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Dixie State University

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English Department to host poetry reading by award-winning writer

As part of its Visiting Writers Program, Dixie State University’s English Department is hosting a poetry reading featuring nationally recognized, award-winning poet Kimberly Johnson.

Johnson, a professor of English at Brigham Young University, will read from her three collections of poetry at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30 in room 477 of Dixie State’s Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons. A book sale and signing as well as the opportunity to engage with Johnson will follow the reading. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

“We are thrilled to host a poet of Kimberly Johnson’s caliber on our campus,” Dr. Cindy King, DSU assistant professor of English, said. “Surely both students and our community alike will find her work inspiring and enlightening. I can think of no better way to encourage aspiring writers than to expose them to the outstanding work of writers like Johnson.”

Johnson’s most recent poetry collection, “Uncommon Prayer,” was published by Persea in 2014. With her spouse, Jay Hopler, Johnson edited “Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry” with Yale University Press in 2013. Additionally, she has published poems in translation from Latin and Greek and a number of critical works on Renaissance literature.

In addition to having her poems widely printed in publications such as The New Yorker, Slate and The Iowa Review, Johnson has received prizes from the Guggenheim Foundation, Merton Foundation and the Utah Arts Council and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. At BYU, Johnson teaches creative writing and Renaissance literature. In both subjects, her primary interest is lyric poetry.

“Johnson’s poems adopt a number of their forms from mystical or sacred texts — psalms, divinations, odes, hymns, spells — but her settings are as earthbound as her own scorched backyard garden or the driver’s seat of a white pickup careering down a highway during a thunderstorm,” critic Lisa Russ Spaar wrote in a review of Johnson’s collection “A Metaphorical God.”