Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Beth Ann has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, all with W. W. Norton. She is also the author of 3 books of prose: Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother, a collection of essays; The Tilted World, a novel co-authored with her husband Tom Franklin; and Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs (2018)—a celebratory book that combines the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, “Beth Ann Fennelly’s genre-defying collection is so engaging and readable that you won’t even notice how much you’re learning about confronting the hardest challenge we all share: being human. Wise, irreverent, funny, the pieces—ranging from one sentence to a few pages—condense Fennelly’s life into singularly precise, powerful moments. Collectively, however, they become a living, breathing entity with which you will have many pleasant but deep conversations about your own life.”
Beth Ann has won grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Beth Ann’s poetry has been in over fifty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1996, 2005, and 2006, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Poets of the New Century, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet.
A contributing editor to The Oxford American, she also writes freelance on travel, culture, and design for many magazines. Recent nonfiction awards include the Orlando Award in Nonfiction from A Room of Her Own, the Lamar York Prize from The Chattachoochee Review and the Porter Fleming Award for Excellence in the Essay. She’s the first woman honored with the University of Notre Dame’s Distinguished Alumni in the Arts Award.
Beth Ann lives with her husband and their three children, Anna Claire, Thomas and Nolan, in Oxford, Mississippi.
“Fennelly’s poems invite you into the delicate balance between the challenging, sometimes squalid, human condition and the beauty and sadness of the transcendent.” – The Rumpus
Beth Ann Fennely’s TEDx Talk on how literature can help us develop empathy:
Header image by Dave Bell.