Jesse to be Honored at Emory & Henry’s Literary Festival

Jesse will be the featured writer at Emory & Henry College’s Literary Festival later this week, November 3rd – 4th, 2022. Every year, Emory & Henry honors “a living writer with strong ties to the Appalachian region,” and they have featured writers such as Crystal Wilkinson, Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, and Ron Rash in the past (Emory & Henry Website). The festival is located on Emory & Henry’s main campus in Emory, Virginia, and it will be held in-person with no known online options at this time. A copy of the schedule can be found below!

For directions and more event details, please see Emory & Henry’s event page!

East Tennessee State University also asked Jesse about the event, to which he had this to say:

“I feel especially humbled and grateful to be recognized by the Emory & Henry College festival, as many of my mentors and my literary heroes, like Robert Morgan, Jeff Daniel Marion, Lee Smith and Charles Wright, have been their featured authors in the past,” said Graves. “For me, this celebration represents the essence of the warmth and fellowship in Appalachian literature, and I couldn’t be more honored to have my work set in the lineage of those writers who came here before me.” 

You can find ETSU’s press release on the Emory & Henry event here.


Thursday, November 3rd

Jesse Graves’ Life, Work, & Poetry

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 10:30AM– 11:45AM

Writing the Homeplace in Appalachian Literature

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 1:30PM – 2:45PM

Setting the Homeplace to Music

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 3:30PM – 4:45PM

Reading & Book Signing

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 7:30PM

Friday, November 4th

Poet as Collaborator: Jesse Graves Scholarly Projects

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 10:30AM– 11:45AM

Public Interview

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 1:30PM – 2:45PM

Writing the Homeplace: Jesse Graves’ Craft Talk

Location: MCA, Black Box Theatre

Time: 3:30PM – 4:45PM


Jesse’s TENNESSEE LANDSCAPE WITH BLIGHTED PINE Celebrates its Tenth Anniversary With a New Edition!

Jesse’s 2011 collection of poems, Tennessee Landscape With Blighted Pine, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an expanded new release from Texas Review Press! The new version includes twelve new poems and a new introduction written by fellow poet Matthew Wimberley. The official release date is March 15th, 2022, and it is now available for purchase through Texas Review Press and most major retailers!

Purchase Options:
Texas Review Press

From Texas Review Press: “First released in 2011, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine was the debut poetry collection from Tennessee poet Jesse Graves and was awarded the 2011 Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College, the Book of the Year in Poetry Award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association, and the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing.
The poems in Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine take part in many of the traditions of lyric poetry, including elegies for lost loved ones, odes to the beauty of family and the natural world, expressed through a range of poetic forms and techniques.
The 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition includes twelve new poems and an introduction by Matthew Wimberley.”

Jesse to Give Talk at Kingsport Public Library This Thursday, November 10th

Jesse will appear later this week to give an author talk on his four collections of poetry, at the Kingsport Public Library in Kingsport, Tennessee. The event will be held in the Kingsport Public Library’s Auditorium at 6:00 PM this Thursday, November 10th, 2022. This event is currently projected to be in-person only.

For more information, or to find directions, please see the Kingsport Public Library’s event page here or the Kingsport Public Library’s Facebook event page here.

Jesse’s Poetry is Featured at the Reece Museum in “Appalachian Ancestors”

The Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University has crafted a delightful exhibit featuring poetry from Jesse’s 2022 Tennessee Landscape With Blighted Pine (Tenth Anniversary Edition). Alongside the poems, interpretations of the poems from students at the Governor’s School and museum staff appear with artifacts from the museum and/or borrowed from colleagues. The exhibit is called “Blighted Pine: Appalachian Ancestors” and will be available for viewing until September 23rd, 2022, during The Reece Museum’s regular operating hours.

The image of the exhibit belongs to The Reece Museum.

From The Reece Museum website: “Blighted Pine: Appalachian Ancestors is an exhibition that explores connections between past and present through living history installations and poetic interpretations. Beginning as a component of the Governor’s School for the Scientific Exploration of Tennessee Heritage, the original GOV’ HUB exhibition evolved into a larger project that brings ideas of memory and ancestory to the forefront. Please enjoy touring the various displays featuring artifacts from the Reece Museum permanent collection as well as loaned items from museum staff and colleagues. These displays are accompanied with selected poems from Jesse Graves’ 2022 book, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine: Poems. Along with the poetry are interpretations made by Governor’s School students and museum staff. The coupling of these installations and writings create a unique atmosphere of familial nostalgia that evokes a sense of place and home— a connection to this region’s Appalachain ancestors.” 

Jesse’s New Edited Collection THE SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, VOLUME IX: VIRGINIA is Now Available for Pre-Order!

The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IX: Virginia, edited by William Wright, Jesse Graves, Amy Wright, and J. Bruce Fuller, is now available for pre-order from its publisher, Texas Review Press! The anthology will be officially released on November 15th, 2022, and it should be available from all major retailers.

Purchase Options:
Texas Review Press

From the publisher, Texas Review Press: “Home to extraordinary writers such as William Styron, Tom Wolfe, and Ellen Glasgow, the state of Virginia’s literary past is among the most prolific in the nation. Indeed, this state, with its beautiful and varied ecosystems—Appalachia, Chesapeake Bay, the Shenandoah Valley, and Virginia’s beautiful beaches, just to name a few—seem to serve as the landscapes from which equally varied and nutritive writers spring, from the lyrical, often ecstatic meditations of Charles Wright to the poignant, dynamic narratives and lyrics of Ellen Bryant Voigt, from the moving narratives of Rita Dove to the formal mastery and wit of R. T. Smith.

Series Editor William Wright, along with Volume Editors J. Bruce Fuller, Jesse Graves, and Amy Wright, have collaborated to bring readers a wide-ranging survey in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IX: Virginia. This volume seeks to emphasize the uniqueness of the poetic voices of Virginia. In doing so, the editors have acknowledged and included many celebrated writers from the recent past as well as relatively new, diverse voices that reiterate the literary fecundity of one of the most beautiful, revered, and complicated states in the American South.”

MTSU’s “In Process” to Host Jesse in September 2022

Middle Tennessee State University has invited Jesse to appear at their “In Process” Creative Writing Events Series on September 15th, 2022! The event will be held on MTSU’s main Murfreesboro, Tennessee campus in the Sam H. Ingram Building at 4:30 PM (CST). As of right now, there will not be a Zoom recording available. Dr. Gaylord Brewer will host, and the event is free and open to the public! Jesse will read and discuss poetry for the duration.

Please see MTSU’s In Process website for directions to the campus or for more events in their Creative Writing series.

Jesse to Host Two Workshops at the Virginia Highlands Festival on July 29th

The Virginia Highlands Festival will host an all-day event on July 29th, 2022, in Abingdon, Virginia with both on-site and online via Zoom options. The VHF theme this year is “Diversity in Appalachia.” The Virginia Highlands Festival celebrates Appalachian literature with writing workshops on fiction, poetry, and writing mechanics, and it “focuses on established and emerging writers, poets, and authors who share our diverse culture with the world” (VHF Website).

Jesse will host two different workshops at this event! Please find more details on tickets below or on the Virginia Highlands Festival website.

Session One Workshop (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM) on “Narrative Poetry” by Jesse Graves:
“This workshop offers several prompts and examples designed to bring narrative elements into new poems, stories, or personal essays, giving writers the opportunity to explore historical and character-driven topics, as well as their own personal subject matter. The impulse to tell stories through poetry goes back to Homer and the Greek epics, and continues to play an essential, if under-examined, role in contemporary poetry. Participants will read and discuss poems by such poets as Joy Harjo, Philip Levine, Ruth Stone, and Natasha Tretheway. Writers will leave this session with new material, and thoughts and suggestions on how to revise those ideas into finished works.” (Info. from VHF Website)

Session Two Workshop (1:15 PM – 2:45 PM) on “Authentic Voice” by Jesse Graves:

“Jesse Graves will teach a workshop about finding voice, a permanent concern for writers and poets. Writing prompts and examples will bring elements of voice into new writing, giving writers the opportunity to explore historical and character-driven topics as well as their own personal subject matter. The workshop is for writers of all genres.” (Info. from VHF Website)

It’s bound to be a fantastic event! If you’re interested in attending either in-person or on Zoom, tickets are $40 and can be purchased online or on-site the day of the event.

Jesse’s Edited Collection on Essays about Robert Morgan is Now Available!

You can now order McFarland’s Robert Morgan: Essays on the Life and Work, edited by Robert M. West and Jesse Graves! The official publication date is June 8th, 2022, and the collection of essays is available from McFarland and most major retailers.

Purchase Options:

From the publisher, McFarland: “For more than fifty years Robert Morgan has brought to life the landscape, history and culture of the Southern Appalachia of his youth. In 30 acclaimed volumes, including poetry, short story collections, novels and nonfiction prose, he has celebrated an often marginalized region. His many honors include four NEA Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as television appearances (The Best American Poetry: New Stories from the South, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards). This first book on Morgan collects appreciations and analyses by some of his most dedicated readers, including fellow poets, authors, critics and scholars. An unpublished interview with him is included, along with an essay by him on the importance of sense of place, and a bibliography of publications by and about him.”

Jesse’s Essay Collection SAID-SONGS is Now Available!

You can now order Jesse’s collection of essays, Said-Songs: Essays on Poetry and Place, from Mercer University Press! The official publication date is October 1st, 2021, and the collection of essays is available from Mercer University Press and most major retailers.

Purchase Options:
Mercer University Press

From Mercer University Press: “The essays collected in SAID-SONGS range from the personal to the scholarly and explore the hybrid territory in between, where a creative writer considers literary craft and how it influences the generative imagination. Jesse Graves examines the writings of the people and about the places that have most shaped his own poetry, including several studies on his “hometown literary hero,” the Knoxville-born winner of the Pulitzer Prize, James Agee. In the volume’s opening essay, “Lyric: A Personal History,” readers encounter an emerging poet deeply immersed in the history of lyric and narrative poems and gain a view into how these literary traditions shape the writing and revising of his first poetry collection, the award-winning TENNESSEE LANDSCAPE WITH BLIGHTED PINE.

Appalachia and its writers hold the central focus of this collection, but Graves cultivates a space in which poets with voices and styles as diverse as John Ashbery, Federico García Lorca, and Adam Zagajewski receive fresh critical attention. These represent the writers, or the connections between writers, that Graves could not stop thinking about and felt compelled to try to understand through the steady concentration of analysis. Every writer’s journey is also the journey of a reader and Graves invites us to join his ongoing exploration of books, music, and the literary imagination. The essays and interviews gathered in SAID-SONGS trace the evolution of a poet’s sensibility from the early days of a rural eastern Tennessee childhood to the maturing voice of the writer.”

A Poetry Reading with Jesse Graves, Jeff Hardin, and Andrew Najberg on Facebook January 21st

Later this month, an online poetry reading will feature Jesse, Jeff Hardin, and Andrew Najberg on Thursday, January 21st at 6:30 PM. Please see the link below to RSVP to the event and ask for a Zoom invite!

Find the Event Here:
Facebook Event Page

Author Bios from the Facebook Event Page:

Jeff Hardin is the author of Fall Sanctuary, Notes for a Praise Book, Restoring the Narrative, Small Revolution, No Other Kind of World, and A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being. He is also the author of the poetry chapbooks Until the Yellow Bird Returns, Deep in the Shallows, and The Slow Hill Out.

Jesse Graves is the author of Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, Basin Ghosts, Specter Mountain, and Merciful Days. He has also been the co-editor for three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology and The Complete Poems of James Agee.

Andrew Najberg is the author of the book The Goats Have Taken Over the Barracks. He is also the author of the chapbook of poems Easy to Lose.