Join us in welcoming Erica Dawson and Dora Malech, who will each read from their new collections of poetry.
Dawson’s death-defying poetry leaps between the mythical and the personal. A sort of magic happens when she puts religious stories and irreverent lyrics in conversation: they tell “the story of a woman. How the skies / came out of her wherever. Spacious skies / Dark skies. Grown woman skies.”
In the process, Dawson is creating a new mythology and new forms—moving seamlessly
from blank verse to couplets to erasure and back again—that help make sense of our present world.
Her first collection, Big-Eyed Afraid, won the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. Her second, The Small Blades Hurt, earned her the Poets’ Prize. Already, excerpts of When Rap Spoke Straight to God have appeared in more than fifteen major journals and anthologies.
Born and raised in Maryland, Erica holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, an MFA from Ohio State University, and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. She’s taught workshops and seminars at the Florida Arts Coalition’s Other Words Conference, St. Leo University’s Sandhill Writers Retreat, and the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon. Erica is the Director of The University of Tampa’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, and, at UT, an associate professor of English and Writing.
She lives in Tampa with her Shih-Tzu, Stella, whom she named after Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, not Tennessee Williams’ Stella or Stella Artois, although Erica really likes Tennessee Williams and Stella Artois.
Dora Malech grew up in Maryland, and earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale University and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her awards include a Clapp Fellowship from Yale, Capote and Teaching-Writing Fellowships from Iowa, a Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship, and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Malech's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry magazine, Poetry London, and elsewhere. She is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean (2010), Say So (2011), and Stet (2018).
Malech has taught writing at the University of Iowa; Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, New Zealand; Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Augustana College; and Saint Mary’s College of California. She lives in Baltimore, where she is an assistant professor in the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University.
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