MFA English Program

University of Mississippi

Summer Poet in Residence (SPIR)


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

2018 SPiR: DéLana R.A. Dameron

DéLana R.A. Dameron

DéLana R.A. Dameron

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, DéLana R.A. Dameron is a writer and arts & culture administrator living in Brooklyn, NY. Dameron’s second collection of poems Weary Kingdom (2017) is part of the University of South Carolina Palmetto Poetry Series, edited by Nikky Finney. Her debut collection How God Ends Us (2009) was selected by Elizabeth Alexander for the 2008 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, and was a finalist for the 2009 Foreword Review Book of the Year. Dameron holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has conducted readings, workshops and lectures all across the United States, Central America and Europe. As a culture maker and arts administrator, Dameron founded Red Olive Creative Consulting in 2013 and brings over a decade of experience in non-profit fundraising and program development in the areas of arts & culture and education. In addition to consulting for small and mid-sized arts & culture organizations towards building capacity and sustainability, Dameron is the founder of Black Art Futures Fund, and serves on the Board of Directors of Alice James Books.

Click HERE to check out one of DéLana’s poems!           

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:

Nadia Alexis, Summer Poet in Residence Administrator
Department of English
Leavell Hall 101
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677-1848