Oklahoma State Poet Laureate to Speak at USC Aiken

Aiken, SC (02/07/2018) — The University of South Carolina Aiken's James and Mary Oswald Distinguished Writers Series will feature poet, writer, and literary scholar Dr. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m., in the Etherredge Center.

This event is free and open to the public.

Mish is the 2017-2018 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate. She currently serves as director of The Red Earth Creative Writing MFA @ Oklahoma City University and as advisor to Red Earth Review. At the university, she is a faculty mentor in writing pedagogy, professional writing, and the craft of poetry.

Mish has written several books. Her most recent books include: What I Learned at the War, a poetry collection (West End Press, 2016) and Oklahomeland: Essays (Lamar University Press, 2015). Her 2009 poetry collection, Work Is Love Made Visible (West End Press) won an Oklahoma Book Award, a Wrangler Award, and the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West.

Mish's poems have appeared in: This Land, Naugatuck River Review, Concho River Review, LABOR: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, World Literature Today, San Pedro River Review, About Place Journal, The Fiddleback, and Yellow Medicine Journal, among others. Essays and short fiction have appeared in Oklahoma Today, Sugar Mule, Crosstimbers, Red Dirt Chronicles, Cybersoleil, and The Emily Dickinson Society International Bulletin's essay series, "Poet to Poet."

For more information, on Mish, visit: www.tonguetiedwoman.com.

The Oswald series is a biannual literary event which first began in 1985, when, with the support of then-Chancellor Dr. Robert Alexander, the USC Aiken Department of English established an annual visiting writers' series. Since its inception, the series has been dedicated to extending the learning experience beyond the classroom by providing public readings of important contemporary poetry and prose to USC Aiken faculty and students and members of the greater community.

In the first decade, the series was directed by Dr. Stephen Gardner, who worked with representatives from the South Carolina Arts Commission to have USC Aiken declared as a host site for authors that the commission brought to the state for multiple-campus residencies. The literary luminaries featured in the series during those early years included a number of Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, including novelist Michael Chabon and poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

In 1995, the series was renamed for longtime Aiken residents James and Mary Oswald, who created an endowment to enhance departmental initiatives to promote general interest in the English language and its literatures.

Stewardship of the series changed hands in 1997 when Dr. Tom Mack and Dr. Phebe Davidson assumed responsibility. Since then, the roster of distinguished visiting authors has grown to include such significant writers as Judith Ortiz Cofer, Josephine Humphreys, John Jakes, Allan Gurganus, Robert Olen Butler, Sharyn McCrumb, Larry Thomas, Rick Bragg, and Tim O'Brien.

Dr. Drew Geyer, chairman of the USC Aiken English Department, now leads the effort.

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