From, About James T. Whitehead
Poems, Stories, Photographs, and Recollections
Edited by Michael Burns
Photographs by Bruce West
“I have relished Jim’s poetry and consider Joiner
to be one of the South’s best novels. He meant a lot
to me, and I’m grateful for his friendship.”
—President Jimmy Carter
“I know Jim is more present in death than most people
ever are in life. All those ways he had of feeding us—‘Fennelly,
have you read Milton?’ he’d demand; ‘you
of all people need Milton,’ and he of course was right—all
of those ways he fed us have become part of us, embodied and
alive in us. . . . He gave himself to us, and if we went on
to become writers, he writes through us.”
—Beth Ann Fennelley, author of Unmentionables: Poems
When James T. Whitehead (or “Big Jim,” as friends
knew him) passed away in 2003, Fayetteville and the University
of Arkansas lost one of its finest poets and beloved teachers.
In 1965, Whitehead joined with his friend William Harrison
to found the University’s Creative Writing Program.
He taught in that nationally prestigious program for the next
thirty-four years, from 1965 to 1999. He was a recipient of
a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a Robert Frost Fellowship
in poetry. Whitehead’s novel, Joiner,
was listed among the New York Times’ Noteworthy
Books of 1971. His many poetry collections include Domains
(1967), Local Men (1979), and Near at Hand
(1993). With his untimely passing, Whitehead left a large
body of work unpublished.
In this anthology of original poetry, short fiction, essays,
and remembrances, twenty-four of Whitehead’s colleagues,
students, and friends join in celebrating the man’s
life and contribution to American letters. Included are posthumous
works by Whitehead himself: six poems, an excerpt of creative
nonfiction, and a draft-excerpt from Coldstream, projected
sequel to Joiner.
Jimmy Carter, Miller Williams, Bill Harrison, Barry Hannah,
Dave Smith, Beth Ann Fennelley, Lewis Nordan, C. D. Wright,
Leon Stokesbury, R. S. Gwynn, John Dufresne, Jo McDougall,
Michael Heffernan, Donald S. Hays, Van K. Brock, W. D. Blackmon,
Josh Capps, Steve Yates, Nancy A. Williams, William Harrison,
MD, Robert Pomeroy, Harold McDuffie, John N. Marr, and Kathleen
W. Paulson, MD.
is emeritus professor of English at Missouri State University
where he taught creative writing, and the author of a number
of books, including the poetry collection, It
Will Be All Right in the Morning.
Bruce West is
professor in the Department of Art and Design at Missouri
State University. For the past fourteen years, his photography
has documented the rural landscape and culture of the Mississippi
6 x 9, 156 pages, 16 photographs
ISBN 978-0-913785-15-7 | 0-913785-15-6
Distributed for Moon City Press.