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Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities
Third Thursday Poetry Series

2023-2024 Schedule

August 24, 2023
Wendy Cleveland, Daniel Grace, and Sam Ruddick
September 21, 2023
Alina Stefanescu
October 19, 2023
Witness Poetry Prize honoring Jake Adam York: Joy Harjo *The Jule
October 26, 2023
Patricia Foster *4 PM Program
November 16, 2023
Matthew Olzmann
January 18, 2024
Jim Peterson
February 1, 2024
Molly McCully Brown
February 15, 2024
Jennifer Grotz
March 21, 2024
SHR Spring Sessions Reading: Gregory Pardlo and Laura Spence-Ash 
April 4, 2024
Rose McLarney and Justin Gardiner
April 18, 2024
Graduating Student Reading
May 16, 2024
Community Reading








Refreshments will be available at 6 PM; the readings will begin at 6:30 PM.


About the Presenters

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a poet, writer, translator, and essayist whose work can be found in literary journals including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, Poetry, BOMB, and Crab Creek Review, and various anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2022 edited by Matthew Zapruder, What Things Cost: An Anthology for the People (University Press of Kentucky, 2023), Stronger Than Fear (Cave Moon Press, 2022), The Best Small Fictions (Sonder Press, 2021), Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (Haymarket Press, 2020), Writer’s Resist Anthology (Running Wild Press, 2018), For Love of Orcas Anthology (Wandering Aengus Press, 2019), and annual anthologies from Orison Press and Bending Genres. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Prize and was published in May 2018. Her short prose chapbook, RIBALD, was published by Bull City Press in October 2020. Her poetry collection, DOR, won the 2020 Wandering Aengus Book Prize was published in September 2021. Alina’s first poetry chapbook, Objects in Vases (Anchor & Plume Press, 2016) won the 2016 Award for Poetry Book of the Year from ASPS. Her hybrid collection, Stories to Read Aloud To Your Fetus (Finishing Line Press, 2018) explores how we write, imagine, and inhabit wombed bodies.

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She served three terms as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2019-2022 and is winner of Yale's 2023 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.  The author of ten books of poetry, including the highly acclaimed Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years, several plays, and children's books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior. Her many honors include the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Patricia Foster earned in MFA in fiction (Iowa), an MFA in art (UCLA) and a PhD in literature and creative writing (Florida State). Now retired, she taught creative nonfiction at the University of Iowa. She has published fiction and nonfiction in such literary quarterlies as the Gettysburg ReviewVirginia Quarterly ReviewIowa ReviewShenandoahPrairie Schooner and Fourth Genre.  She wrote two books of nonfiction and the editor of three anthologies of nonfiction prose. Just beneath My Skin (University of Georgia Press, 2004), her latest book, is a collection of essays that explores autobiography as a means of creative self-examination. Earlier, her memoir, All the Lost Girls (University of Alabama, 2000), won the PEN/Jerard Fund Award for Women’s Nonfiction.

Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route as well as two previous collections of poetry: Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, MacDowell, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Olzmann’s poems have appeared in the New York Times, Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prizes, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He is a Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Jim Peterson is a resident of Lynchburg, Virginia, is the author of six collections of poetry, three chapbooks, numerous plays, and a novel, Paper Crown, published by Red Hen Press. His poetry collection The Owning Stone won Red Hen Press’s Benjamin Saltman Award for 1999. His newest collection, Speech Minus Applause, was released by Press 53 in 2019. His poems have appeared widely in journals including PoetryGeorgia ReviewShenandoahPoetry NorthwestPrairie Schooner, and many others. His stories have appeared in the Los Angeles ReviewSouth Dakota Review, and The Laurel Review. A collection of stories, Many Small Fires, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Retired Coordinator of Creative Writing at Randolph College, he is on the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Omaha Low-Res MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Molly McCully Brown is the author of the essay collection Places I’ve Taken my Body— which was published in the United States in June 2020 by Persea Books, and released in the United Kingdom in March of 2021 by Faber & Faber— and the poetry collection The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017. With Susannah Nevison, she is also the coauthor of the poetry collection In The Field Between Us (Persea Books, 2020). Brown has been the recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, a United States Artists Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, and the Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship from the Oxford American magazine. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, The Guardian, Virginia Quarterly Review, Vogue, The New York Times, Crazyhorse, The Yale Review and elsewhere. Raised in rural Virginia, she is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Stanford University, and the University of Mississippi, where she received her MFA.

Jennifer Grotz is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Still Falling (Graywolf Press, 2023). Also a translator from the French and Polish, her newest translation is Everything I Don't Know, the selected poems of Jerzy Ficowski, co-translated from the Polish with Piotr Sommer (World Poetry, 2021). Her poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, New York Review of Books, Ploughshares, New England Review, and in five volumes of the Best American Poetry anthology. The recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, Grotz has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conferences, she teaches at the University of Rochester.

Gregory Pardlo's collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Other honors include fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts for translation. His first poetry collection Totem won the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and Director of the MFA program at Rutgers University-Camden. His most recent book is Air Traffic, a memoir in essays.

Laura Spence-Ash’s debut novel, Beyond That, the Sea, was published by Celadon Books on March 21, 2023.  The novel received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, was named a GMA Buzz Pick, and is an Indie Next pick for April 2023.  Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere.  Her critical essays and book reviews appear regularly in the Ploughshares blog.  She received her MFA in fiction from Rutgers—Newark, and she lives in New Jersey.

Rose McLarney’s collections of poems are Forage and Its Day Being Gone, both from Penguin Poets, as well as The Always Broken Plates of Mountains, published by Four Way Books. She is co-editor of A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, from University of Georgia Press, and the journal Southern Humanities Review.  Rose has been awarded fellowships by MacDowell and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences; served as Dartmouth Poet in Residence at the Frost Place; and is winner of the National Poetry Series, the Chaffin Award for Achievement in Appalachian Writing, and other prizes. Her poetry and essays have appeared in publications including American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Orion, and The Oxford American. Currently, Rose works as Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University. Her fourth collection of poems will be published by Penguin in 2024.

Justin Gardiner is the author three books—Beneath the Shadow: Legacy and Longing in the Antarctic, published as part of the Crux Literary Nonfiction Series by the University of Georgia Press; the poetry collection Naming the Lifeboat from Main Street Rag; and the book-length lyric essay Small Altars, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. In 2012-13, Justin served as the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Fellow, sponsored by PEN Northwest.  He is also the recipient of the Larry Levis Post-Graduate Award from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Justin's essays and poetry have appeared in journals that include BlackbirdThe Missouri ReviewQuarterly West, and Catamaran. He is an Assistant Professor at Auburn University, as well as the nonfiction editor of The Southern Humanities Review.