University of Mississippi

THE FORTIETH JAMES EDWIN SAVAGE LECTURE IN THE RENAISSANCE: “Eco vs. Ego in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Robert N. Watson, Professor of English, UCLA

Robert N. Watson received his B.A. summa cum laude from Yale in 1975 and his Ph.D. with Highest Honors from Stanford in 1979, then spent six years as a professor at Harvard before coming to UCLA in 1986, where he has served as Chair of the Department of English and Chair of the Faculty of the UCLA College of Letters and Science, and is now Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation.

The lecture will be held on April 3, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the Bondurant Auditorium.

Tom Franklin Novel Selected for 2012 UM Common Reading Experience

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” by Edgar Award-winning author Tom Franklin, has been selected for the 2012 Common Reading Experience at the University of Mississippi.

Ann Fisher-Wirth’s Fourth Book of Poems, Dream Cabinet, Published by Wings Press

Ann Fisher-Wirth’s fourth book of poems, Dream Cabinet, has just been published by Wings Press.  Of the book, Claudia Emerson writes: “Ann Fisher-Wirth finds in ‘all of creation sudden music,’ the subjects in Dream Cabinet ranging from the BP oil spill to the ‘hidden seeds’ of intimate memory. She reminds us that the earth’s uncertain passage is inextricable from our own as she deftly interweaves the political with the personal—crafting again and again ‘the made thing out of the sheltering darkness.'”  Dream Cabinet is available from Wings Press
On May 1, Square Books will host a signing and reading; everyone is warmly invited.

Poet and Environmentalist Sandra Steingraber to Speak on Campus

Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on the environmental links to cancer and human health.  Her books include Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Era of Environmental Crisis.  She has received many honors, has keynoted conferences on human health and the environment throughout the United States and Canada, and has been invited to lecture at many universities, medical schools, and hospitals—including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the Woods Hole Research Center.  She has testified in the European Parliament, before the President’s Cancer Panel, and has participated in briefings to Congress and before United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sandra Steingraber will speak on campus at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, in the Overby Center.

Traci Brimhall Selected as 2012 Summer Poet in Residence

Traci Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (forthcoming from W.W. Norton), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery(Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Slate, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She was the 2008-09 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and currently teaches at Western Michigan University, where she is a doctoral associate and King/Chávez/Parks Fellow.


Anne Babson Nominated for a Pushcart Prize

Chris Offutt to Read at Thacker Mountain Radio

Chris Offutt will read at Thacker Mountain Radio Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 6PM at the Lyric Theatre. For more information, click here:  

Poet Beth Ann Fennelly Named UM Humanities Teacher of the Year

OXFORD, Miss. – Passion for poetry and teaching have earned one of the University of Mississippi’s most beloved professors another honor. Beth Ann Fennelly, associate professor of English and director of the MFA program in creative writing, has been named the 2011 Humanities Teacher of the Year and is set to present a free, public lecture at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in Bondurant Hall. In “A Life with Lines: Reflections on Writing, Teaching and Loving Poetry,” Fennelly plans to offer both a poetry reading and humorous commentary. Besides reading some of her poems and talking about how poetry has shaped her life, Fennelly plans to share why she loves teaching and what studying literature can do for students. “I was surprised and honored to hear I had won the award,” said Fennelly, who teaches poetry as literature and also teaches the writing of both poetry and creative nonfiction. “Some of the pleasures of teaching are the daily feedback, seeing the students’ faces, the arch of an eyebrow when someone has a question or seeing the nod of a head or an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I like to be with the students and see their faces, and that’s my favorite part of teaching.” The award is designed to recognize outstanding teachers in humanities fields and/or teachers in other fields who use the interests and methods of the humanities to set a context for their own areas of study. It is co-sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and the UM College of Liberal Arts. “Each institution of higher learning in the state is invited to designate a member of its faculty for this award each year, to honor outstanding work and recognize significant contributions to teaching,” said Barbara Carpenter, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “Recipients give a presentation or lecture about their research, special interests or writing to a public audience, and the institution provides a reception or other occasion for the honoree to answer questions and talk with the audience about their work.” Thirty awards, which include $500 checks, are given statewide. Carpenter said she enjoys Fennelly’s work and is looking forward to the lecture. “I am delighted that the University of Mississippi has selected Beth Ann Fennelly to receive this award,” Carpenter said. “She is an excellent representative of the university and its outstanding faculty and of the kinds of accomplishments the Mississippi Humanities Council likes to recognize.” Good poetry uses language to truly speak to people, and it inspires, motivates and challenges, said Fennelly, who won a Fulbright Award in 2009. She is also winner of a Pushcart Prize and was included in “The Best American Poetry” series three times. Receiving the award has caused Fennelly to reflect on her life as a teacher and has forced her to grow. “We live in a culture that values money, so when you do something that appears valueless, you are forced to reflect on its less obvious rewards. Poetry is powerful medicine, and studying and teaching literature has enriched me in many ways,” said Fennelly, who has taught at UM since 1998. “Another reason I am honored by this award is because it’s a tangible reminder of my support here from students as well as the administration. The humanities matter here, as they do in all healthy communities and it’s great to know that people are reading, listening and responding.” Fennelly is married to Tom Franklin, UM assistant professor of fiction, who was named the 2011 Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger winner for his latest novel, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” (Macmillan, 2010). She is the author of “Unmentionables,” (W.W. Norton, 2008), “Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother” (W.W. Norton, 2006), “Tender Hooks,” (W.W. Norton, 2004) and “Open House” (Zoo Press, 2002), which won The Kenyon Review Prize and the GLCA New Writers Award. For more information on the creative writing program at UM, visit

CWA: Tom Franklin wins the CWA Gold Dagger 2011

Tom Franklin (pictured above) was named winner of the 2011 CWA Gold Dagger, for “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” published by Macmillan. The announcement was made at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards. The judges explained why they had chosen this book: “A disturbing crime lies at the heart of this mesmerising tale, an evocative and thought-provoking [...]

MFA in Creative Writing Program Ranked 38th by Respected Publication

OXFORD, Miss. – The respected bi-monthly journal Poets and Writers recently ranked the University of Mississippi’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program 38th among the nation’s top 50 programs. “Although our program has only been around for a decade, it is one of the rapidly rising MFA programs in the country,” said Ivo [...]