Visiting Writers Series Features Dara Wier

HATTIESBURG, MISS. (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) –The University of Southern Mississippi Center for Writers will host a reading at 7 p.m. on May 3 featuring the acclaimed poet Dara Wier.

The reading is the second in the Center's 2010 Visiting Writers Series and will be held the International Center Auditorium, room 101. During her visit, Wier will also meet with graduate students in the Center for Writers.

A native of Naomi, La., Wier has published eleven collections of poetry including, "Remnants of Hannah";  "Reverse Rapture"; "Hat on a Pond"; "Voyages in English"; "Our Master Plan"; "Blue for the Plough"; "The Book of Knowledge"; "All You Have in Common"; "The 8-Step Grapevine"; and "Blood, Hook and Eye".

Four limited edition collections of her work have also been published, and in 2009, Wave Books released a collection which features selections of her work from 1977-2006.  This collection has been called, "a major retrospective that will stand as an indispensable record of turn-of-the-millennium poetry."

Wier has been the recipient of many awards and honors throughout her career, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  She has received a Pushcart Prize and "American Poetry Review's" Jerome Shestack Prize.  Her work has been anthologized frequently in "Best of American Poetry".  "Remnants of Hannah", Wier's 2006 collection, won the Poetry Center Book Award.

About her work, fellow poet John Ashbery has said, "It may not be for the faint of heart—most intense experiences aren't—but those who stay with it will find themselves face to face with a world whose eerily sharp focus suggests recent satellite photographs of Mars. And they will never be the same again."

"The Harvard Review" has said, "Recalling at moments the philosophical comedy of Wallace Stevens and Wislawa Szymborska, many of Wier's colloquial stanzas draw a reader away from a recognizable world into one in which women waltz with bears, houseflies chat with colonels, and the absence of sound makes a material presence."

"Rain Taxi" writes, "Wier's poems explode with variety, particularity, whirlwinds of detail and mystery . . . memoirs, dialogues, choral performances witnessing scenes both weird and familiar."

Wier has taught poetry at colleges and conferences throughout the United States.  She now directs the Master's of Fine Arts Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Wier is also a co-director of the University of Massachusetts's Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action.

The Visiting Writers Series is one of the cornerstones of the Center for Writers and has brought more than 150 nationally regarded writers of literary fiction and nonfiction poetry to Southern Miss for the community's benefit.

The Center for Writers is the graduate creative writing program at Southern Miss and is housed in the Department of English. The program has awarded more than 275 masters and doctoral degrees through the department since 1977 and was ranked in the top 10 percent of creative writing programs nationwide in a U.S. News & Business Report survey.

Admission to the Wier reading is free. For more information, contact the Center for Writers at 601.266.5600 or visit online at, or contact Tearanny Street at 601.266.6823.

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