University of Mississippi

SPIR: Summer Poet in Residence


Thank you for your interest in the Summer Poet in Residence (SPiR) at the University of Mississippi. The residency supports a poet who desires a quiet, beautiful location in which to further his or her work, and it lasts four weeks, from June 15 to July 15

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Beth Ann Fennelly introducing Josh Kyrah at his Square Books reading. Photo by Gaetano Catelli.


In the summer of 1999, I was awarded a Summer Residency from the University of Arizona Poetry Center and I lived for a month in the charming “poet’s house” on the UA campus. In the years since, I’ve reflected on what a special opportunity that was. Here at the University of Mississippi, we’ve been able to establish a similar residency in the hopes that other writers could receive similar nourishment and support.

—-Beth Ann Fennelly, Director


   2014 SpiR: Mark Wagenaar 

Author Photo Plaid Tie                                                 

Mark Wagenaar is the 2013 winner of the James Wright Poetry Prize, the Poetry International Prize, & the Yellowwood Poetry Prize, as well as runner-up in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize and the Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize. His debut manuscript, Voodoo Inverso, was the 2012 winner of the University of Wisconsin Press’ Felix Pollak Prize. His poems appear widely, and recent acceptances or publications include the New Yorker, Shenandoah, Field, Image, Ninth Letter, Tin House, the Florida Review, Washington Square, Sou’wester, The Pinch, and Blackbird. He and his wife, poet Chelsea Wagenaar, are doctoral fellows at the University of North Texas in Denton. He can be found on Twitter @MarkGWagenaar.

Click HERE to read one of Mark’s poems!

Please come to Mark’s reading Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 5p.m. at Off Square Books.


Associate Professor of Art, Jan Murray, reveals an author’s broadside of Previous SPiRs.

Previous SPiRs


Eligibility Requirements

The residency is designed for poets who have at least one full length book (either published or under contract) and no more than two books.  Chapbooks are not full length books.  Eligible poets are encouraged to apply.

Housing and Accommodations

The SpiR receives housing, a travel reimbursement, and an honorarium of $3,000 thanks to the generosity of The Department of EnglishThe College of Liberal Arts, and the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. In addition, the SPiR will receive ten broadsides of his or her work, designed by Jan Murray.


The residency is designed to provide ample writing time to the SPiR while also allowing the University of Mississippi’s summer course offerings to be enriched by the presence of a active poet on campus.To this end, the SPiR will be involved in the campus community and the University of Mississippi MFA program by giving a poetry reading and making 1-2 class visits a week.  The SpiR will also be invited to serve as judge for the Yalobusha Review’s Yellowwood Poetry Prize.  As judge, the SPiR will be given ten finalist poems by the editorial staff and will select the winner and any honorable mentions.


To apply, please send by January 15:

  1. a ten-page work sample.
  2. a resume that includes the names and contact information of three recommenders. Please don’t send separate letters of recommendation; merely include on your resume the names and contact information of three recommenders.
  3. a letter of intent. In your letter, you may address why the residency would be helpful to you at this juncture in your career, and what kind of class visits you’d like to make.
  4. a self-addressed, stamped envelope for notification of the winner.

There is no cost to apply. Applications will be judged by Beth Ann Fennelly and Ann Fisher-Wirth. They must be postmarked by January 15th and sent to:

Beth Ann Fennelly, SPiR Director
Department of English
Bondurant Hall C-135
P. O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-1848