The Bare Life Review, a journal of immigrant and refugee literature.
Eloisa Amezcua is from Arizona. She is the author of From the Inside Quietly (2018) winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón. A MacDowell fellow, her poems and translations are published in New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. Her second collection of poems, Fighting Is Like a Wife, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press.
This event is co-sponsored by Partners for the Arts.
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.
Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. His next books are Go Ahead In The Rain, a biography of A Tribe Called Quest due out in 2019 by University of Texas Press, and They Don't Dance No' Mo', due out in 2020 by Random House.
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 a former 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.
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.