The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series: 2014-2015 Season


The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writer Series

2014-2015 Season


Allen St. John

Tuesday, September 4, 2014

On behalf of the Common Reading Program: Allen St. John is a New York Times bestselling author and an award winning journalist. He writes the By the Numbers column for the Wall Street Journal, and has written for a wide variety of publications from the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Maxim, Salon, Popular Mechanics, Playboy, Men’s Journal, and Maxim. He has won a wide variety of awards including top honors from the North Jersey Press Club, the North American Ski Journalists Association, and the United States Tennis Writers Association. His story 'Fall Classics' earned an honorable mention in The Best American Sports Writing 2002. His other books include the award winning Skiing for Dummies and the hardcover and CD-ROM of The Way Baseball Works. St. John will give a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Blue Ridge Ballroom.

-Check out St. John’s website for more information.

-St. John talks about Ricky Henderson’s “Brilliant Career” at Salon


George Ella Lyon

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On behalf of the Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Visiting Writer Program: 

Writing in many genres for readers of all ages, George Ella Lyon has published over forty books. Of her new poetry collection She Let Herself Go, The Washington Independent Review of Books said, “Lyon, with joy and conviction, teaches us how to write. The trick is to make life right so each day is energized, restoring the writer to herself. . . . [E]ach poem makes you feel better than the one before.” Kirkus Reviews calls her newest novel for young adults, Holding on to Zoe, “an intriguing window into the life of a damaged teen.”

Often rooted in Appalachia, Lyon’s work speaks to a broad audience. As a Booklist reviewer wrote of the novel With a Hammer for My Heart, “Lyon gives readers a story rich in precise, gorgeous language that glows like a sword on the forge and cuts as deep. . . . Tragedies old and new weave a tiny Kentucky town into the center of the universe.”

Publishers Weekly called her picture book “Which Side Are You On?” The Story of a Song “ a high-stakes account of grace under pressure,” and The Horn Book says of All the Water in the World, “It’s a familiar subject but a vital one, to which author and illustrator bring a passion and artistry that give it the power of story." Both books were CCBC Choices, and “Which Side Are You On?” recently received the American Folklore Society’s Aesop Award.

Lyon’s books have received other accolades, including ALA’s Schneider Family Book Award, a Jane Addams Honor, a Golden Kite, the Appalachian Book of the Year, and the Bluegrass Award. She’s had numerous Notable and Best Book citations, and her poem “Where I’m From” is used as a writing model around the world.

George Ella holds a PhD in English from Indiana University, where she studied with poet Ruth Stone. She has taught writing on many campuses and spoken at hundreds of schools, libraries, and conferences throughout the country.

The mother of two grown sons, she is married to musician and writer Steve Lyon and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She makes her living as a free-lance writer and teacher.

A reception in Lyon's honor will be held in the Price Lake Room from 6:00-7:15 p.m. followed by a reading from Lyons at 7:30 p.m. in the Table Rock Room.

-Check out George Ella Lyon’s website for more information.

-George Ella Lyon’s talks about her poem “Where I’m From”


Shira Dentz

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shira Dentz is the author of two books—a book of poems, black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman Books, 2011), and door of thin skins (CavanKerry Press, 2013), a hybrid collection of prose, poetry and visual elements. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Leaf Weather (Tilt Press/Shearsman Books), and Sisyphusina, (forthcoming from Red Glass Books), and her third full-length manuscript is a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her writing has appeared widely in journals including American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, and Brooklyn Rail, and has been featured at the Academy of American Poets’ website (, NPR, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and Omniverse. She is the recipient of awards including an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, The Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Utah. She is currently the Reviews Editor at Drunken Boat. Dentz will deliver a craft talk from 2:00-3:15 p.m. in the Rough Ridge Room of the Plemmons Student Union and a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Table Rock Room of the Plemmons Student Union.

-Dentz interviewed at OmniVerse

-Dentz’ “a woman all about love yesterday” featured at

-Dentz’ “Shin, Lamad, Mem” in The Blue Jew Yorker

-Dentz’ “Units & Increments” in Drunken Boat

-Dentz’ “inversion, salt lake city” and “pumpkin trash bags,” in EOAGH

-Dentz’ “a suit a suit makes,” “the pause between branches,” and “Rain” in Talisman


Hank Lazer

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hank Lazer, Juanita Tobin Memorial Poet, is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including The New Spirit (Singing Horse, 2005), Elegies & Vacations (Salt, 2004), and Days (Lavender Ink, 2002).  For over thirty years, he has published poetry in America’s leading literary magazines. Lazer’s work has been nominated for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and the 2004 Forward Prize.  With Charles Bernstein, he edits the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series for the University of Alabama Press.  For the past twelve years, his essays on innovative poetry, new modes of lyricism, and representations of spiritual experience have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Boston Review, Jacket, American Poetry Review, and Talisman.  Over the past few years, Lazer has collaborated with jazz musicians Tom Wolfe and Chris Kozak on some jazz & poetry improvisations and with outsider artist Pak on a series of poem-paintings. Lazer, born and raised in San Jose, California, received an A.B. degree in English from Stanford University; he holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Virginia. Lazer is a Professor of English at the University of Alabama where he is also an administrator serving as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. Lazer will deliver a craft talk from 2:00-3:15 p.m. and a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Table Rock Room of the Plemmons Student Union.

-Hank Lazer feature in PLUME, including “TALK SHOW: A Conversation between Glenn Mott and Hank Lazer,”

-Three new pages of Lazer’s The Notebooks up in Truck.

-Two of Lazer’s poems featured in The Chronicle of Higher Ed with commentary by Lisa Russ Spaar

-Check out this extensive archive of Hank Lazer readings, performances, and talks at PennSound


Roxane Gay

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy culture blog, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK and former essays editor for The Rumpus. She teaches writing at Purdue University. Her novel, An Untamed State, was recently published by Grove Atlantic and her essay collection, Bad Feminist, is forthcoming from Harper Perennial in August of 2014. She is at work on both fiction and nonfiction projects. Gay will deliver a craft talk from 2:00-3:15 p.m. and a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Table Rock Room of the Plemmons Student Union.

-Roxane Gay’s “The Trouble With Prince Charming Or He Who Trespassed Against Us” on The Rumus

-Roxane Gay feature, “Roxane Gay: meet the bad feminist,” in The Guardian.

-Roxane Gay feature on NPR, “Roxane Gay On Acknowledging and Owning Her ‘Bad’ Feminism”

-Follow Roxane Gay on TUMBLR


Emerging Voices: Tim Earley and Megan Kaminski

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tim Earley is the author of three full-length collections, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenary (Horse Less Press, 2014), The Spooking of Mavens (Cracked Slab Books, 2010), and Boondoggle (Main Street Rag, 2005) along with a limited edition chapbook, Catfish Poems (Delete Press, 2013). His work has appeared in The Ecopoetry Anthology, Chicago Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, Cannibal, Bestoned: The New Metaphysick, Conduit, and many other publications. He teaches for the University of Mississippi and the Fine Arts Work Center’s Online Writing Program, 24PearlStreet, and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.


Megan Kaminski’s first book of poetry is Desiring Map (Coconut Books, 2012). She is also the author of seven chapbooks, most recently Wintering Prairie (Dusie Kollektiv, 2014), This Place (Dusie Kollektiv, 2013), and Gemology (Little Red Leaves Textile Series, 2012). Her current work Deep City explores the body and the city as architectures in crisis. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Kansas, where she directs the Undergraduate Reading Series and is the faculty sponsor for The Siren, a national journal of student writing. She also curates the Taproom Poetry Series in downtown Lawrence. Earley and Kaminski will deliver a craft talk from 2:00-3:15 p.m. and a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Table Rock Room of the Plemmons Student Union.

-Earley’s “Actuaries Poem,” “Melancholy Poem,” and “Structures Poem” in DIAGRAM

-Earley’s “COUNTRY POEM #11: GENESIS,” “PHILOSOPHY POEM,” and “POEM” in Apocryphaltext

-Tim Earley on the Joe Milford Show

-“Topographies of Desire: The Millions Interviews Megan Kaminski” at The Millions

-Kaminksi talking about her poem “My Syntax” in the In Their Own Words feature at The Poetry Society of America

-Excerpts from Kaminki’s Favored Daughter series in ditch,

-Kaminski’s “Cityscape” featured at Dusie

-Kaminski reads “Across soft ruins” at The Volta


Admission to all events is free.

For further information on the 2014-2015 Visiting Writers Series season, please check out our Facebook page or send us an email at To receive Appalachian’s “This Week in the Arts” announcements by email, please contact


Parking is free on campus after 5 p.m. We recommend the Library Parking Deck on College Street (from King Street, turn down College Street at the First Baptist Church). To reach the Student Union, cross College Street and follow the walkway between the chiller plant and the University Bookstore, passing the Post Office and entering the Student Union on the second floor. For further parking information or a map, please see or call the Parking and Traffic Office (828) 262-2878.



The Visiting Writers Series 2014-2015 season is supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation, Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Summer Reading Program, the University Bookstore, Belk Library, and the Appalachian Journal. Business sponsors are The Gideon Ridge Inn and The Red Onion Restaurant. Community sponsors include John and the late Margie Idol, Paul and Judy Tobin, Alice Naylor, Thomas McLaughlin, and The High Country Writers.

The Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of Hughlene Bostian Frank (class of 1968), 2013 Appalachian Alumni Association Outstanding Service award recipient, past trustee, and generous supporter of Appalachian State University.