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Poetry Reading with Jesse Graves

On Tuesday, October 10th at 7:00pm, Appalachian Arts Center will host poet Jesse Graves for a public reading of his works, as part of the Rodd Altizer Poet-in-Residence program, sponsored by Southwest Virginia Community College. Books will be for sale and available for Graves to autograph following his reading, and during the reception.

Jesse Graves published his first collection of poetry, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, with Texas Review Press. The book won the 2011 Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College, Book of the Year in Poetry Award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association, and the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing.

His second collection of poems, Basin Ghosts, won the 2014 Weatherford Award in Poetry, making him the first poet to win the award more than once, and the only writer to win for each of his or her first two published books. His third full-length collection of poems, Specter Mountain, is under contract to Mercer University Press, one of the most active literary presses in the South. This volume is an innovative collaboration with award-winning poet William Wright, and is scheduled for a Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 release. Graves received the 2014 Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, and the 2015 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In 2015, he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.

Graves's poetry has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, with Garrison Keillor, and in The Missouri Review Poem-of-the-Week series. He has published dozens of poems and essays in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. Graves has edited several published volumes of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Contemporary Appalachia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, Texas Review Press, Texas A&M UP Consortium), and Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston (University of Tennessee Press, 2016). He is also under contract for two forthcoming scholarly volumes, The Robert Morgan Companion (McFarland & Co. Publishers, 2017), and The Complete Poems of James Agee (University of Tennessee Press, 2018). Graves holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry Writing from Cornell University, and PhD in English from The University of Tennessee. He is Associate Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at East Tennessee State University.

In addition to the public reading at the Arts Center on Tuesday, October 10th, at 10:00am, Graves will be the guest of the Reminiscent Writers group in the Elmes Gallery (in King Community Center) at SWCC and will conduct two writing workshops at Richlands High /Middle Schools at 1:00 p.m. On Wednesday, October 11 at 10:50, Graves will read from his works to students and faculty at SWCC in Buchanan Hall, room 130. The public is invited to attend all these events at no charge. For residency information, please contact Mary W. Lawson, 276-964-7348 or or

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