Introducing Kim Addonizio

During the second night of February of this year, phenomenal poetess and author Kim Addonizio graced the House of Georgia Southern with her electrifying presence. Addonizio, proud mother-author of two novels, two story collections, two poetry-writing instruction books, and of seven poetry collections, gave public readings of her poetry from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., courtesy of The Department of Writing and Linguistics and The Georgia Poetry Circuit.

Little in stature, but mighty in the word, Addonizio’s presentation was likened to that of lightning: Brilliant. Captivating. Undeniably powerful. As she read to the audience from her latest poetry collection, Mortal Trash (W. W. Norton), she allowed us access into her world. More importantly, into her life, her story, and into the moments that made her become who she is.

Following her readings, she bestowed upon us audience members the opportunity to ask her questions, and to have them answered. When asked about how did she arrive at the position of courage that allowed her to so boldly become raw with her poetry, she responded simply and wonderfully that “this is what literature is about – being human.” She furthermore went onto explain that as writers, or those who aspire to become writers, it is imperative for us to become comfortable with “telling our stories however way we can tell it.” Addonizio mentioned how in poetry, “everything is fair game,” meaning that anything from our lives could be written about, if we so choose.

Lastly, although most importantly, she eloquently reminded us all, myself included, that in order to get anywhere with our writing, we need to “not worry whether people are going to react [or not],” but to mainly do it for ourselves. So that we are using our gifts. So that we are putting our literary treasures out into the world.

Overall, having Kim Addonizio visit Georgia Southern University was an absolute pleasure, and we hope we can have her back here again sometime soon. Addonizio is also the award winner of two Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the NEA, and also from the Guggenheim Foundation. She was a finalist for the National Book Award for her masterful poetry collection Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000). She enjoys teaching and speaking across the country, and internationally.

In addition to her awesomeness, she also a member of the musical group Nonstop Beautiful Ladies, in which she plays the harmonica. May she continue to be so amazing!



Encouragement [Poems] for Writers

For When You Start to Give Up

Remember your accomplishments:

You’ve given life to paper.

Made universes from drops of ink.

Formed souls out of thin air.

Like how the body swirls the blood,

Inside of you swirls Enchantment,


Delicious mystery.

The kind that only you can produce.

The kind that you have shown to produce time and time again.

Why not one more time?

Another Reminder

Are you aware that

Through the glides of your pen

You are infinite

Imagination beats on

Storytellers never die 

Announcing 2017 Powell Creative Writing Awards

Georgia Southern University’s

Department of Writing and Linguistics


2017 Roy F. Powell Awards


Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

Writing Competition


$100 prize in each category

Recognition at Honor Day

A Featured Reading on March 23rd

All Georgia Southern University students are eligible


Deadline for submission: February 20, 2017 @4pm

email to:



The Rules:

  1. The competition is open to all Georgia Southern University students.


  1. You may enter any or all categories by submitting
  2. three poems, and/or
  3. one short story no longer than 1300 words, and/or

c .  one creative nonfiction piece no longer than 1300 words


  1. All entries must be original and unpublished.


  1. All entries must be typewritten. Poetry should be single-spaced; fiction and creative nonfiction must be double spaced.


  1. Submit entries as an email attachment (doc., docx., or pdf) to:

In the body of your email include your name, email address, phone number, and the category (or categories) of your submission—poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction

For poetry, submit the three poems as a single file

If you enter in more than one category, attach each category as a separate file


  1. All entries must be received by 4:00 pm, Monday, February 20th, 2017. Winners will be notified by March 10th and will read from their award-winning work the evening of March 23rd   


Why Writing is Good Stuff

Sometimes Creative Writing gets a bad reputation. More than likely we have heard how pursuing a writing degree (or any liberal arts degree) is not a worthy cause, and that those foolish enough to enter will be heading towards a fruitless future. However, despite what has been said, there are actually good things to come out of being a writer.  

For one, it is through the process of writing that we refine our communication skills. Without knowing how to efficiently communicate with one another, we cannot expect to succeed as a society or even as a world.

Secondly, the more that we write, the better we are able to make meaning out of the events happening in our communities, societies, and in the world around us. It is through the outward observation of the state of affairs occurring here on planet Earth, as well as the inward exploration of the affairs happening within ourselves, that we can acquire the material needed to form our stories and understand our lives.

Thirdly, when we are writing, we are sharing our knowledge, our thoughts, our emotions, and other valuable parts about ourselves or perspectives. By doing this, we may come across numerous similarities among each other, which can lead us to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, we’re not as different as we had previously thought. As a result, we are better able to understand our own human nature, along with those of our neighbors.  

It is also through the process of writing that we are able to yank our imaginations from out of our minds, and lay them out for ourselves and for our fellow humans to observe. When we do this, we invite others, and the entire world, into our worlds. We allow them to dabble in homelands built out of our fantasies, and to explore and adopt lives to which we have given birth. When we produce our stories, whether we are aware of it or not, we are in agreement with the truth that we are world-creators; that we are earth-shakers; mystics with the pen.  By sharing ourselves like this, we are giving our planet a mighty and irreplaceable gift.

To write means to connect with ourselves and others.  To write means to seek understanding and meaning in our lives. To write means to have fun with our imaginations. To be a writer means to leave the world a little better than how we found it.

As a side note: the Department of Writing and Linguistics here at Georgia Southern is home to an abundance of classes, and a treasure-trove of professors whose desire is to push and inspire students to be the best writers they can be. Come and see us sometime!

Awards, Awards, Awards!

On January 26, the Brannen Creative Writing Award and Georgia High School Writing Contest winners were recognized.

Firstly recognized were the 2017 Georgia High School Writing Contest winners. The Georgia High School Writing Contest, which is sponsored by the SUPER-amazing Department of Writing and Linguistics, rewards the best high school creative writing in the state of Georgia. Highly competitive, but without bloodshed, our winners were announced and honored handsomely throughout last night. 

The 2017 judges for the Fiction and Poetry category were Professor Jared Yates Sexton, and Professor Claire Nelson, respectively.

Winning out the Fiction category, Briana Hayes gifted us with a dynamic and fiery reading of her short story.

Claiming her rightful place as a poetry-writer, Bianka Ortega delivered her piece in a lovely, soft-spoken tone.

Congratulations, you wonderful writer-beings!!

The Brannen Creative Awards, begun by the amazing George Brannen, rewards writers who are either writing majors, minors or are in the Bachelor of General Studies Program, with a concentration of writing. The 2017 judges for the Fiction, Poetry, and Non-fiction categories were Professor Laura Valeri, Professor Christina Olson, and Professor Benjamin Drevlow, respectively.

The winner of the Fiction Category was Tonya Richardson, who reeled us all in for an emotional reading of her based-off-a-true-story piece, Saints’ Row.

Tralen Rhone, won out the Poetry Category with his beautifully well-written piece.

Danae Hildebrandt took the throne of the Non-fiction category with her heavy, yet touching true story of living with an alcoholic parent.

Wonderful job to you all! Thank you for putting your best foot (and pens!) forward to make GSU proud!

Special thanks to:

  • George Brannen
  • Dr. Ban Bauer
  • Miss Pat Byrd
  • Prof. Benjamin Drevlow
  • Prof. Claire Nelson
  • Prof. Christina Olson
  • Prof. Jared Yates Sexton
  • Miss Bettye Stewart
  • The Department of Writing and Linguistics
  • The great souls who showed us their work! May you all go on to do marvelous things!

Congratulations, Students.

Please congratulate Writing Honors students, Lauren Gagnon, Maggie DeLisle, and Summer Kurtz on their acceptance to the Honors GURC Conference in Milledgeville, GA next month! Their panel,  “Intertwining Fiction with Reality: How Research Informs Creative Writing,” will explore the research methods of oral interview, archival work, and medical research and how they inform poetry and fiction.


If you can go, the conference is next weekend, in Milledgeville, GA from Friday, November 4th and 5th. If not, be sure to give them a “thumbs up” for this great work on writing process and research!!


Kudos too to their collaborative Honors Thesis mentors, Christina Olson, Jared Sexton, and Lisa Costello.

Calls for Submission


We’re passing on this information that was sent to us from Driftwood Press.

Dear students and faculty,

John Updike once said, “Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.” At Driftwood Press, we are actively searching for artists who care about doing it right, or better. We are excited to receive your submissions and will diligently work to bring you the best in literary criticism, short fiction, poetry, graphic narrative, photography, art, and interviews. We’re partial towards prose poetry and stream of consciousness prose, but open to all literary genres and styles.

We currently offer a premium one week response time for an additional fee, as well as the opportunity for all accepted artists to participate in interviews, which are published alongside their work. Many of our writers also go on to become guest editors for our publication.

We’re looking forward to reading your work!

Click here for a link to our latest issue.

Creative Accomplishments

Once again, the semester is a wrap-up; teachers and students have completed finals and are now ready to join family and friends for the holiday celebrations.

After all the stress of semester’s end, here are some reasons to lift that cup of egg nog and yell “Cheers!”

Our 2016 Harbuck Scholarship finalist Barbara Jayne McGaugheny and finalistis Aleyna Rentz, Jennifer Maldonado, and Jenna Lancaster celebrated their recognition with author Amanda Ward for the Harbuck 2016 reading in September. In October, they met and had lunch with our guest author, award winning writer, filmmaker and poet MK Asante, whom we’d brought here on a special grant through South Arts, in partnership with the NEA, and the Georgia Southern College Life Enrichment Committee.

Senior Morgan Davis saw her first publication for a story titled “Progress” a flash piece about eating disorders.  Have a look at If And Only If, the elegant e-journal that published her work this October.  Morgan will also be interviewing award-winning writer Sandra Beasley for this upcoming issue of Wraparound South.

Bryce Knight, another W&L major, had a story accepted in Stymie magazine, coming soon.

green christmas ballAnd junior Aleyna Rentz adds yet another notch to her publication belt by placing her fiction piece, “A Mean Heart” with Deep South Magazine.

This Fall 2015 also said goodbye to two accomplished and ultra-creative W&L majors Courtney Causey and Jennifer Maldonado.  Congratulations, girls!

A good round of applause is also due to alumna Amanda Malone for being nominated this Fall for the celebrated Pushcart prize for her fiction piece, “He’s All Humanity,” which appeared in Cheap Pop in April.

Last, but not least, our alumni Cassie Beasley is now officially a  New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice author for her first novel, an MG page-turner titled Circus Mirandus.

Better still, Cassie’s book just made the New York Times Best Seller list for Middle Grade books for readers 9-12.  Wow, Cassie.  We’re inspired.

The College Life Enrichment Committee has also approved a grant to bring Cassie back to Georgia Southern for a day.  She will be teaching a one day workshop in Young Adult writing, giving some young writers advice on writing careers, and giving a reading and book signing right here in our Statesboro campus in February or early March. Stay tuned for the dates or contact Dr. Terry Welford for more information.

Congratulations W&L students and alumni. Your success makes us proud to teach here, and we wish you all the best for many years to come.  I know that we’ll soon hear plenty more publication news from those who took classes here with us in the Writing & Linguistics Department at Georgia Southern, so if you didn’t get mentioned, don’t fret: we believe in you and know that soon we will hear all about your success.

Cheers.  And Happy Holidays.