College of Arts and Humanities

Visiting Writers Series returns with emerging Southern poet


The English Department’s Visiting Writers Series returns this spring with a discussion featuring Southern poet and photographer A.H. Jerriod Avant.

Avant, the 2024-25 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, will read from his debut poetry collection titled “Muscadine” on Tuesday, April 16, beginning at 5 p.m. in Room 106 of the Watt Family Innovation Center.

The work emphasizes the resilience and power of Black Southern voices in memorializing the past and embracing the present, loaded with evocative imagery. Avant has been featured in the “Boston Review,” “Pinwheel,” “Callaloo,” “Virginia Quarterly Review,” “The Yale Review” and other journals.

Attendees can expect to hear a good bit about familial relationships, grief and loss, the South and southern landscapes, the emotion conveyed through the sonics of poetry, dialect. Who knows what else may come up in our conversation


After the reading, the English Department’s Writer-in-Residence Desiree C. Bailey will hold an informative conversation with Avant and accept audience questions. The event will close with a book signing.

 “I was trying to get to South Carolina when the book came out in September 2023, but the plans fell through on my end,” Avant said. “When Desiree reached out and invited me, I was ecstatic because we are friends and poets.”

Bailey called Avant a “fantastic poet who sings the complex intimacies of home.”

“I’m moved by his rending of the Mississippi landscape, how he celebrates local ways of speaking and seeing,” she said. “Jerriod makes it look easy, but this kind of work is rigorous, requiring a near, if not total transformation of the self. We have so much to learn from this stellar poet, photographer and scholar, and I’m excited for him to share his poems and process with us.

“Jerriod has been particularly invested in touring the South and I know the Clemson community will appreciate his love for and attention to the region.”

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