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Celebrated Guest Writers Visit Lincoln University of Missouri

Jenny Schaben | May 1st, 2023

Lincoln University of Missouri (LU) hosted a two-part event on Thursday, April 13, with notable guest writers Georgia Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn and poet James Davis May.

During The Workshops & Conversation event, Rathburn and May shared some of their favorite poems with participants, spoke on various literary elements within them and discussed the all-too-important topic of revision.

Event organizer and LU’s associate professor of English Elijah Burrell commented afterward, “They are such wonderful poets and teachers — and they connected with our students immediately. Their visiting lecture was one of the most helpful and interesting I’ve seen delivered.”


The event concluded that evening with the 2023 Spring Reading Series held in Scruggs University Center Ballroom. Rathburn and May read from their most recent books to an audience of over 70 attendees. Burrell celebrated both authors for their talent, creativity and achievements during the event.

Burrell further stated that he believes Rathburn’s newest collection, Still Life with Mother and Knife (2019), “is one of the best books of poetry I’ve read in a long time. I can say this about it and the gems in this book, too—it has not left my desk, coffee table or side since I bought it. Not stuck on a shelf somewhere but always within arm’s reach.”

Rathburn is the author of three poetry collections. Her most recent work, Still Life with Mother and Knife (2019), was listed by the New York Times as “New & Noteworthy.” Her first collection, The Shifting Line, won the 2005 Richard Wilbur Award. Her second collection, A Raft of Grief, was published in 2013. In March 2019, Rathburn was recognized for her esteemed writing and appointed Georgia’s poet laureate, the official poet chosen to represent the state.

May is the author of Unusually Grand Ideas (2023) and Unquiet Things (2016), named runner-up for the Georgia Author of the Year Award in poetry. He has received scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Inprint, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar. He teaches English at Mercer University in Georgia and directs the creative writing program.

Lincoln University’s Department of Humanities and Communications sponsored this program of events. For more information on this event or the creative writing program, please contact Mr. Elijah Burrell at

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