About this book
When James T. Whitehead (or “Big Jim,” as friends knew him) passed away in 2003, Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas lost one of its finest poets and beloved teachers. In 1965, Whitehead joined with his friend William Harrison to found the University’s Creative Writing Program. He taught in that nationally prestigious program for the next thirty-four years, from 1965 to 1999. He was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a Robert Frost Fellowship in poetry. Whitehead’s novel, Joiner, was listed among the New York Times’ Noteworthy Books of 1971. His many poetry collections include Domains (1967), Local Men (1979), and Near at Hand (1993). With his untimely passing, Whitehead left a large body of work unpublished.
In this anthology of original poetry, short fiction, essays, and remembrances, twenty-four of Whitehead’s colleagues, students, and friends join in celebrating the man’s life and contribution to American letters. Included are posthumous works by Whitehead himself: six poems, an excerpt of creative nonfiction, and a draft-excerpt from Coldstream, projected sequel to Joiner.
Contributors: President Jimmy Carter, Miller Williams, Bill Harrison, Barry Hannah, Dave Smith, Beth Ann Fennelley, Lewis Nordan, C. D. Wright, Leon Stokesbury, R. S. Gwynn, John Dufresne, Jo McDougall, Michael Heffernan, Donald S. Hays, Van K. Brock, W. D. Blackmon, Josh Capps, Steve Yates, Nancy A. Williams, William Harrison, MD, Robert Pomeroy, Harold McDuffie, John N. Marr, and Kathleen W. Paulson, MD.
About the contributors
Michael Burns is emeritus professor of English at Missouri State University where he taught creative writing, and the author of a number of books, including the poetry collection, It Will Be All Right in the Morning.
Bruce West is professor in the Department of Art and Design at Missouri State University. For the past fourteen years, his photography has documented the rural landscape and culture of the Mississippi Delta.
“I have relished Jim’s poetry and consider Joiner to be one of the South’s best novels. He meant a lot to me, and I’m grateful for his friendship.”
—President Jimmy Carter
“I know Jim is more present in death than most people ever are in life. All those ways he had of feeding us—‘Fennelly, have you read Milton?’ he’d demand; ‘you of all people need Milton,’ and he of course was right—all of those ways he fed us have become part of us, embodied and alive in us. . . . He gave himself to us, and if we went on to become writers, he writes through us.”
—Beth Ann Fennelley, author of Unmentionables: Poems
Distributed for Moon City Press.