Award-Winning Poet Taylor Byas to Read from Her Works March 4 at Monmouth College


A public reading will be one of the highlights of a visit to Monmouth College’s campus by award-winning poet Taylor Byas.

Byas will read from her works at 4:30 p.m. March 4 on the upper floor of Hewes Library, outside the Len G. Everett Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Among her readings will be work from I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times, winner of the 2023 Maya Angelou Book Award and the 2023 Chicago Review of Books Award in Poetry. Copies of that book and her other works will be available for sale at the reading.

In addition to her book awards, Byas was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Super Highway and the 2020 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets. The next year, she claimed the Adrienne Rich Poetry Prize.

While on campus, the Chicago native will also meet with students from a pair of Monmouth’s English classes: “Introduction to Literary Studies” and “Advanced Creative Writing (Poetry).”

“Our students benefit so much when writers visit campus,” said English professor David Wright. “We get to recognize that the work we read has a life before and beyond the page. Real human beings make these poems and stories. And Taylor Byas’ poetry shows how working and re-working traditional poetic forms can make sense out of, and beauty out of, her very particular upbringing in Chicago, a territory familiar to many of our students.”

Wright also expressed how wonderful it is to have students outside of the English major experience a poet with Byas’ depth and breadth.

Byas grew up on Chicago’s South Side before moving to Alabama, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She went on to earn a doctorate in creative writing from the University of Cincinnati.

Now living in Cincinnati, Byas is a features editor for The Rumpus, an acquisitions poetry editor for Variant Literature, a member of the Beloit Poetry Journal Editorial Board, and a 2023-24 National Book Critics Emerging Fellow.

Byas has published two chapbooks and is co-editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol X: Alabama and Poemhood: Our Black Revival, a young adult anthology on Black folklore.

***Courtesy of Barry McNamara, Monmouth College***

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