News & Events

Visiting Writers Series, Fall 2022

Sponsored by the Elliston Poetry Fund and the Robert and Adele Schiff Fund for Contemporary Fiction 

All readings are free and open to the public. They will take place in person with a virtual option. Registration for our real-time digital broadcast of these events is required (links below).   

Luke Geddes and Yalie Saweda Kamara

Fiction and Poetry Reading
September 14, 2022; 5:30 PM EST 
In person: Elliston Poetry Room, 646 Langsam Library
Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/alumnireading

Luke Geddes's novel Heart of Junk received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and was cited as a Best Book of 2020 on NPR's Weekend Edition. It has been optioned for television adaptation by Fox 21 studios. The author and critic Roxane Gay called his story collection I Am a Magical Teenage Princess one of her favorite books in her 2017 New York Times "By the Book" interview. In addition to his fiction writing career, Luke releases records, clothing, and zines through his Works of Love imprint. His Chick Tract-style defense of The Velvet Underground's Doug Yule has received international acclaim. He is also a collage artist. Luke received his PhD in Creative Writing and Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati and his MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University and has taught writing at the University of Cincinnati, Thomas More University, and the Sewanee Young Writers Conference. He is originally from Appleton, WI. After living in Wichita for 3 years and Cincinnati for 10, Luke returned to his home state and currently resides in Milwaukee.

Photo credit: Phil Armstrong/Mercantile Library

Yalie Saweda Kamara is a Sierra Leonean-American writer, educator, and researcher from Oakland, California. Selected as the 2022-2023 Cincinnati and Mercantile Library Poet Laureate (2-year term), she is the editor of the anthology What You Need to Know About Me: Young Writers on Their Experience of Immigration (The Hawkins Project, 2022) and the author of A Brief Biography of My Name (African Poetry Book Fund/Akashic Books, 2018) and When the Living Sing (Ledge Mule Press, 2017). Kamara has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series competition and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a semifinalist for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She earned a PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Cincinnati, an MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University, Bloomington and an MA in French Culture and Civilization from Middlebury College. Yalie currently resides in Cincinnati where she works as the Director of Creative Youth Leadership at WordPlay Cincy and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati.  


Sara Eliza Johnson

Poetry Reading
September 28, 2022; 6:00 pm EST
In person: Elliston Poetry Room, 646 Langsam Library 
Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/saraelizajohnson

Photograph of Sara Eliza Johnson

Sara Eliza Johnson’s first book, Bone Map, won the 2013 National Poetry Series and was published by Milkweed Editions in 2014. Her second poetry book, Vapor, will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2022. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Boston Review, Copper Nickel, Blackbird, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Best New Poets, DIAGRAM, AGNI, Crazyhorse, and Alaska Quarterly Review, among others. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, a 2010 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a 2009-2010 and 2015-2016 Winter Fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and a 2011 work-study scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as fellowships from the University of Oregon and the University of Utah, where she was a Vice Presidential Fellow in the Literature & Creative Writing PhD program and Managing Editor of Quarterly West. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks.


Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

Fiction Reading 
October 4, 2022; 6:00 pm EST
In person: Elliston Poetry Room, 646 Langsam Library 
Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/bynumreads

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, as well as a story collection, Likes, a finalist for the Story Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New YorkerPloughshares, the O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Best American Short Stories. She lives in Los Angeles. 


Simone Savannah

Poetry Reading
October 13, 2022; 6:00 pm EST
In person: Elliston Poetry Room, 646 Langsam Library 
Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/ssavannah

Simone Savannah, Ph.D. is the author of Uses of My Body (Barrow Street 2020), the winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize chosen by Jericho Brown. She is also the author of Like Kansas (Big Lucks 2018).  Her work has been published in Apogee, The Fem, Powder Keg, GlitterMob, Shade Journal, BreakBeat Poets, and several other journals and anthologies. She has received nominations for Best New Poets and Best of the Net. Simone is originally from Columbus, Ohio. She earned her M.Ed and B.A. from Ohio University. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Kansas. She is currently a Taft Research Center Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Cincinnati.


Jennifer Elise Foerster

Poetry Reading  
October 26, 2022; 6:00 pm EST
In person: Elliston Poetry Room, 646 Langsam Library 
Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/foersterreads

Jennifer Elise Foerster is the author of three books of poetry, The Maybe BirdBright Raft in the Afterweather, and Leaving Tulsa, and served as the Associate Editor of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. She is the recipient of a NEA Creative Writing Fellowship and a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford, holds a PhD in Literary Arts from the University of Denver, and teaches Poetry at the Rainier Writing Workshop among other programs. Foerster grew up living internationally, is of European (German/Dutch) and Mvskoke descent, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She lives in San Francisco.