S179. The Persona Poem

Ballroom A, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Persona poetry offers poets a way to forge voices more distant and difficult than the casually assumed autobiographical mode. The panel will gather four poets in order to discuss subtle versus overt forms of persona, as well as the choice to write in persona. While persona can be a way to deepen explorations of self and subject, the form often recontextualizes cultural narratives not only to better understand those stories, but also to shed light on our current cultural moment and conflicts.


Justin Bigos is author of the poetry collection Mad River. His work has appeared in publications such as Ploughshares, New England Review, Forklift OH, McSweeney's Quarterly, and The Best American Short Stories 2015. Coeditor of the literary journal Waxwing, he teaches at Northern Arizona University.

Vievee Francis is the author of three poetry collections, Blue-Tail Fly, Horse in the Dark, and Forest Primeval. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry (2010, 2014, 2017) and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, among other places.

Tyehimba Jess's last book, Olio, won the Pulitzer Prize and Anisfield-Wolf. His first book, Leadbelly, won the National Poetry Series. A NEA, Whiting, and Lannan Foundation Award winner, he teaches at College of Staten Island and is poetry/fiction editor for African American Review.

Diane Seuss is the author of three collections of poetry: It Blows You Hollow; Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open; and Four-Legged Girl, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl is forthcoming.

Stacey Lynn Brown is a poet, playwright, and essayist. She is the author of Cradle Song and is the coeditor, with Oliver de la Paz, of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. Her second collection, The Shallows, is forthcoming in 2018. She teaches at IU Bloomington.


March 27–30, 2019
Portland, OR

Oregon Convention Center