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Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series: Nickole Brown & Jessica Jacobs

Nickole Brown



Nickole Brown received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for ten years. Her first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was first published in 2007 by Red Hen Press and a new edition was reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018. Her second book, a biography-in-poems called Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015, and the audio book of that collection became available in 2017. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches periodically at a number of places, including the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program, the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, and the Hindman Settlement School.

She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, North Carolina, where she volunteers at three different animal sanctuaries. Currently, she’s at work on a bestiary of sorts about these animals, but it won’t consist of the kind of pastorals that always made her (and most of the working-class folks she knows) feel shut out of nature and the writing about it—these poems speak in a queer, Southern-trash-talking kind of way about nature beautiful, but damaged and dangerous. The first of these new poems won Rattle's Chapbook Contest with the publication of To Those Who Were Our First Gods in 2018. A second chapbook from this project, an essay-in-poems called The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry in January 2020. With Jessica Jacobs, she is the co-author of Write It, a collection of writing prompts from Spruce Books, an imprint of Penguin/Random House.


"Nickole Brown creates a new language for our relationships with non-human animals. Her poems are founded on fully embodied listening and yield insights that unify mind, body, and emotions. At a time when such inner and outer connections are too often severed, her poems show us the possibility of wholeness." 

—David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and the Pulitzer-finalist The Forest Unseen


"Brown is a savior of wild creatures, a lover of animals, an angel in waiting, a rescuer, a story teller."

Washington Independent Review of Books (January 2019 Examplars, Grace Cavalieri)


“We no longer live lives close to those necessary others who are here with us, the animals, and so there is in us a great lack—of wisdom, of empathy, of attention. For this, Nickole Brown's book-length poem The Donkey Elegies might well be first remedy. With great wisdom and empathy, and with exquisite attention to history, culture, language, gender, memory, and the beautiful, weary world about us, Brown allows us to truly see and for a blessed moment be with that most humble of beasts, and in so doing she challenges us to turn to the holinesses in our own worlds, to hold them close—closer yet.”


Jessica Jacobs


Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), named one of Library Journal‘s Best Poetry Books of the year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University and the Goldie Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, Eric Hoffer, and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, was an Over the Rainbow selection by the American Library Association and a finalist for the Lambda Literary and Julie Suk Awards. Her chapbook In Whatever Light Left to Us was published by Sibling Rivalry Press.


Jacobs holds an M.F.A. from Purdue University, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of Sycamore Review, and a B.A. from Smith College. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including Orion, Ploughshares, Image, and New England Review. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock-climbing instructor, bartender, and professor—leading workshops around the country and teaching for Hendrix College, UNC-Wilmington’s MFA program, and Writing Workshops in Greece, among other programs—and now serves as the Chapbook Editor of Beloit Poetry Journal.

She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she has co-authored Write It!, a collection of writing prompts from Spruce Books, an imprint of Penguin/Random House.


She is currently at work on parallel collections of essays and poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash.


ABOUT Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going


“All great love stories deserve to be written down for history's sake. With Take Me with You, Wherever You're Going, Jessica Jacobs gives us an intimate, sensual, desirous book full of real life hardships and an epic love story of surrender and survival. Rooted in landscape and written with a rich lyrical line, these gorgeous poems pay necessary homage to what truly matters.”

—Ada Limón, The Carrying


“From the murky waters of Florida to a rolling blackout in New York City to the windblown fields of the Midwest, Jessica Jacobs refuses to ‘confine our darkness to the dark,’ expertly illuminating the mysterious topographies of love, desire, and longing. Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going is a collection whose title suggests—and whose pages deliver—an evocative journey. Though, by the time you’re done, you’ll likely want to stay right where you are: in the vision of this gifted poet, in the glow of these stunning poems.”

—Matthew Olzmann, Contradictions in the Design




“[I]t’s time to give yourself a gift or maybe share this lovely volume with your daughter, son, cousin, best pal, teacher, or next-door neighbor. Why not? Why keep talking yourself out of lines you might write? We’ve all read so many fascinating texts this past year and have had more than enough complicated thoughts. Write It! might be one of the friendliest poetry tool kits/notebooks ever. … Readers will learn about writers and quotations, multiple perspectives, possibilities, and tactics while feeling deeply befriended all the way. Who knows where you might go? I plan to write on every page.”

—Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate

Author Talk

Thursday, April 27

Craft Talk: TBD
Reading: 6-7:30pm
Book sales will follow each event.

Plemmons Student Union 201B, Table Rock Room

Susan Weinberg at

Library Holdings


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Breanne Crumpton