Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.
Fennelly was born in 1971 and grew up north of Chicago. In 1993 she received her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame. The following year, Fennelly taught English in a coal mining village on the Czech/Polish border, then returned to the States to earn her M.F.A. as a Lily Peter Fellow from the University of Arkansas. She spent a year at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing as the Diane Middlebrook Fellow. After two years teaching at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, she moved to the University of Mississippi, where she’s a professor of English and former director of the MFA Program.
Her own education was in Catholic schools, and quite patriarchal, and she's taken great joy in bringing necessary correctives into my classroom where the male gaze is not the default. Fennelly says, "I had very, very few female professors, for example, so doing something as simply as teaching in a nine-months-pregnant body has seemed deliciously, importantly radical. So has actively mentoring women students as they consider their professional plans, marching in the Pride parade ("English Profs do it with Pride" read my poster), serving as an Isom affiliate, and including on my syllabi that I'm an Ally."
Fennelly has won two teaching awards, the Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher of the Year and the 2011 UM Humanities Teaching Award. She’s won grants and awards from the N.E.A., the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Beth Ann has published six books--three of poetry: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, all with W. W. Norton.
"When I arrived in Oxford in 2001," says Fennelly, "the MFA program was in its first year, kind of a 'soft opening' in which there were only 4 students. 4 white male students. I came on board in 2002 and I'm very proud at having a hand in shaping our program to be a place of tremendous vitality and diversity. During my years as the program director (I stepped down two years back to serve as our state's poet laureate, and my amazing colleague Derrick Harriell directs the program now) we were awarded the Graduate School's Award for Diversity in Graduate Education. That was very affirming for me: we've grown from four white males to a program with a welcoming atmosphere for diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, and religious/political beliefs. This philosophy has helped us attract amazing students and provided a space where they can safely write their best work, and their publications bring credit to the university."
The Week Ahead
REDe Entrepreneurship Summit Panel Discussion
Panelists include: Jan Farrington, Gail Pittman, Donna Barksdale, Leigh Reeves, and Liza Cirot Looser. The UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) proudly presents the inaugural REDe Entrepreneurship Summit October 18-19, 2018. Our goal for the REDe Summit is to inspire students with varied academic backgrounds, such as in the arts, engineering, pharmacy, or business, to engage in entrepreneurship. 9 AM, Student Union Ballroom
Famished Feminist Friday
Come and eat lunch with other feminists. No agenda, just lunch. 11:45 AM - 1 PM, Rebel Market
Sarahfest Edition of TMR at Rowan Oak
Poetry, soul, blues, and rock & roll at Faulkner's house! After a one year hiatus, Sarahfest and TMR team up again on the historic grounds of Rowan Oak to host a special episode focusing on female writers and artists. Guests will include Southern poet Ashley M. Jones, Memphis soul sax band Hope Clayburn and the Soul Scrimmage, and New Orleans singer-songwriter Tasche de la Rocha. The show is hosted by Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers.
Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. Parking is limited. Shuttles will be provided from Kudzu Lot (intersection of Old Taylor Rd. and University Place) to Rowan Oak. 6 PM, Rowan Oak
Lambda is an LGBTQ+ support group that meets weekly. We understand the struggle and frustration that many individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ have to face. We recognize the emotional, mental and physical impacts of discrimination, rejection, and negative attitudes on the mind and body. Our goal is to provide a supportive and safe environment for disclosure, to allow individuals to talk openly about concerns without the fear of judgment or bias, and help develop positive coping strategies (e.g., self advocacy). 5:30 PM, 210 Peabody
LMR Live with Effie Burt
Jazz Diva Effie Burt takes her place on the LMR Live couch to discuss her music and musical influences. 7:30 PM, Nutt Auditorium
Southern Studies Brown Bag Lecture: “ Sights Unseen: Black Women Athletes And The (In)Visibility Of Political Engagement”
Amira Rose Davis' will present a brief history of black women’s athletic activism that focuses on how they have been hypervisible yet oft-ignored symbols of various political struggles on and off the playing field. An assistant professor of history & women's. gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State University, Davis received her doctorate in history from Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in twentieth-century American history with an emphasis on race, gender, sports, and politics, and her research traces the long history of black women’s athletic labor and symbolic representation in the United States. She is currently working on her forthcoming book manuscript, “‘Can’t Eat a Medal’: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow.” Davis is also the cohost of the feminist sports podcast, Burn It All Down. Noon, Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory
Virtual Visiting Artist/Curator: Daniel J. Sander, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York City
Sander will discuss his work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum, which is the only dedicated art museum in the world to exhibit and preserve art about the LGBTQ+ experience. Hosted by The Department of Art and Art History. 5 PM, 120 Meek Hall
LGBTQ+ History Month Networking Luncheon
The LGBTQIA+ Networking Luncheon will be an opportunity to interact, engage, and network with LGBTQIA+ members of the University of Mississippi and Oxford community. Guests are invited to RSVP now until Friday, October 19, 2018. Pre-registration is required and will close when capacity is reached. Hosted by the Center for Inclusion & Cross Cultural Engagement, the Sarah Isom Center for Women & Gender Studies, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and Ole Miss Athletics Noon, Ford Ballroom, The Inn at Ole Miss
Queer Studies Lecture: A Conversation with Hilary Zaid
Novelist Hilary Zaid will deliver the 5th Annual Queer Studies Lecture. After a reading from her novel, Paper is White, she will have a discussion with Dr. Jaime Harker, Isom Center director and professor of English, regarding queer life in the 1990s, activism, and the roots of marriage equality, before taking questions from the audience. 4 PM, 126 Lamar
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Walk
Please join us for the awareness walk around The Square to show your support for victims of domestic violence. It is free to participate. All ages are welcome to participate. Wear your purple!
Hosted by Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi 5:30 PM, St. Peter's to the Square and back.
FEMISS General Meeting
FEMISS is the Univ. of Mississippi's chapter of the Feminist Majority Foundation, a national organization that promotes women's rights & gender equality. 6 PM, 519 Lamar
Sarah Talks Brown Bag: “Eventually We are all Queer:” Isherwood, Identities, and Legacies Dr. Chris Freeman (English & Gender Studies, USC) will use Christopher Isherwood as a case study to consider issues connected to mentorship, queer relationships, “mainstream” and marginal literary success, and queer studies into the twenty-first century. Noon, Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory
Sarahfest Concert: An Evening with Effie Burt The Jazzy Diva Effie Burt wraps up Sarahfest with an evening of music that will cross genres. She will be accompanied by musical talent from Oxford and the University of Mississippi. 7:30 PM, UM Band Hall - Music Building