Mississippi

In 1963, Mississippi established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Beth Ann Fennelly, who was appointed to a four-year term in 2016. Fennelly is the author of three books of poetry, including Unmentionables (W. W. Norton, 2008).

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Poetry in Mississippi
Beth Ann Fennelly
Mississippi poet laureate

Beth Ann Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly is the author of three poetry collections, including Unmentionables (W. W. Norton, 2008). She currently serves as Mississippi's...

poems

poem
Vicksburg, Mississippi


Here, the Mississippi carved
            its mud-dark path, a graveyard

for skeletons of sunken riverboats.
            Here, the river changed its course,

turning away from the city
            as one turns, forgetting, from the past—

the abandoned bluffs, land sloping up
poem
A man git his feet set in a sticky mudbank,
A man git dis yellow water in his blood,
No need for hopin', no need for doin',
Muddy streams keep him fixed for good.

Little Muddy, Big Muddy, Moreau and Osage,
Little Mary's, Big Mary's, Cedar Creek,
Flood deir muddy water roundabout a man's roots,
Keep him soaked
poem

Nor the strip of light between the slats, the window itself blind with grief. Nor the bench where the last mourner lingers, the