I'm a professor of creative writing at Columbus State University and the director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, Georgia, and Nyack, New York. My poems have appeared widely in a number of national and international literary journals, online sites, and public broadcasts—The Paris Review, Southwest Review, Western Humanities Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, Pleiades, Ekphrasis, Poetry Daily, The New Ohio Review, Five Points, The Oxford American, The Greensboro Review, The South Carolina Review, New South, storySouth, Atlanta Review, This Land, the PBS NewsHour site Art Beat, U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated column American Life in Poetry, on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and many others.
I've been awarded a Pushcart Prize, an International Merit Award in Poetry from Atlanta Review, a residency at the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming, both a Tennessee Williams Scholarship and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, twice been a finalist for the Vassar Miller Prize, once each a semifinalist for the Verse Prize and the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and a finalist in both the Morton Marr Poetry Contest and the Texas Institute of Letters Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Poetry. My first book, The Soft Blare, selected by Andrew Hudgins for the River City Poetry Series, was issued in 2003. My second, A Palace for the Heart, winner of second prize in the Mellen Press Poetry Contest, was published by that press in 2004. In 2007, I published a limited edition, fine press book, Wrestle, in collaboration with the artist and master printer Erika Adams. In 2016, Erika and I produced a second book, Text. My third full volume of poems, Gravel and Hawk, won the Hollis Summers Prize in Poetry and was published by Ohio University Press in 2012. My fourth, Eagle & Phenix, came out in spring 2019.
I've also published a number of essays, reviews, book chapters, and critical studies of poetry. In March 2016 my article on “Tone and the International Style” in the work of the Northern Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney appeared in the international Irish studies journal Estudios Irlandeses, published at the University of Barcelona. "Mark Strand on the Moon" was the featured essay in the Fall 2020 issue of Birmingham Poetry Review. My essay "On Poetry's Pure Serene" will appear in the October 2021 issue of Literary Matters.
In addition to my collaborations with Erika Adams, I've also worked with sculptor Mike McFalls, who created a permanent public art installation featuring my poem "powerhouse," mounted in eight-inch corten steel on the RiverWalk in Columbus, Georgia, in 2016. I collaborated with Matthew McCabe and James Ogburn on the sound recording of my poem "Firewood." James has also used my poem "Tongue and Groove" as the libretto of an operetta that premiered at the Puccini Chamber
Opera Festival in Lucca, Italy, on 12 June 2021. Mike McFalls and photographer Rylan Steele, curators of “Looking Male,” an art photography exhibition at the La Grange Art Museum, La Grange,
GA (February 5 - April 3, 2021) and the Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, GA (October - December, 2021) commissioned the poems "Mine" and "Gulf" for inclusion in the exhibition. My poem "The Southern Forest" is featured in photographer Chuck Hemard's art photography book The Pines: Southern Forests.
I have been the sole poet representing the United States at the Euroscience Open Forum’s session “Science Meets Poetry” on four separate occasions—in Munich in 2006, Turin in 2010, Copenhagen in 2014, and Manchester, UK, in 2016. I served as the co-director of the EC-Ireland study abroad program from 2013-2015, as site director of CSU’s Spencer House in Oxford, England--where I was also a visiting fellow at Greyfriar's Hall--in spring of 2008, and I've taught in or directed study abroad and study away programs in Oxford, Swäbisch Gmünd, Germany, and New York City.
Since 2015 I have directed the Carson McCullers Center. Among our programs is the podcast The Carson McCullers Center's Weekly We of Me, for which I'm the host. Our current "big project" is the first-ever documentary film on Carson McCullers.