poem index


James Kimbrell

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James Kimbrell was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1967. He earned an MFA from the University of Virginia and a PhD from the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he was awarded two Academy of American Poets Prizes. In 1993 he received a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, followed by the “Discovery”/ The Nation Award in 1997. His debut collection, The Gatehouse Heaven, was selected by Charles Wright as the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 1998.

He is also the author of Smote (Sarabande Books, 2015), My Psychic (Sarabande Books, 2006) and Three Poets of Modern Korea: Yi Sang, Hahm Dong-Seon and Choi Young-Mi, which he co-translated with Yu Jung-Yul (Sarabande Books, 2002). The author Robert Olen Butler noted that Smote “is a book of the dark reality of our daily existence; it is a book of abiding grace.”

He is also the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writers’ Award. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at Florida State University and lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Selected Bibliography

Smote (Sarabande Books, 2015)
My Psychic (Sarabande Books, 2006)
Three Poets of Modern Korea: Yi Sang, Hahm Dong-Seon and Choi Young-Mi (Sarabande Books, 2002)
The Gatehouse Heaven  (Sarabande Books, 1998)

by this poet

Let it be said
that Tim's year was divided
into two seasons: sneakers
and flip-flops. Let us
remember that Tim
would sometimes throw a football
with all the requisite grip, angle
and spiral-talk. Let us recall
that for the sake of what was left
of appearances, my mother
never once let him sleep
in her bed; he

has a giant hand
          diagrammed in front of her place
on West Tennessee.
          It towers above a kudzu hill as if
     to offer a cosmic How!
               as in Hello! from a long
way off, as in how

she already knows
          the sundry screwed up ways