East Tennessee State Poets in Residence to Read on Campus November 3

October 23, 2015

The Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Lees-McRae College will host an evening with two distinguished Appalachian poets. Dr. Don Johnson and Dr. Jesse Graves will read selections from their poetry on November 3 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Evans Auditorium on the Lees-McRae campus.

“This is a rare privilege to have both of these gifted poets as part of our Stephenson Lecture Series. Don Johnson has been a favorite visitor to Lees-McRae for many years, and by including Jesse Graves we hope to establish a tradition for the next generation,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. “Both write poetry that speaks to all of us and opens our eyes to the wonder, pain and humor of being human in Appalachia.”

Both poets have deep roots in the mountains, and are Appalachian by birth and by choice. Don Johnson was born and grew up in Poca, West Virginia. He is a retired professor and Poet in Residence from the Department of Literature and Language at East Tennessee State University where he was a faculty member for 32 years. 

Johnson has published critical pieces on Jim Wayne Miller, Jeff Daniel Marion, Fred Chappell and Robert Morgan. His most recent book of poems is Here and Gone: New and Selected Poems, from Louisiana Literature Press. He also has a new collection, More Than Heavy Rain, published by Texas Review Press in 2014. 

He will read with his colleague Jesse Graves, an Associate Professor of English and Poet in Residence at East Tennessee State University and the author of two collections of poetry.

Graves is the first poet to win the Weatherford Award in Poetry more than one time, for Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine and Basin Ghosts, and his poetry has been highlighted on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and in the “Poem of the Week” feature for Missouri Review. Graves is also editor of several volumes of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Contemporary Appalachia, Tennessee and North Carolina). He is a 2015 inductee into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.

The Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lectures are free and open to the public. For information, contact Dr. Michael Joslin at joslin@lmc.edu.

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Dr. Jesse Graves
Dr. Don Johnson