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.
David Lehman graduated from Columbia College, attended Cambridge University as a Kellett Fellow, and received his doctorate from Columbia University. He is the author of eight books of poems: Poems in the Manner Of, Yeshiva Boys, When a Woman Loves a Man, The Evening Sun, The Daily Mirror, Valentine Place, Operation Memory, and An Alternative to Speech. David Lehman is also series editor of the annual The Best American Poetry, which he started in 1988, and is the former general editor of the University of Michigan Press's Poets on Poetry series. Succeeding previous editors F. O. Matthiessen and Richard Ellman, he is the editor of a new edition of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. He has edited a number of other anthologies and collections, such as Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms: 65 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems, The KGB Bar Book of Poems (with Star Black), Beyond Amazement: New Essays on John Ashbery, and James Merrill: Essays in Criticism (with Charles Berger). His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award. He teaches at the New School and NYU and often is a visiting professor or guest lecturer at other universities and writing programs.
Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Clark is a winner for the 2020 Kate Tufts Discovery Award (Claremont Graduate University), a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, a recipient of a 2019 Pushcart Prize, a winner of the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She was the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Clark is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (M.F.A) and Tennessee State University (B.A.) where she studied Africana and Women's studies. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Washington Post, VQR, Tin House Online, Kenyon Review, BuzzFeed News, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Oxford American, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Ander Monson is the author of nine books: five of nonfiction (Neck Deep and Other Predicaments, Vanishing Point, Letter to a Future Lover, I Will Take the Answer, and the forthcoming Predator: a Memoir (2022), two poetry collections (Vacationland and The Available World), and two books of fiction, Other Electricities and The Gnome Stories. A finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award (for Other Electricities) and a National Book Critics Circle in criticism (for Vanishing Point), he is also a recipient of a number of other prizes: a Howard Foundation Fellowship, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction, the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award in Nonfiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He edits the magazine DIAGRAM, the New Michigan Press, Essay Daily, and a series of yearly literary/music tournaments, most recently March Plaidness, which will take place in March 2021. He teaches at the University of Arizona.
twitter: @angermonsoon / instagram @angermonsoon
Natalie Bakopoulos’s second novel, Scorpionfish, was published by Tin House Books in 2020. Her first novel, The Green Shore, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2012, Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, Kenyon Review, Tin House, VQR, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, Granta, Glimmer Train, Mississippi Review, MQR, O. Henry Prize Stories, and various other publications. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, has received fellowships from the Camargo and MacDowell foundations and the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, and was a 2015 Fulbright Fellow in Athens, Greece. She’s an assistant professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her book reviews have regularly appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, and she's a contributing editor to Fiction Writers Review. She’s on the faculty of Writing Workshops in Greece.
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.