Current Visiting Poets

Kenneth Knoespel

Kenneth J. Knoespel's poetry and translations have appeared in poetry journals and books published in the United States and Sweden. He has taught poetry and poetics at the University of Uppsala, the University of Chicago, and the University of Paris 8, Vincennes-St. Denis. Together with A. A. Knoespel, he translated Murder at the Savoy by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö published by Pantheon. His adaptation of Brecht’s play, How Much is Your Iron? (with Robert Wolf) was produced by the San Quentin Drama Workshop in Chicago. He has helped curate exhibitions in Paris and Atlanta. For his work in Sweden, he received an Honorary Doctor’s Degree from the University of Umeå in 2014. Knoespel is McEver Professor of Engineering and the Liberal Arts Emeritus at Georgia Tech.

Ken Knoespel's Georgia Tech Webpage

James Davis May

James Davis May is the author of two poetry collections, Unquiet Things (Louisiana State University Press, 2016), and Unusually Grand Ideas (Louisiana State University Press, 2023).

May has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Originally from Pittsburgh, he now lives in Macon, Georgia, where he directs the creative writing program at Mercer University.

Poet's Website

twitter logo@jamesdavismay


Portrait of the Self as Skunk Cabbage


Maybe it's like those hard
red rubbery spathes
that in early spring—
make that late winter—
create their own heat
and halo themselves
with soil wet
from the snow they melt,
a few degrees of advantage
the plant makes for itself,
like its putrid odor: something
that almost survived the winter
but didn't, convincing
enough to court the thawed-
out insects, those first
mindless urges of life.
Dumb from winter's boredom,
my brother and I
trudged the frost-crusted creek mud
in the woods behind our house
to where the stems
unfolded a too-bright green
we hated because it was ugly,
reminded us of nothing
but itself and thus
reminded us of ourselves.
A presence we wanted gone.
So we slashed it down
with hockey sticks—
each gash releasing the oils
that made those rancid leaves
more rancid. Each year,
the same ritual, the same
erasure of something
that we didn't know
we couldn't erase.
The plant, I found out
years later, grows downward:
the roots pull the stem
deeper into the soil, too deep,
a gardener told me,
to kill it even if you wanted to.


--from Unquiet Things (LSU Press, 2016)


H. Bruce McEver

H. Bruce McEver started writing in workshops in New York City with Hugh Seidman, Pearl London, Katha Pollitt, Brooks Haxton, David Lehman, and J.D. McClatchy. His most recent full-length poetry collections include Like Lesser Gods (C&R Press, 2017), and Scaring Up the Morning (C&R Press, 2013). His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Westview, The Berkshire Review, The Cortland Review, The Connecticut River Review, The Chattahoochee Review, and The Atlanta Review. Bruce is on the board of The Poet’s House in New York.

Bruce received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an M.T.S. (Religion and Literature) from Harvard Divinity School. An investment banker and the Chairman of Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, a firm he founded in 1983.  Bruce is also a Georgia Tech BIE alumnus, and was a Lieutenant, USN, on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, He founded Berkshire Capital Corporation in l983. A member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Bruce is a dedicated conservationist. He works in New York City and lives in Salisbury, Connecticut on Utopia Farm.


Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips is the author of 16 books of poetry, most recently Then the War: And Selected Poems 2007-2020 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022, Carcanet, 2022), which won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize. A new book of poems, Scattered Snows, to the North, is forthcoming in early Fall 2024. Phillips’s other honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, and awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Library of Congress. 

Phillips has also written three prose books, most recently My Trade Is Mystery: Seven Meditations from a Life in Writing (Yale University Press, 2022); and he has translated the Philoctetes of Sophocles (Oxford University Press, 2004).

He teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis.

Poet's Website

twitter logo@CPhillipsPoet

JC Reilly

JC Reilly writes across genres to keep things interesting, and has never met a hybrid piece she didn't love.  What Magick May Not Alter, her Southern Gothic novel-in-verse,  was published by Madville Publishing in 2020. She is also the author of the chapbook La Petite Mort, and a contributing author in a book of occasional verse, On Occasion:  Four Poets, One Year.  She serves as the Managing Editor of Atlanta Review and teaches creative writing at Georgia Tech.  When she's not writing, she crochets, plays tennis, or practices Italian.  Follow her on Twitter @Aishatonu, or follow her cats on Instagram @jc.reilly.

Poet's Website

Sam Sax

Sam Sax is a queer, Jewish writer and educator. Their most recent book of poems is Pig (Simon & Schuster, 2023) which Publishers Weekly called, “Vivid, sensuous, and gorgeous.” They’re the author of Madness, winner of the National Poetry Series, and Bury It, winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Sax's first novel, Yr Dead, will be published by McSweeney’s in August 2024. 

A two-time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion, they have poems published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Poetry Magazine, Granta, and elsewhere. Sam has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, Yaddo, Lambda Lit, and MacDowell, and currently serves as an ITALIC Lecturer at Stanford University.

Poet's website

twitter logo@samsax1


James Dean with Pig

       Dennis Stock, “Life” magazine

even without the image you can see it.
dean, black booted, bedroom-eyed
hair coiffed into its iconic pompadour.
he holds a hat turned up to the sky.
sty littered with corn husks. big animal
standing beside him. i’ve never seen
his films but know his shape. his name
performs the work of looking.
this photo taken on a trip back home
to the family farm in indy. what life
might have been had he not sought
the spotlight. [ the apocrypha
i love best, about his affair with brando.
sub & dominus. god & pig.
they met on a set. dean so loved him
he held him up like a father
& brando did what he wanted, put out
cigarettes on the boy, used a belt. ]
this photo’s taken in 1955 & it’s unclear
whether he carries the terror & pleasure
to come or if it’s waiting somewhere
beyond the lens. if he returned
to the farm knowing or if he returned
to the farm known. now both are dead—
one leaves behind films, the other only
meat & children, who perhaps
you, dear reader, have eaten
& in that eating
took pleasure.
--from Poetry, 2023 (


Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith is the award-winning author of eight critically-acclaimed books of poetry, including Unshuttered (Triquarterly Books, 2023), Incendiary Art (Triquarterly Books, 2017), Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (Coffee House Press, 2012), Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008), and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow (CityFiles Press, 2015). Writing about Incendiary Art, Publisher’s Weekly praised Smith’s “razor-sharp linguistic sensibilities that give her scenes a cinematic flair and her lines a momentum that buoys their emotional weight.”

Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Tin House, and anthologized in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, and Best American Mystery Stories. Smith also co-edited The Golden Shovel Anthology—New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (University of Arkansas Press, 2017), and edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir (Akashic Books, 2012).

Smith is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam. She is a professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, an Academy of American Poets Chancellor and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Poet's Website

twitter logo@pswordwoman


Ethel's Sestina


Ethel Freeman's body sat for days in her wheelchair outside the New Orleans Convention Center. Her son Herbert, who had assured his mother that help was on the way, was forced to leave her there once she died. 

Gon’ be obedient in this here chair,
gon’ bide my time, fanning against this sun.
I ask my boy, and all he says is Wait.
He wipes my brow with steam, says I should sleep.
I trust his every word. Herbert my son.
I believe him when he says help gon’ come.

Been so long since all these suffrin’ folks come
to this place. Now on the ground ’round my chair,
they sweat in my shade, keep asking my son
could that be a bus they see. It’s the sun
foolin’ them, shining much too loud for sleep,
making us hear engines, wheels. Not yet. Wait.

Lawd, some folks prayin’ for rain while they wait,
forgetting what rain can do. When it come,
it smashes living flat, wakes you from sleep,
eats streets, washes you clean out of the chair
you be sittin’ in. Best to praise this sun,
shinin’ its dry shine. Lawd have mercy, son,

is it coming? Such a strong man, my son.
Can’t help but believe when he tells us, Wait.
Wait some more. Wish some trees would block this sun.
We wait. Ain’t no white men or buses come,
but look—see that there? Get me out this chair,
help me stand on up. No time for sleepin’,

cause look what’s rumbling this way. If you sleep
you gon’ miss it. Look there, I tell my son.
He don’t hear. I’m ’bout to get out this chair,
but the ghost in my legs tells me to wait,
wait for the salvation that’s sho to come.
I see my savior’s face ’longside that sun.

Nobody sees me running toward the sun.
Lawd, they think I done gone and fell asleep.
They don't hear Come.

Ain’t but one power make me leave my son.
I can’t wait, Herbert. Lawd knows I can’t wait.
Don’t cry, boy, I ain’t in that chair no more.

Wish you coulda come on this journey, son,
seen that ol’ sweet sun lift me out of sleep.
Didn’t have to wait. And see my golden chair?

--from Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008)


Sasha Stiles

Sasha Stiles is a first-generation Kalmyk-American poet, language artist, and AI researcher, exploring the intersection of text and technology. She is known for her pioneering experiments with generative literature and blockchain poetics. 

In late 2021, Stiles released her debut book, Technelegy, co-authored by a custom AI-powered text generator; the book probes how technology has made us more and more human over time, and explores both the exhilaration and danger of our intimate relationship with the digital. A co-founder of theVERSEverse, a web3 gallery and writers' collective, Stiles showcases her multidimensional, transdisciplinary pieces in physical and virtual exhibitions worldwide. 

A Harvard and Oxford graduate, Stiles resides near New York City.

Poet's Website

twitter logo@sashastiles





(from the Poet's Website)      
Commissioned by One Times Square/Times Square Arts and Studio As We Are for Virtual New Year's Eve, December 2020


Jessica Tanck

Jessica Tanck is the author of Winter Here (UGA Press, 2024), winner of the 2022 Georgia Poetry Prize. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s MFA program. Her work has appeared in The Adroit JournalAlaska Quarterly ReviewBeloit Poetry JournalBlackbirdColorado ReviewDIAGRAMGulf CoastKenyon ReviewThe Los Angeles ReviewMeridianNew Ohio ReviewNinth Letter, and others. 

Jess lives and writes in Salt Lake City, where she is a Vice Presidential Fellow and Ph.D. student in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah. She serves as the Editor of Quarterly West

Poet's Website

Samson et Dalila, Op. 47 

I would wonder over it often: the welt
on my teacher's throat. My hand cupped
round the neck of my cello, hollow

I hugged to me. So thin the music 
stand, so thin what kept the din of strings 
from the electric weather

of my blood. In profile my teacher's
tucked hair, frown, perpetual bruise.
Horsehair on metal, purr torn from a gate

thrown open—and to what? 
Only when she lifted her violin to play
would I understand the mark—

how close she held the carved thing
to tear its music out.

--from The Cincinnati Review, 20.2 (