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 With his untimely passing, Whitehead left a large body of work unpublished.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.