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Poet Belieu Named Sams Distinguished Writer in Residence

February 21, 2011

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or

MACON – Award-winning poet Erin Belieu has been named the 2011 Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence at Mercer University. In addition to teaching an upper-level seminar in poetry writing, she will present a reading of her poems and will sponsor appearances by fellow writers. The events are free of charge and open to the general public.

Belieu will read from her own poetry Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Choir Rehearsal Room of the Townsend School of Music. She will sponsor a reading by award-winning poet James Kimbrell on March 15 at 7 p.m. also in the Choir Rehearsal Room. Belieu will welcome Diane Roberts, National Public Radio commentator and reviewer and documentary-maker for the BBC, for an appearance on April 11 in the Medical School Auditorium.

Belieu is the author of three books of poems from Copper Canyon Press, winner of the National Poetry Series, co-editor of the anthology The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women, co-founder of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts and director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. She burst on the poetry scene in 1995 when Hayden Carruth chose her first book, Infanta, for the prestigious National Poetry Series. Her follow-up collections have also won awards and praise from critics. One Above & One Below received the Midland Authors and Ohioana prizes in 2001. Black Box was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2007.

“While Belieu has a formidable reputation as a writer, she is also an accomplished teacher of the craft of poetry,” said Dr. Gordon Johnston, associate professor of English and coordinator of the Sams program. “Her students are regular winners of publication prizes and other awards.”

About the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence
Established in 1993, the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence brings a nationally prominent fiction writer, poet or dramatist to Mercer each spring to teach creative writing and highlight the literary arts.  Made possible by a major grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, this endowed chair honors Dr. Ferrol A. Sams Jr., a physician, author and distinguished alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts, whose many works include Run with the Horsemen, The Whisper of the River, and Down Town.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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