MFA for Poets and Writers Presents the Fall ‘21 Visiting Writers Series

Celebrating 58 years of readings

AMHERST, Mass. – The MFA for Poets and Writers is pleased to announce the Fall ‘21 Visiting Writers Series. This year’s series features Santee Frazier, Sabina Murray, Peter Gizzi and Dinaw Mengestu. Readings are free and will be held in the Great Hall at the Old Chapel. They begin at 6 p.m.

Celebrating its 58th  year, the nationally renowned Visiting Writers Series at UMass Amherst presents emerging and established writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. The Series is sponsored by the MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative, and made possible by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the University of Massachusetts Arts Council and the English department.

Due to COVID concerns, the Fall 2021 season of the Visiting Writers Series at UMass Amherst will only be open to members of the Five College community. Recordings of our readings will be made available on the UMass English department's YouTube Channel. Prior registration for each in-person event will be required.

Santee Frazier |Sept. 30, 6 p.m.

NEWS Santee Frazier
Santee Frazier

Santee Frazier is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He received his BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and his MFA from Syracuse University. He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the School for Advanced Research and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Frazier’s poems have appeared in “Ontario Review,” “American Poet,” “Prairie Schooner,” amongst others. The author of “Dark Thirty,” University of Arizona Press, 2009, Frazier’s second collection of poems “Aurum” from the University of Arizona Press was released in Fall 2019.

Register here for Santee Frazier’s reading.

Sabina Murray | Oct. 21, 6 p.m.

NEWS Sabina Murray
Sabina Murray

Sabina Murray grew up in Australia and the Philippines.  She is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently “The Human Zoo.”  She is also the author of the novel “Valiant Gentlemen,” a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, and the short story collection The Caprices, which won the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award.  Other published books are “Slow Burn,” “A Carnivore's Inquiry,” “Forgery,” and “Tales of the New World.”  A collection of ghostly fiction, “Vanishing Point” (TBD), is forthcoming from Grove.  Her stories are anthologized in “The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction” and “Charlie Chan is Dead II: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian Fiction.”  She is the writer of the screenplay for the film “Beautiful Country,” for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. She has written on Sebald for the “Writers Chronicle,” Wordsworth for the “Paris Review” blog, time theory and historical fiction for “LitHub,” Duterte and the Philippines for “VICE,” Spam (the meat) for The New York Times, and published gothic fiction in “Medium.” She is a former Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, Bunting Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, N.E.A. Grant recipient, Magdalen College of the University of Oxford Research Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow.  She has received the Samuel Conti Award from the University of Massachusetts and the Fred Brown Award from the University of Pittsburgh.  Murray teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  

Register here for Sabina Murray’s reading.

Peter Gizzi | Nov. 18, 6 p.m.

NEWS Peter Gizzi
Peter Gizzi

Peter Gizzi is the author of “Now It's Dark;” “Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems;” “Archeophonics” (Finalist for the National Book Award); “In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011” (Finalist for the LA Times Book Award); “Threshold Songs;” “The Outernationale;” “Some Values of Landscape and Weather;” “Artificial Heart;” and “Periplum.” In 2004 Salt Publishing of England reprinted an expanded edition of his first book as “Periplum and other poems 1987-92.” He has also published several limited-edition chapbooks, folios and artist books. His work has been translated into numerous languages and anthologized here and abroad.

His honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets (1994) and fellowships in poetry from The Fund for Poetry (1993), The Rex Foundation (1993), Howard Foundation (1998), The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (1999), and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2005). He has twice been the recipient of the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge University. In 2018, Wesleyan published “In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi.”

He has held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Foundation of French Literature at Royaumont, Un Bureau Sur L'Atlantique, the Centre International de Poesie Marseille (cipM) and Tamaas.

His editing projects have included “o•blék: a journal of language arts;” “The Exact Change Yearbook;” “The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer;” and “My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer.” He served as Poetry Editor for “The Nation” from 2007-11.

Register here for Peter Gizzi’s reading.

Dinaw Mengestu | Dec. 2, 6 p.m.

NEWS Dinaw Mengestu
Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu, a recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, was born in Ethiopia and raised in Illinois. His fiction and journalism have been published in The New Yorker, Granta, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. Mengestu was chosen for the 5 under 35 Award by the National Book Foundation in 2007 and was named on The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list in 2010. He is also the recipient of a Lannan Fiction Fellowship, The Guardian First Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other awards. He is the author of three novels: “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears,” “How to Read the Air” and “All Our Names.” His work has been translated into more than fifteen languages.

Register here for Dinaw Mengestu’s reading.