Cumberland invites first visiting poet

Staff Reports • Updated Nov 8, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Cumberland University’s School of Humanities, Education and the Arts will play host to visiting poet Anders Carlson-Wee on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Heydel Fine Arts Center.

Carlson-Wee will share his knowledge and experience of being a professional poet during his talk, “Trains, Travel and the American Poet.” He has “hopped trains” with his brother and fellow poet, Kai Carlson-Wee, and traveled across America to write his stories in powerful narrative form and lyric poems. 

Carlson-Wee was a professional rollerblader in his youth, along with Kai, before he studied wilderness survival and started jumping on freight trains to see the country in an epic American journey. He has bicycled across the U.S. twice, hitchhiked to the Yukon and back, and walked on foot across Croatia and Bosnia through the farm villages of the Dinaric Alps. 

Carlson-Wee has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mcknight Foundation, Camargo Foundation, Ucross Foundation, Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fund and several others. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Ploughshares, New England Review, Poetry Daily, AGNI, The Sun and The Southern Review. He is the winner of Ninth Letter’s Poetry Award, Blue Mesa Review’s Poetry Prize, New Delta Review’s Editors’ Choice Prize, and the 2017 Poetry International Prize.

Cumberland University English and creative writing Instructor Sandee Gertz received a Charles and Elaine Bell grant to bring Anders Carlson-Wee to campus. The Bell grant was established to foster Cumberland faculty development and student engagement.

“If you knew that you could host the next ‘Whitman’ at your university, would you take the opportunity? This is the question that I posed in writing this grant for a poet in residence for Cumberland. I truly feel that Anders Carlson-Wee will become known in our time as one of the top poets in the nation and as a voice that will resonate long into the future of contemporary poetry. This is why I am thrilled that Cumberland will be able to say ‘we knew him when…,’ and I am very grateful for the Bell Family for this financial support,” said Gertz.

The Carlson-Wee lecture will be free and open to the public.

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