Ron Casey Visiting Writers’ Series: Fall 2016 Schedule Announced!

We’re pleased to announce this semester’s full slate of author visits in the Ron Casey Visiting Writers’ Series. All readings are free and open to the public.

My Favorite Poem Community Reading
Friday, September 23 @ 7:00 pm | ASFA Lecture Hall

Taking after an initiative launched by Robert Pinsky in his tenure as the national poet laureate, the Birmingham Arts Journal and the ASFA-CW department have, for over a decade, partnered to sponsor this annual event celebrating poetry’s wide reach in the Birmingham metro area (and beyond). A cross-section of poetry lovers from all corners of the community gather to share their favorite poems and to explain how poetry is alive and well in their lives. A reception, hosted by the ASFA-CW parents, follows the reading.

Poet Ben Gunsberg
Thursday, October 6 @ 1:45 pm | ASFA Lecture Hall

Ben Gunsberg is a poet and an English professor at Utah State University. He will be reading from his chapbook, Rhapsodies with Portraits, of which Robin Behn has written, “With a constantly arresting precision of image and phrase that delights in every line, Ben Gunsberg tills the soils of Cold War kitsch and suburban sprawl with an eye that never misses how ‘the junipers shoulder up to dusk.’ Perhaps there is still room for poetry that can teach us how to live. These poems win me over and convince me of just that.”

Poet and Essayist Julie Marie Wade
Friday, October 28 @ 1:45 pm | ASFA Lecture Hall

Julie Marie Wade is the award-winning author of multiple books of poetry and prose, most recently a collection of lyric essays entitled Catechism: A Love Story, which Jenny Boully describes as “a gorgeous collection of poetic essays on reading, loving, and, most delightfully, reading love between the lines.” Wade is a professor in the Creative Writing program at Florida International University.

Poet Jeanie Thompson
Thursday, November 10 @ 7:00 pm | ASFA Lecture Hall

Jeanie Thompson will be reading from her latest poetry collection, The Myth of Water, a cycle of poems in the voice of Helen Keller. “Jeanie Thompson, through an act of sympathetic imagination,” writes poet Richard Tillinghast, “enters the Helen Keller story, relives it from the inside, and presents it here to readers, fresh, reimagined and, yes, a miracle.” The author of six other collections of poetry, Thompson is the founding executive director the Alabama Writers’ Forum,  a statewide literary arts service organization. A reception will follow this reading, where copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

Poet Ashley Michelle Jones 
Friday, December 2 @ 7:00 pm | ASFA Lecture Hall

ASFA-CW faculty member (and alumnae) Ashley Michelle Jones will read from her first published collection of poetry, Magic City Gospel. “In Magic City Gospel,” writes poet Denise Duhamel, “Ashley Michelle Jones writes Birmingham, Alabama, with the precision of one who grew up there. Seeped in the city’s difficult history, its food and folklore, this poetry explores the complicated racial and national identity of the author. In both free verse and received forms, these poems reverberate with heartache and humor. Ashley Michelle Jones’s voice speaks to her generation and beyond. She is an old soul in a young body her work will serve as an important springboard for questions of race, gender, and social justice. Simply put, the United States needs Magic City Gospel. This is a stunning and important debut.” Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the reception to follow this reading.


The Ron Casey Visiting Writers’ Series was established at ASFA by a generous gift from the family and friends of Mr. Casey, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and editorial page editor at the Birmingham News. Mr. Casey dedicated his life to using the written word to educate others and inspire a more humane, more critically aware society. All Casey readings are free and open to the public.

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