Poet Joshua Robbins will be bringing to light his faith-inspired verse at the April 1 meeting of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild. Robbins will be reading from his work at the meeting, which will also find the writer discussing how religious faith and traditional hymns have informed his poetry.
The meeting, which will be open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Laurel Theater, at the corner of Laurel Avenue and 16th Streets (in Fort Sanders). A $1 donation is requested at the door. The building is handicapped accessible.
Joshua Robbins currently resides in Knoxville with his wife, Emily. He is a PhD student in English at the University of Tennessee, where he teaches English composition and poetry writing, has a fellowship to work with James Agee’s unpublished poetry manuscripts, and is Poetry Editor for the literary arts journal Grist. Additionally, Joshua serves on the Board of Directors of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild.
Robbins is a native of Berkeley, California. He left his home state after high school and has since returned there only occasionally. Joshua’s road to Knoxville has been paved by a number of relocations throughout the US. As a consequence of moving about the country, he says he’s not exactly sure where home is, though he seeks to locate – or create – “home” through writing poetry which explores religious faith within the context and confines of suburban landscapes.
Joshua received an MFA in poetry writing in 2003, from the University of Oregon. Subsequent to this, he taught at various community colleges in Oregon, instructing students in subjects ranging from creative writing and literature, to ethics and personal hygiene. In 2005, he and Emily moved to Kansas; they settled in the city of Lawrence, not far from where his father had grown up.
Robbins fell in love with Kansas’s landscape, its flatness and sprawl, and with the pace of life in the Midwest. He also came to a deeper appreciation of his family’s heritage – particularly with regard to his relationship to his father and grandfather, who both make frequent appearances in his work. Living in Lawrence, Joshua worked full time as a sales manager for a corporate chain bookstore, and taught writing part-time in Kansas City. He also wrote an online poetry review column for the local newspaper.
The ensuing years have seen Robbins’ work appear in numerous national literary publications. Among them: Third Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New South, Southern Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Fourteen Hills, Still: Literature of the Mountain South, and Writing by Ear, An Anthology of Writings about Music, edited by Marianne Worthington. 2008 found Joshua the recipient of the James Wright Poetry Award from Mid-American Review, and last year he was selected by poet Kim Addonizio for inclusion in the anthology, Best New Poets. Of most recent note, Robbins has been nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize and his poetry manuscript, Suburban Hymnal, is a contest finalist for publication.
The elements of faith upon which his poetry have been built offer Robbins “new ways to explore poetry’s real life, everyday relevance – especially when that relevance is challenged by the seeming meaninglessness of those places in which we live and would prefer not to notice: strip malls, freeway overpasses, cul-de-sacs, billboards and asphalt; the whole of suburban sprawl.”
Through the eyes of Joshua Robbins, a thoroughly enlightening evening of things poetic is promised for the April meeting of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild.
... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.