Pellissippi State hosts award-winning poets to celebrate National Poetry Month

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Photo of woman looking to left with sunglasses on and resting her chin on her hand.
Poet Marilyn Kallet

Her “Fireflies” poem has been read for listeners by Garrison Keillor, the popular public radio personality.

His first book of poems, “Elegy on Independence Day,” was awarded the prestigious Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.

Collectively, poets Marilyn Kallet and Arthur Smith have published more than 20 books and have received numerous awards. On April 10, the two are special guests of Pellissippi State Community College, where they will read from selected works as the college celebrates National Poetry Month.

Though their poetic styles differ, Kallet and Smith have much in common. Both are English professors at the University of Tennessee, where Kallet also serves as the director of the Creative Writing Program. And, they both have newly released collections: Kallet’s “The Love That Moves Me” was released this month, and Smith’s “The Fortunate Era” has been available since February.

Kallet, the author of personal essays, translations, and children’s books, has been a featured poet in “Prairie Schooner,” “New Letters,” “Denver Quarterly,” and other publications. In 2010, The New York Times paired her “Fireflies” poem with an environmental story of a firefly research project in its weekly “Poetry Pairing” series.

In addition to her duties at UT, Kallet also teaches poetry workshops in Auvillar, France, for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Photo of older man in black turtleneck, with a gray suit jacket and glasses. He also has short hair with a gray goatee and is looking forward and smiling.
Poet Arthur Smith

A Pushcart Prize recipient, Smith has published his poetry in “The New Yorker,” “The Nation,” “The Kenyon Review,” “Hunger Mountain” and other outlets. He is a 1984 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a highly competitive fellowship that honors the best among American writers.

Smith’s poetry collections are released through his longtime publisher, Carnegie Mellon University Press. He has served as an English professor at the University of Tennessee since 1986.

National Poetry Month, established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, takes place each year in April. Organizations around the world celebrate poetry with readings, festivals, workshops, book signings and other special events.

The National Poetry Month event is one component of Pellissippi State’s arts series, “The Arts at Pellissippi State.” The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fines arts. The poetry event is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s English Department.

Readings by Kallet and Smith take place 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium at the Hardin Valley Campus. Attendance is free. Both poets will conduct a book signing of their newest releases after the event, and books will be available for purchase.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or