Beth Ann Fennelly

Acclaimed Poet
Essay & Nonfiction Writer

Readings & Lecture Topics

• An Evening with Beth Ann Fennelly

“Fennelly’s poems invite you into the delicate balance between the challenging, sometimes squalid, human condition and the beauty and sadness of the transcendent.” –The Rumpus

“Sleek, delightful.” –Kirkus Review

Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Beth Ann has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, all with W. W. Norton. She is also the author of 3 books of prose: Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother, a collection of essays; The Tilted World, a novel co-authored with her husband Tom Franklin; and her newest collection Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-memoirs, “Beth Ann Fennelly’s genre-defying collection is so engaging and readable that you won’t even notice how much you’re learning about confronting the hardest challenge we all share: being human. Wise, irreverent, funny, the pieces—ranging from one sentence to a few pages—condense Fennelly’s life into singularly precise, powerful moments. Collectively, however, they become a living, breathing entity with which you will have many pleasant but deep conversations about your own life. Everyone should read this book.”

Beth Ann has won grants and awards from the NEA, the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Beth Ann’s poetry has been in over fifty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1996, 2005, and 2006, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Poets of the New Century, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet.

A contributing editor to The Oxford American, she also writes freelance on travel, culture, and design for many magazines. Recent nonfiction awards include the Orlando Award in Nonfiction from A Room of Her Own, the Lamar York Prize from The Chattachoochee Review and the Porter Fleming Award for Excellence in the Essay. She’s the first woman honored with the University of Notre Dame’s Distinguished Alumni in the Arts Award.

Beth Ann lives with her husband and their three children, Anna Claire, Thomas and Nolan, in Oxford, Mississippi.

Beth Ann Fennelly’s website.

Beth Ann Fennelly has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, all with W. W. Norton. She is also the author of 3 books of prose: Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother, a collection of essays; The Tilted World, a novel co-authored with her husband Tom Franklin; and her newest collection Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs. Beth Ann’s poetry has been in over fifty anthologies, including Best American Poetry, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Poets of the New Century, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

HEATING & COOLING (Memoir, 2017)
The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating & Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys. Some pieces are wistful, some wry, and many reveal the humor buried in our everyday interactions. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments, and awakens us to these moments as they appear in the margins of our lives.

THE TILTED WORLD (Novel, 2014)
In 1927, as rains swell the Mississippi, the river threatens to burst its banks and engulf everything in its path, including the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, where federal agents Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson arrive to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents—and find a baby boy abandoned in the middle of a crime scene.

Ingersoll finds a home for the infant with local woman Dixie Clay Holliver, unaware that she’s the best bootlegger in the county and has many tender and consequential secrets of her own.

The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love.

GREAT WITH CHILD: LETTERS TO A YOUNG MOTHER (Essay, 2007)

“May be the best book ever to give for a baby shower.”―Tampa Tribune

Beth Ann Fennelly, writing to a newly pregnant friend, goes beyond the nuts and bolts or sentimentality of other parenting literature, in letters that range in tone from serious to sisterly, from lighthearted to downright funny. Some answer specific questions; others muse about the identity shift a woman encounters when she enters Mommyland. This book invites all mothers to join the grand circle of giving and receiving advice about children.

TENDER HOOKS  (Poetry, 2005)
Beth Ann Fennelly is fearless in delineating the joys, absorptions, and―yes―jealousies of new motherhood. Having studied motherhood “as if for an exam,” reality proved “wilder and deeper and funnier” than anything she’d anticipated. Tender Hooks is Fennelly’s spirited exploration of parenting, with all its contradictions and complexities.