David Bottoms: A Life in Poetry


David Bottoms                                                                                     

(1949 - 2023)                                                                                             

Saturday, October 07, 2023 
Event:   2:00 pm ET
Reception to Follow

In-person event
Cypress Room, 
John Lewis Student Center, 
Georgia Tech 


Free and open to the public

No RSVP or registration required


in partnership with 

the Georgia State University Creative Writing Program and Department of English,

and the Georgia Humanities Council

invite you to

A Celebration of the Life & Work

David Bottoms 
(1949 - 2023) 
Georgia Poet Laureate (2000-’12), Teacher, and Mentor 
Saturday, 07 October, 2023 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time

featuring music and readings of David's poems by

Edward Hirsch, Earnest Suarez, Chelsea Rathburn, Katie Chaple, 
James Davis May, Travis Denton, Tom Key, Lauren K. Watel, Mike Mattison, 
Louis Corrigan, David Yoke, and Rachel Ashe


The reading is FREE and open to the public, and will take place in-person at the Cypress Room, John Lewis Student Center in Georgia Tech's Atlanta campus.

The event will begin at 2:00 pm ET, with a reception to follow.

For more information, contact Travis Denton via email at travis.denton@lmc.gatech.edu .

Georgia Humanities logoGSU logo

Presenter Bios

(Reader bios in order of appearance)


Ernest Suarez is David M. O'Connell Professor of English at the Catholic University of America and executive director of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers. He is the editor of David Bottoms's A Scrap in the Blessings Jar: New and Selected Poems, Jim Dickinson's memoir I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone, and SouthboundInterviews with Southern Poets. He is the author of  James Dickey and the Politics of Canon: Assessing the Savage Ideal and the co-author (with Mike Mattison) of  Poetic Song Verse: Blues-Based Popular Music and Poetry.  He was named the Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year for the District of Columbia and was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in Spain and China.


Mike Mattison is a singer/songwriter and founding member of the blues/roots group Scrapomatic, and a two-time Grammy winner for Best Blues Album with the Derek Trucks Band and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. He is the co-author, along with Ernest Suarez, of Poetic Song Verse: Blues-Based Music and Poetry published by the University Press of Mississippi. He is a native of Minneapolis, MN and graduated from Harvard with a BA in American Literature, and serves on the Council of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers.


Dave Yoke taught himself guitar in his native Anniston, Alabama drawing on the blues enthusiasm of his older siblings. He launched his career as a founding member of the long-standing, regionally popular Second Hand Jive. In the mid-90s, Yoke moved to Atlanta and became an in-demand session player, joining forces with (Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown associate) Dr. Dan Matrazzo. Yoke was then invited to become a full-time member of the oft-GRAMMY-nominated Susan Tedeschi Band and the legendary Dr. John. He is also a permanent member of Scrapomatic, with whom he tours and has recorded three albums. As testament to his blues roots, Dave has regularly been invited to sit in with the Allman Brothers Band, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Americana artist Kristina Train.


Edward Hirsch, a MacArthur Fellow, has published ten books of poems, including Gabriel: A Poem and Stranger by Night, and six books of prose, among them 100 Poems to Break Your Heart and The Heart of American Poetry. He is President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.


Lauren K. Watel’s debut book, a collection of prose poetry, was awarded the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and will be published in fall 2024 by Sarabande Books. Her poetry, fiction, essays and translations have appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, Ploughshares and Narrative, among others. Her prose poem honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was set to music by Pulitzer-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and the piece premiered at the Dallas Symphony.


Tom Key served as Artistic Director of the acclaimed Theatrical Outfit in downtown Atlanta from 1995 to 2020. He has starred in more than 100 theatre productions nationally, including The Alliance Theatre, The Dallas Theatre Center, Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre, Arena Stage of Washington D.C., The Westwood Playhouse of Los Angeles (nominated Best Actor - L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle), The Atlanta Opera, and off-Broadway at The Lamb's Theater where he conceived, co-authored, and starred in the Harry Chapin musical, Cotton Patch Gospel, (Dramatic Publishing Company).


Travis Denton lives in Atlanta where he is the Associate Director of Poetry@TECH at Georgia Tech, and founding editor of the literary arts publication, Terminus Magazine. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, such as Barrow Street, Five Points, Ghost Town, MEAD: a magazine of literature and libations, The Greensboro Review, Washington Square, Forklift, Rattle, Maudlin House, and the Cortland Review. His latest collection of poems, My Stunt Double, is now available from C&R Press.


James Davis May is the author of two poetry collections, both published by Louisiana State University Press. Unquiet Things appeared in 2016, and Unusually Grand Ideas was released in 2023. He lives in Macon, Georgia, where he directs the creative writing program at Mercer University.


Chelsea Rathburn is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Still Life with Mother and Knife. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of American Poets, she lives in Macon and teaches at Mercer University. Since 2019, she has served as the Poet Laureate of Georgia.


Katie Chaple is the author of Pretty Little Rooms (Press 53), winner of the 2012 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry through Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She is editor of Terminus Magazine, published through Georgia Tech and also serves as the McEver Chair in Community Outreach with Poetry@TECH. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as American Literary Review, Antioch Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blackbird, Crab Orchard Review, Five Points, Greensboro Review, Passages North, Poetry International, The Rumpus, and others.


Louis Corrigan grew up in Atlanta and did graduate studies in American Literature at Emory University. After writing for The Motley Fool, he worked as a stock research analyst and then portfolio manager for San Francisco based investment firms. He was the first board chair of ArtsATL and has served on the board of other arts organizations. The Atlanta Contemporary awarded him its Nexus Prize for significant contributions to the arts community for the work of Flux Projects and Possible Futures, two non-profits he founded. The latter published Atlanta Art Now's NoPlaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape, a landmark survey of the city's visual artists.


Alice Rachel Ashe (formerly Bottoms) is the daughter of David Bottoms and Kelly Beard.  She has a BA in English and women's studies from Emory University and an MA in English with a literary studies concentration from GSU.  She recently returned to Georgia State to pursue an MFA in poetry writing.


This fall, after a three year hiatus (for obvious reasons), Poetry@Tech is returning to in-person events. And guess what, We also have a brand-new home: The Cypress Theater in the Georgia Tech Student Center. 


The Cypress Theater: Directions & Information

The Cypress Theater (https://studentcenter.gatech.edu/student-center/rooms/cypress) will be Poetry@Tech's new home, after over two decades in the Kress Auditorium at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. 

With space for an audience of 165 people, and a large banqueting area, the Cypress Theater will be a wonderful venue for our future readings. 

The Cypress theater is located on the first level, at the southeast corner of Georgia Tech's newly-renovated John Lewis Student Center building (https://studentcenter.gatech.edu/student-center), located at 350 Ferst Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

Please see the maps below for directions to the Student Center and to the Cypress Theater.



Parking Information

We have multiple parking locations for the Student Center. Please see the Visitor Parking website (https://www.pts.gatech.edu/parking/visitor-parking/) for more information. 

The visitor parking areas closest to the Cypress Theater (arranged approximately closest to farthest) are:

Please see these lots marked in red in the map below:

Public Transport

Georgia Tech is well-connected to the MARTA train and bus system. 

If you plan to travel to the event using public transportation, North Avenue is the closest MARTA train station. From North Ave, you can either walk 0.8 miles to the student center, or take the 50 MARTA bus to stop at the intersection of North Ave & Tech Parkway, and walk approximately 800 ft along Tech Parkway and Ferst Dr. to the Student center.