Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Review, the nationally renowned literary quarterly published continuously at the University of Georgia since 1947, is being honored with a series of events on Feb. 9 and 10 at the Georgia Center for the Book, based at the DeKalb County Public Library in Decatur. All events are open to the public free of charge. No advance registration is necessary. The library is located at 215 Sycamore Street on the Decatur town square.
Poet Margaret Gibson and fiction writer Mary Hood will read from their work in the library auditorium on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. Stephen Corey, acting editor of The Georgia Review, will give a brief history of the journal and moderate a closing question-and-answer period. Books by Gibson and Hood will be available for purchase and signing at the reception that will follow.
A panel made up of Gibson, Hood, Corey, Review assistant editor David Ingle and Review managing editor Mindy Wilson will discuss the nature and importance of literary journals to writers on Feb. 10 at 9:30 a.m. Gibson and Hood will lead parallel discussion of contemporary issues in poetry and fiction writing at 11 a.m.
Gibson, who currently holds the Ferrol Sams Chair at Mercer University, is the author of eight books of poetry, all published by Louisiana State University Press: Autumn Grasses (2003); Icon and Evidence (2001); Earth Elegy: New and Selected Poems (1997); The Vigil: A Poem in Four Voices (1993), a finalist for the National Book Award; Out in the Open (1989); Memories of the Future: The Daybooks of Tina Modotti (1986); Long Walks in the Afternoon (1982), co-winner of the Melville Cane Award of the Poetry Society of America; and Signs (1979), the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Five of her books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Gibson, who is professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, has published poems in numerous anthologies and literary magazines, among them The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, and The Iowa Review. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, a Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fellowship and grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. One Body, her ninth book, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in the fall of 2007.
The National Book Award Committee said of The Vigil that “Margaret Gibson re-inscribes the boundaries of narrative, lyric and meditative poetry.” Peter Matthiessen said Gibson writes “Wonderful strong lyric poems, veined with sharp and striking insights and sure continuities that ground us in the implacability of earth and life, eros and spiritual longing.”
Hood’s short story “Doing This, Saying That, To Applause” appeared in the fall 1978 issue of The Georgia Review and marked the beginning of her publishing career. Five more of her stories appeared in the Review between 1979 and 1986-stories that subsequently came out in her two collections, How Far She Went (1984), winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction from the University of Georgia Press, and And Venus Is Blue (1986). And Venus Is Blue earned both the Townsend Prize for Fiction and the Lillian Smith Book Award, and it led novelist Pat Conroy to say, “Mary Hood is not a good writer, she is a great writer.”
Hood spent most of a decade writing a novel, Familiar Heat (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), about which Doris Betts said, “Mary Hood’s brilliance as a story writer spins here a dozen separate life stories; her brilliance as a novelist makes them converge and glow.”
Hood’s second novel is in the works and her only published stories since And Venus Is Blue have appeared in The Georgia Review: “Virga” (fall 2000) and “Leaving Room” (fall/winter 2006).
Mary Hood was born in Brunswick, Georgia, graduated from Georgia State University, and has lived in various locations around the state including her current residence in Commerce. She has served as writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi, Berry College, Reinhardt College and Centre College of Kentucky.