Visiting Writers Program


2017-2018 Lineup


DANEZ SMITH: Thursday, September 7th, 2017 in the University Center's Marquette/Nicolet Rooms at 7:30pm.Danez Smith

Don't Call us Dead Book CoverRecipient of a 2017 NEA Award, Danez Smith is a Black, queer, poz writer, and performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017). Danez is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books) and black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Danez’s work has been featured widely, including on Buzzfeed, Blavity, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They are a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, 3-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective. Danez is represented by Beotis Creative.




Joy HarjoJOY HARJO: Thursday, October 5th, 2017 in the University Center's Marquette/Nicolet Rooms at 7:30pm.

Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some HorseConflict Resolution book covers. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally andCrazy Brave book cover internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the award-winning album Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.




ROBERT FANNING: Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 in Jamrich 1320 at 7:30pm.


Our Sudden Museum book coverRobert Fanning is the author of five poetry collections, including three full-length collections: Our Sudden Museum (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), American Prophet (Marick Press), and The Seed Thieves (Marick Press), as well as two chapbooks: Sheet Music (Three Bee Press), and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in PoetryPloughsharesShenandoahThe Atlanta Review, and other journals. Recent work has also appeared on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor on NPR, and Fanning was interviewed at the Library of Congress for the nationally-syndicated radio program “The Poet and the Poem.” A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is also the founder and facilitator of the Wellspring Literary Series in Mt. Pleasant, MI., where he lives with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children.





KWAME DAWES & RANDA JARRAR: Thursday, March 29th, 2018 in the Huron and Erie Rooms of the UC at 7:30pm.

Kwame DawesKwame Dawes is the author of twenty books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. In 2016 his book, Speak from Here to There, a co-written collection of verse with Australian poet John Kinsella appeared.  His most recent collection, City of Bones: A Testament (Northwestern University Press) will appear in 2017. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program.  He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Often called 'the busiest man in literature', Kwame will celebrate the publication of eight new books in 2016-2017.





Randa Jarrar’s work has appRanda Jarrareared in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.comGuernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, PloughsharesThe Sun, and others. Her first book, the Arab-American coming of age novel, A Map of Home, is now on many college syllabi. It was published in half a dozen languages & won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review. Her new book, Him, Me, Muhammad Ali, was named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2016 by The Millions, Key Collection for Fall 2016 by Library Journal, and one of Electric Literature‘s 25 best collections of the year. She has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Lannan Foundation,

Hedgebrook, and others, and in 2010 one of the most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40. She runs RAWI (the Radius of Arab-American Writers) and loves coordinating events and strengthening communities.





Director of the Visiting Writers Program: Matthew G. Frank,


Past Visiting Writers

Matt Bell
Tarfia Faizullah
Jamaal May
Jenny Boully
Elena Passarello
Rigoberto Gonzalez

Leslie Jamison
Eula Biss
Tiphanie Yanique 
Kazim Ali
Robin Sloan (One Book, One Community book author)
Steven Church
Jennifer Percy

Mike Madonick
Monica McFawn
Charlie LeDuff (One Book, One Community book author)
Todd Kaneko
Lindsey Hunter

Jonathan Johnson
Karen Thompson Walker (One Book, One Community book author)
Joseph Bates

Nahid Rachlin
Jack Driscoll
Elena Gorokhova (One Book, One Community book author)
Matt Bell
Kwame Dawes