The 2019 Gathering of Poets | Faculty & Save the Date

We are beyond thrilled to share the incredible award-winning faculty for the 2019 Gathering of Poets, to be held on March 30 in Winston-Salem, NC at The Historic Brookstown Inn.

If you would like to attend, send me a note, or visit Jacar Press’ Gathering pageon Facebook, or e-mail Richard for upcoming announcements and how to reserve your space.


Three-time National Book Award finalist, Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of seventeen poetry books and the memoir How I Discovered Poetry. She is also the author of The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems, which won the 1998 Poets’ Prize, Carver: A Life In Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and Fortune’s Bones, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Frost Medal, and two Pushcart Prizes. She was the Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001-2006.

 

Li-Young Lee is the author of five critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently The Undressing (W.W Norton), Behind My Eyes (W.W. Norton), and a chapbook The Word From His Song (BOA Editions). His earlier collections are Book of My Nights (BOA Editions); Rose (BOA), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You (BOA), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon and Schuster), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and will be reissued by BOA Editions. Lee’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 1988 he received the Writer’s Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. He is also featured in Katja Esson’s documentary, Poetry of Resistance.

Chloe Honum grew up in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her first book, The Tulip-Flame (2014), was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. The Tulip-Flame won Foreword Reviews Poetry Book of the Year Award and a Texas Institute of Letters Award and was named a finalist for a PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. She is also the author of a chapbook, Then Winter (Bull City Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in such journals as The Paris Review, Orion, and The Southern Review, and her honors include a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. She served as a guest poetry editor for the 2017 Pushcart Prize anthology.


Annemarie Ní Churreáin
is a poet from Northwest Donegal, Ireland. Her debut collection Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and for the 2018 Julie Suk Award in the U.S.A. She is the author of a suite of poems about Dublin titled Town (The Salvage Press, 2018). In 2016 Ní Churreáin was the recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award from President Michael D. Higgins on behalf of the Arts Council of Ireland. She was the 2017-18 Kerry Writer In Residence and is the 2018-19 John Broderick Writer In Residence for Westmeath. Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, Jack Kerouac House Orlando, and Hawthornden Castle Scotland, and she is a member of the Arts Council Writers in Prisons Scheme. In 2018-19 she is composing a libretto for an upcoming opera production.

 

Kaveh Akbar was born in Tehran, Iran. His poems appear recently in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, The Nation, Tin House, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, The Guardian, Ploughshares, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, won the 2017 Julie Suk Award(Jacar Press). His chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. His work has been praised by Patricia Smith, Nick Flynn and received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. He is a professor at Purdue University and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson College.

 

Renee Emerson earned her MFA in poetry from Boston University where she studied with Louise Gluck and Robert Pinsky, and where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009.  She is the author of two full-length collections Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press), and 3 chapbooks. In 2016, she was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Arkansas Arts Council.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize on three occasions.

What Catches the Light | poem

What Catches the Light

I press the handle of a knife into his hand
and he scrapes the shimmer of salmon,
the red flesh face down against his palm,
where the scales collect like sooted snow.

He speaks with a voice low like dusk,
wipes the blade clean with his fingers
tells a story of the Red Sea, thick with fish.
When he mentions his father, his heart

thickens in his throat, and when we get to his own blood
count how many years we’ll have together.
A sea of blood, his blood, antibodies
swimming in his veins.

I can’t remember the names of the fish,
only how he scrapes with a surgeon’s precision,
feeling for what he cannot see but knows is there

preparing this meal for us
while the sky silvers outside the window
and he talks about death
but I think he is talking about love.

[With gratitude to the editors at Red Paint Hill Journal, who originally published this poem.]

“Valentine”

The mail has come, as I was thinking of you

I was wondering about the man that delivered your letter

 

when the dogs barked, I didn’t think anything of it

was his day suddenly made inexplicably better

 

but I meant to say earlier that I didn’t miss it

when your letter fell into his bag 

 

when you said I should watch for the mail,

perhaps his shoulders suddenly happy and relaxed 

 

only I didn’t know quite what you meant

and the dog down the street didn’t jump the fence 

 

I just held onto it, slipped it into my pocket carefully.  Now

I bet his wife suddenly called and said something kind

 

I have a sweet mouth that is a little on fire –

the rain held off and he could even turn off the heat 

 

it must be all the way up into my eyes as I write this.

because it warmed up more than predicted.

 

Chocolate, chilies, cherries.  I can hardly write.

Now his feet don’t hurt and he’s even humming a tune

 

But if I could get to you right now, if I could get to you,

he hasn’t thought of in years- probably jazz– 

 

I would surely kiss you all the way to next week,

and he hums and smiles and maybe whistles, too

 

until your lips were raw, ‘til you begged me to stop

even when he turns the corner

 

to let you breathe, to let you eat, or speak

he keeps smiling, his heart light

 

and you will taste like chocolate and chilies and cherries, too

all the way, all the way, all the way home.  

 

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First published in Pine Song. Winner of first place for the 2016 Thomas H. McDill Award, judged by James McKean, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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