Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Jesse Graves

A Poet of the Heart

Remembering Arthur Smith (1948-2018)

Arthur Smith came to Knoxville from central California, by way of Houston, Texas, and for more than 30 years he helped poets at the University of Tennessee find the path toward their own voices. His friend and fellow poet Jesse Graves remembers Smith on the fifth anniversary of his death.

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Discovering the Soil All Over Again

An interview with Museum of Appalachia founder John Rice Irwin

When he died in January 2022, historian John Rice Irwin was described as the “guardian of Appalachia’s past.” In a 2008 interview, he talked with poet Jesse Graves about his family and his life’s work.

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“Redpolls Feeding”

Book Excerpt: Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition

Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, the award-winning 2011 debut collection by ETSU poet-in-residence Jesse Graves, is released this month in an expanded 10th anniversary edition. A poetry reading featuring Graves and Matthew Wimberley, with music by Michael Cody, will be held at East Tennessee State University on March 23.

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“Fawn in Sapsucker Woods”

Book Excerpt: Merciful Days

Jesse Graves is the author of four poetry collections, including Basin Ghosts and Specter Mountain, a collaboration with William Wright. His work received the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He teaches at East Tennessee State University, where he is poet-in-residence and professor of English.

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An Illuminated Mind

Oblivion Banjo surveys the long career of poet Charles Wright

Tennessee native and former U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright is sometimes described as worldly, even cosmic, in his subject matter, and yet his poems are often grounded in everyday reality and memories of his home state. Oblivion Banjo brings together the poet’s own selection of work from a career spanning nearly half a century.

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The World’s One Breathing

Poet Jesse Graves interviews literary Renaissance man David Madden

Knoxville native and literary polymath David Madden talks about his early influences, the writers he finds essential, and the importance of technique in creative writing.

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