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.