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M. Douglas Smith Reading Series: Home

About the Series

M. Douglas Smith, Jr began the Reading Series in 2001. Since that time the Learning Commons has hosted a popular series of annual readings by nationally recognized writers—including Jay Hopler, Kimberly Johnson, Tita Ramirez, Drew Perry, George Looney, Malena Mörling, Tess Taylor, and Gibbons Ruark—and by faculty, students, and staff at Guilford College.

George Looney (image credit Penn State Behrend)

George Looney, poet

George Looney’s recent books include Hermits in Our Own Flesh: The Epistles of an Anonymous MonkMeditations Before the Windows FailStructures the Wind Sings ThroughMonks Beginning to Waltz, and A Short Bestiary of Love and Madness His novel Report from a Place of Burning was co-winner of The Leapfrog Press Fiction Award and will be published in 2018.  He is the founder of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie, editor-in-chief of the international literary journal Lake Effect, translation editor of Mid-American Review, and co-founder of the original Chautauqua Writers’ Festival.

Jay Hoppler (image credit Inkwood Books)

Jay Hoppler, poet

Jay Hopler was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  His first collection of poetry, Green Squall (2006), won a Yale Younger Poets Prize.  His second collection, The Abridged History of Rainfall (2016), was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in Poetry.  Hopler is editor of The Killing Spirit: An Anthology of Murder for Hire (1998) and, with Kimberly Johnson, Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (2013). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, a Whiting Award, and the Rome Prize in Literature.  He is Professor of English at the University of South Florida

Kimberly Johnson (image credit

Kimberly Johnson, poet

Kimberly Johnson is a poet, translator, and literary critic.  Her collections of poetry include Leviathan with a HookA Metaphorical God, and Uncommon Prayer Her monograph on the poetic developments of post-Reformation poetry was published in 2014.  In 2009, Penguin Classics published her translation of Virgil’s Georgics.  Her poetry, translations, and scholarly essays have appeared widely in publications including The New YorkerSlateThe Iowa ReviewMilton Quarterly, and Modern Philology.

Gibbons Ruark (image credit

Gibbons Ruark, poet

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1941, Gibbons Ruark grew up in various Methodist parsonages in the eastern part of the state.  Educated at the Universities of North Carolina and Massachusetts, he taught English largely at the University of Delaware until his retirement in 2005.  He has published his poems widely for fifty years.  Among his eight collections are Keeping Company (Johns Hopkins, 1983),Rescue the Perishing (LSU, 1991), Passing Through Customs: New and Selected Poems (LSU, 1999), and Staying Blue, a 2008 chapbook from Lost Hills Books.  The recipient of many awards, including a Pushcart Prize, three NEA Poetry Fellowships, residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, the 1984 Saxifrage Prize for Keeping Company, and inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2009, he lives with his wife Kay in Raleigh.

Malena Mörling (image credit Milkweed Editions)

Malena Mörling, author

Malena Mörling is the author of two collections of poems, Ocean Avenue and Astoria.  One of Tomas Tranströmer’s best translators into English, she is co-translator of The Star By My Head: Poets from Sweden. Mörling’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, BoulevardNew England Review and elsewhere, and she has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, multiple Lannan Foundation Fellowships, and the Rona Jaffe Award.  She is on the faculty of the Low-Residency MFA program at New England College and is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.  Born in Stockholm, she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Tess Taylor (image credit Tess Taylor)

Tess Taylor, poet

Tess Taylor’s chapbook The Misremembered World was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship.  The San Francisco Chronicle called her first book, The Forage House, “stunning,” and it was a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award.  Her second book, Work & Days, was called “our moment’s Georgic” by critic Stephanie Burt and named one of the ten best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times Her work has appeared in The AtlanticBoston ReviewHarvard ReviewThe Times Literary Supplement, and other publications.

Welcome to “We Become the Fictions We Create,” a six-word memoir contest for students, faculty, and staff.  What is a six-word memoir?  Here is an example (perhaps apocryphal) by Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” 

The contest guidelines are simple: fill out the submission form with your six-word memoir by midnight on October 12, 2018.

The winners will be announced on November 9, 2018.

We love words in the Learning Commons, so your six-word memoir can be comic or tragic, terrifying or ridiculous, but it should reveal some element of your true nature.  Have fun.  We look forward to reading your work.

Learning Commons

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Learning Commons
Hege Library 210
Guilford College
5800 West Friendly Avenue
Greensboro NC 27410
(336) 316-2253