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Poet Erica Dawson Speaks!

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About Erica Dawson

Erica is the author of two collections of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Poets’ Prize, and Big-Eyed Afraid (Waywiser Press, 2007), winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Prize. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blackbird, Literary Imagination, Unsplendid, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals. Her poems have been featured in several anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2008, 2012, and 2015, American Society: What Poets See; Living in Storms: Contemporary Poetry and the Moods of Manic-Depression; and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets.    

Erica’s third book, When Rap Spoke Straight to God, will be published by Tin House Books in Fall 2018.

Born and raised in Maryland, Erica holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, an  MFA from Ohio State University, and a PhD from University of Cincinnati.  She’s taught workshops and seminars at the Florida Arts Coalition’s Other Words Conference, St. Leo University’s Sandhill Writers Retreat, and the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon.  Erica is the Director of The University of Tampa’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, and, at UT, an associate professor of English and Writing.

She lives in Tampa with her Shih-Tzu, Stella, whom she named after Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, not  Tennessee Williams’ Stella or Stella Artois, though Erica really likes Tennessee Williams and Stella Artois.

The Poet Interviews


In this two part series, we hear from the poets of the Magic City Poetry Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. 

In the first of the Poet Interviews, Green Bucket Press founder and poet Anne Markham Bailey ushers the thoughts and poems of a wide range of poets as they approach questions of why they write poems, how they came to the craft, the role of the poet in society and their relationship with language. 

Magic City Poetry Festival Schedule


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Jason McCall

Jason McCall is an Alabama native, and he currently teaches at the University of North Alabama. His favorite word is “neighbor” because that was the winning word in his 3rd grade spelling bee, and he is always happy to mention that he won his 3rd grade spelling bee. He also won his 2nd grade spelling bee. He holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and his collections include Two-Face God; Dear Hero,; Silver; I Can Explain; and Mother, Less Child. He is the co-editor of It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop.

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Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones is a poet and teacher from Birmingham, Alabama. She loves to write anywhere, and her favorite word, right now, is yes.


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Alina Stefanescu Coryell

Alina plays alphabet games with her kids and writes about the world she wants to inhabit. She exists online at or @aliner.


Shaunteka LaTrese Curry

Shaunteka LaTrese Curry is a Griot. A storytelling goddess using words and experiences to shape her personal universe into a self contained  utopia of weirdos. Hoping to change the world one poem at a time, one person at a time. She has published two collections of poetry; Love Hard Live Free: Conversations with She and Honeysuckle Lyrics and can be find her within the local community creating platforms and opportunities of change through social and creative expression.


Anne Markham Bailey

Poet, Present Tense host and Green Bucket Press founder Anne Markham Bailey supports authentic voice and the unceasing and foundational creativity of our lives.