Past Visiting Poets

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang's fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. The Boss (McSweeney's) won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. She was awarded a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Southern California and teaches at Chapman University and the Orange County School of the Arts. You can find her at www.victoriachangpoet.com.

Billy Collins

Billy Collins has published ten collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead and Picnic, Lightning. He has also published two chapbooks, Video Poems and Pokerface. In addition, he has edited two anthologies of contemporary poetry: Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, was the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2006, and edited Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, illustrated by David Allen Sibley. His book, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003 – 2013, was a New York Times bestseller. His most recent book of poetry is titled The Rain in Portugal, (October 2016) and is a New York Times bestseller. Included among the honors Billy Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. He has also received the Aiken-Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry, The Hall-Kenyon Prize, the Mailer Prize for Poetry, and the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry. In June 2001, Billy Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003. In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06. He is a former Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York. In 2016 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

Christopher Collins

Christopher Collins earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Murray State University. He is a former Captain having served twelve years in the U.S. Army (Reserve). He completed three combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq as a platoon leader and as a commander. He has published one poetry chapbook entitled Gathering Leaves for War (Finishing Line Press, 2013).


Chris is currently a PhD candidate in Literary Nonfiction at the University of Cincinnati. He taught high school English for more than a decade before pursuing his doctorate. He is married to his high school sweetheart, and they have two children. They live in the rural town of Independence, Kentucky.

My American Night is his first full-length poetry collection to be published.

Stuart Dischell

Stuart Dischell was born in Atlantic City, NJ. He is the author of Good Hope Road, a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & AvenuesDig Safe,Backwards Days and the forthcoming Children With Enemies and the pamphlets Animate Earth and Touch Monkey and the chapbook Standing on Z. His poems have appeared in The AtlanticAgniThe New Republic, SlateKenyon ReviewPloughshares, and anthologies including Essential PoemsHammer and BlazePushcart Prize, and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. 

Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia Faizullah was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Midland, Texas. She is the author of a previous poetry collection, Seam, winner of a VIDA Award, a GLCA New Writers’ Award, a Milton Kessler First Book Award, Drake University Emerging Writer Award, and other honors. Her poems are published widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, are translated into Persian, Chinese, Bengali, Tamil, and Spanish, have been featured at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere, and are the recipients of multiple awards, including three Pushcart Prizes, the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry, and others. In 2016, she was recognized by Harvard Law School’s Women Inspiring Change. Faizullah currently teaches in the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program as the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor in Poetry. 

Matt Hart

Matt Hart is the author of seven books of poems, including Radiant Action (H_NGM_N Books, 2016), Radiant Companion (Monster House Press, 2016), and Blue Jay Slayer, an art and poetry collaboration with artist Ken Henson (Aurore Press, 2015). Hart’s poems, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including The Academy of American Poets online, Big Bell, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, H_NGM_N, Harvard Review, Jam Tarts Magazine, jubilat, Kenyon Review online, Lungfull!, and POETRY, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he is Associate Professor in Creative Writing and the Chair of Liberal Arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He plays guitar and shouts in the bands TRAVEL and THE LOUDEST SOUNDER.

Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Jean Stein Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.”

Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference and won a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. Jess is Poetry and Fiction Editor of African American Review and Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

Jess' fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals, as well as anthologies such as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Beyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago's Guild Complex, Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry.

Judson Mitcham

Judson Mitcham’s poetry has been widely published in literary journals, including Poetry, Harper’s, Georgia Review, Hudson Review, New England Review, and Southern Review. His first poetry collection, Somewhere in Ecclesiastes, earned him the Devins Award from the University of Missouri Press. He has been awarded an NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing and a Pushcart Prize. Mitcham has twice won the Townsend Prize for Fiction--for his novels The Sweet Everlasting and Sabbath Creek. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1974 and began teaching psychology at Fort Valley State University, where he taught until his retirement in 2004. He has also served as adjunct professor of creative writing at Mercer University, the University of Georgia, Georgia College & State University, and Emory University, where he directed the Summer Writers’ Institute. His most recent book is A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New, published by the University of Georgia Press. In 2012 he was named poet laureate of Georgia, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

Anis Mojgani

Anis Mojgani is the author of four poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody Publishing: The Pocketknife Bible (2015), Songs From Under The River (2013), The Feather Room (2011), and Over the Anvil We Stretch (2008). He is a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. A TEDx Speaker and former resident of the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program, Mojgani has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in such journals as Rattle, Paper Darts, Forklift Ohio, and Used Furniture Review.

Pulling inspiration from his Black and Iranian heritage, his childhood memories, his worldview, love, and existence, Anis takes seemingly commonplace subject matter and sculpts inspiration from them. Weaving dream-like tales that dip into imaginative imagery, Anis’s poems make the ordinary almost surreal and, through jolts of wide-eyed writing and striking honesty, make that which is fantastical remarkably relatable. Both innocent and heartbreaking, introspective and curious, the humanity his work carries causes listeners to remember and experience a childhood that is not their own but feels like it was. In the words of Tony Hoagland, “Anis Mojgani restores us to the genius of child-mind—his poems are heroic adventures that take us outward and upward for our own collective good.”

A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Mojgani works on the covers for his own books as well as occasionally providing work for others. Originally from New Orleans, he currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion was UK Poet Laureate from 1999-2009. He was born in London and in 2015 was appointed a Homewood Professor in the Arts at Johns Hopkins University. He is the co-founder and co-Director of The Poetry Archive (poetryarchive.org.uk), and the recipient of several prizes for his work, including most recently the Ted Hughes Award; he was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009. His most recent collection of poems is Peace Talks (2015).

Ginger Murchison

Ginger Murchison earned her MFA from the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. Together with Thomas Lux, she helped found POETRY @ TECH, where she served as associate director for five years. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Frost Place, consulting faculty for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and is Editor-in-Chief of the acclaimed Cortland Review. Her debut collection of poems is a scrap of linen, a bone from Press 53.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three books of poetry: Lucky Fish, winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books; At the Drive-In Volcano; and Miracle Fruit. With Ross Gay, she co-authored Lace & Pyrite, a chapbook of nature poems (Organic Weapon Arts, 2014). She is the poetry editor of Orion magazine and her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, and Tin House. Awards for her writing include an NEA Fellowship in poetry and the Pushcart Prize. She teaches at The State University of New York at Fredonia, where she was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence and named the campus-wide Hagan Young Scholar. In 2016-17, Nezhukumatathil will be the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi’s MFA program in creative writing.

Dean Parkin

Dean Parkin was born in 1969 and left school at the age of sixteen to work at a printers, and then in a bookshop. He worked for The Poetry Trust for fifteen years (2000-2015) – latterly as Creative Director, programming the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. He is now a freelance poet, devising his own projects and running workshops for every age group, from school children to the over nineties. He has published four chapbooks and his first full collection, The Swan Machine (The Rialto) was published in November 2015.

Chris Salerno

Christopher Salerno resides in Caldwell, New Jersey, where he serves as associate professor in the creative writing and MFA programs at William Paterson University.

Vijay Seshadri

Vijay Seshadri is the author of three collections of poetry, including 3 Sections, which was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The Pulitzer Prize committee praised 3 Sections as: “a compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless.” His other collections include The Long Meadow, which won the James Laughlin Award, and Wild Kingdom. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in AGNI, the American Scholar, Antaeus, Bomb, Boulevard, Lumina, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, Threepenny Review, Verse, Western Humanities Review, Yale Review, the Times Book Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Bomb, San Diego Reader, and TriQuarterly, and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American PoetsContours of the Heart, Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times, and Best American Poetry.

Anya Silver

Anya Silver has published three books of poetry with the Louisiana State University Press:  The Ninety-Third Name of God, I Watched You Disappear, and From Nothing.  She has been published in numerous anthologies and journals, including Best American Poetry 2016, Poetry in Medicine, How to Write a Poem, and Intimacy:  Poems.  Her work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, in Ted Kooser’s syndicated column American Life in Poetry, as an Academy of American Poets Poem of the Day, and on Poetry Daily.  In 2015, she was named Georgia Author of the Year for Poetry.  She is Professor of English at Mercer University and lives in Macon, Georgia with her husband and son.