Order Specter Mountain

Specter MtnYou can now order SPECTER MOUNTAIN, Jesse’s collaboration with William Wright, released March 1, 2018, from Mercer University Press.

SPECTER MOUNTAIN is a book-length poetry collaboration between Jesse Graves and William Wright that imagines the spiritual and ecological life of an embattled landscape. The collection fuses two striking poetic visions into a cohesive and innovative new perspective on nature and the inevitable imprint of human interaction with wilderness. Readers will gain a sense of the permanent beauty of rivers and mountains, timeless images of the sublime, and the grandeur that reaches beyond human life and influence. SPECTER MOUNTAIN is a book of voices, delivered by an impressive range of speakers, including even the mountain itself. Sometimes they speak in chorus and sometimes in isolation, out of the past and from the future, offering meditations and reflections on our changing world. These poems reveal a sensitivity to the passing of time, and to the many losses that people and places suffer and outlast together. If the mountain is a haunted landscape, it is also a place of aspiration, where traditions flourish and customs give meaning to the lives that pass there. In his preface to the book, celebrated poet and novelist Robert Morgan says, “Jesse Graves and William Wright are two of the most exciting talents in contemporary poetry. Before they have spoken in distinct and memorable individual voices. In SPECTER MOUNTAIN they have pooled their considerable gifts and found a synergy that yields a unique work that will serve as a landmark for our time, and for many years to come.”

You can order SPECTER MOUNTAIN on Amazon or here.

Creative Writing Festival at ETSU This Week; Jesse to Interview Joy Harjo

East Tennessee State University is hosting its third annual Creative Writing Festival this week, organized by Jesse Graves and ETSU’s Creative Writing Initiative! The events span April 10th and 11th, with everything from poetry and prose readings to creative writing workshops for students and the public alike to attend. Events will be held at the Reece Museum and the Martha Street Culp Auditorium on the main campus in Johnson City. Both days and all events are FREE and OPEN to the public!

We will be graced with the presence of several extremely talented authors, including Courtney Stevens (author of works such as Dress Code for Small Towns, Faking Normal, and others), the award-winning Mark Powell (author of Small Treasons and others), and the delightful poet and award-winning Bianca Lynne Spriggs (author of Call Her by Her Name and others, co-editor of the forthcoming Black Bone: 25 Years of Affrilachian Poets).

The guest of honor is the multi-talented Joy Harjo: member of the Mvskoke Nation, author of memoir Crazy Brave, poet-author of collections such as How We Became Human, musician of five albums, and more. She will be giving ETSU’s annual Jack Higgs Reading. Jesse Graves will be conducting an interview with Joy Harjo on April 11th from 4PM to 5PM in the Reece Museum.

We will attach the schedule down below for both days, as well as the author biography page from the ETSU flyer so those interested can all read a little more about our guests. For directions and more information, please visit the festival’s website by clicking here.

Jesse to Lead Narrative Poetry Workshop: March 17th

This Saturday, Jesse Graves will lead a narrative poetry workshop, sponsored by the Knoxville Writers Guild. The workshop will be held on March 17th at Central United Methodist Church, 10:00 am – noon, where Jesse will lead area writers through a workshop in contemporary narrative poetry.  His workshop will include discussions and applications of the narrative elements and devices found in these works.

To read the Knoxville Writers Guild’s exclusive interview with Jesse, please click here.



Jesse Graves is compiling and editing the poetry of the late Tennessee writer James Agee as part of a new multi-volume work, assisted by his research assistant Jonathan Hill. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Michael Lofaro of UT: Knoxville.

This new Collected Poems of James Agee will replace previous versions and contain dozens of pages of previously unpublished material. It will be one of several volumes in the ongoing series, The Collected Works of James Agee, published by the University of Tennessee Press.

To read the full article with details on this new project, please click here.

Upcoming Events

On Friday, February 2, Jesse will leading the poetry workshop at this year’s Mildred Haun Conference at Walters State Community College in Morristown, TN. See the conference schedule for more information.

On Sunday, February 18, Jesse will be a guest on Radio Free Nashville’s  program “Everyday Poetry,” which focuses on accessible, contemporary working class poetry. Some of Jesse’s poems were featured on the program last year. “Everyday Poetry” airs at 12:00 p.m. Eastern/11:00 a.m. Central. You can listen online and see the program schedule here.

Jesse and Don Johnson will be reading at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC, on Thursday, February 22.

On Saturday, March 17 at 10:00 a.m., Jesse is conducting a workshop on narrative poetry at the Knoxville Writers’ Guild. Register for the workshop here.

In April, Jesse will be reading at the Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville. Additional details will be available closer to the event.