Beth Ann Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly Poems

You need no other name for us than that.
The good folk of Old Taylor Road
know who you mean. We are
the renters, hoarders of bloated boxes,

His drinking was different in sunshine,
as if it couldn't be bad. Sudden, manic,
he swung into a laugh, bought me
two ice creams, said One for each hand.

Kudzu sallies into the gully
like a man pulling up a chair
where a woman was happily dining alone.
Kudzu sees a field of cotton,

You ask me for a poem about love
in place of a wedding present, trying to save me
money. For three nights I've lain

People look at my baby and wonder whom she favors. Because she doesn't look like me, they decide she looks like her father. I nod. I nod and nod. But really she favors the great dead one. My own bad Dad. She favors him,

Beth Ann Fennelly Biography

Beth Ann Fennelly (born May 22, 1971) is an American poet and prose writer. She was born in New Jersey and raised in Lake Forest, Illinois. She earned a BA magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1993. After graduation, taught English for a year in a coal mining village on the Czech/Polish border. She later earned an MFA from the University of Arkansas, followed by the Diane Middlebrook Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin. She taught poetry at Knox College for two years. Since 2001, she's taught poetry and non-fiction at the University of Mississippi, where she directs the MFA Program. She's won several teaching awards, including Outstanding Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year (2011) and The University of Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year (2011). Fennelly's first collection of poems, Open House, won multiple awards, including the Zoo Press Poetry Prize, the 2001 Kenyon Review Prize, the Great Lakes Colleges Association Award, and a Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Pick. Her poems have been included in numerous anthologies, including three editions of The Best American Poetry. She received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts in 2002 and she has also won a Pushcart Prize. In 2009, she received a Fulbright grant to Brazil to study the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. Her second and third books of poetry, Tender Hooks (2004) and Unmentionables (2008), were published by W. W. Norton. Fennelly is a contributor to The Oxford American, where her essays frequently feature the topics of Southern food, music, and books. Her essays have appeared in Poets & Writers, Ecotone, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. The Society of American Travel Writers awarded her the Lowell Prize for her work in Southern Living. She published a book of essays, Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother, in 2006. Most recently, Fennelly and her husband, Tom Franklin, co-authored a novel, The Tilted World, set during the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River. Published in 2013 by HarperCollins, it was named an IndieNext Great Read and a finalist for the 2014 SIBA Book Award. Six foreign editions are forthcoming. She is married to novelist Tom Franklin and they have three children. They live in Oxford, Mississippi.)

The Best Poem Of Beth Ann Fennelly

We Are The Renters

You need no other name for us than that.
The good folk of Old Taylor Road
know who you mean. We are
the renters, hoarders of bloated boxes,
foam peanuts. When the Welcome Wagon
of local dogs visits our garbage,
we're not sure which houses to yell at. So
what if we leave the cans there a bit too long.
We have white walls, a beige futon, orange
U-Haul on retainer, checks with low numbers.
Scheming to get our security deposit back, nail holes
are spackled with toothpaste. Ooops, our modifiers
dangle. Our uncoiled hoses dangle, but the weeds
in our gutters do not, they grow tall,
they are Renters' Weeds, they are unafraid.
An old black one-speed leans against the carport.
So what. Maybe we were thinking about riding
past these houses with posters for Republican governors.
We have posters too: Garage Sale. 'Can I hel—'
'No, just looking.' We are just looked at, we renters.
Are we coming soon to your neighborhood?
We're the ones without green thumbs,
with too many references, the ones
whose invitation to the block party
must have gotten lost in the mail. If we're still here
come winter, tell the postman not to bother
searching our nameless mailbox for his Christmas check.

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