December 2022 Regional Event Highlights

On Saturday, December 10, 2022, the Friends of the Oak Ridge Library (FOL) and the Poetry Society of Tennessee (PST) sponsored a Holiday Book Sale and Author Reading at the Oak Ridge Public Library. The reading featured Dr. Marilyn Kallet, Professor Emeritus of University of Tennessee (Knoxville), along with 17 other writers and poets, all reading from their work and signing and selling their books. Learn more about the 18 participating poets and authors below.

A Brief Thanks

PST extends their gratitude to FOL, PST Regional Connections Committee (RCC), RCC Director (Knoxville) Pat Hope, the Oak Ridge Library, area businesses and individuals who promoted the event, participating authors and attendees.

A Few Candid Moments

Featured Poet Marilyn Kallet reads from her new book, Even When We Sleep.
Three poets among the 18 participating readers-John C. Mannone (standing), Claudia Stanek, and Ron Lands-speak with two attendees.
Oak Ridge Poet Laureate Erin Elizabeth Smith reads her poetry.
Three of the region’s top poets – Marilyn Kallet, Connie Jordan Green, and K.B. Ballentine – pause for a photograph at the Dec. 10 reading event.
PST Regional Director Pat Hope and Featured Speaker Marilyn Kallet.

About the Authors

Marilyn Kallet of Knoxville recently served two terms as Knoxville Poet Laureate. She is the author of 19 books, including Even When We Sleep, 2022 and How Our Bodies Learned, 2018, poetry from Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee, where she taught for 37 years. She also hosted poetry workshops and residencies for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France, from 2009-2018; residencies resume this May. Kallet’s poetry has appeared in PlumeStill: The Journal of AppalachiaNorth American Review, and 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, among others. 

K.B. Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, was released May 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Atlanta Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including I Heard a Cardinal Sing (2022), The Strategic Poet (2021), and Pandemic Evolution (2021). Learn more at She lives in Chattanooga.

Sally Bennett Boyington currently lives hundreds of miles away from Arizona, but the desert still holds her heart. Her published novels include Swallowing the Sun and Rainbow Knife, the first two books in a trilogy of prehistoric novels titled “Tales of the Watermasters,” bringing to life the ancient civilization of the Hohokam. Inspired by their canals, buildings, art and artifacts, and the lifeways revealed through archaeology, Sally hopes to share her vision of these early Native Americans as artists and dreamers and builders: above all, as individuals not so different from ourselves. Sally has written seven novels and numerous short stories and poems, has had several reviews and nonfiction articles published in professional journals and popular magazines. She has a master’s degree in history from Arizona State University.

Jeri L. Duke of Clinton writes true stories inspired of by her own family history and love of ancestry. Her first book, The Faraway Spiritis the story of the families that bought and settled on Nantucket Island. Mary Coffin Starbuck is the main character and the first to become a Quaker on the island. Most recently she published Friends of Freedom, Stories of The Underground Railroad, which is set prior to and during the U.S. Civil War.

Carol Grametbauer of Kingston is the author of two chapbooks: Homeplace (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018) and Now & Then(Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Appalachian HeritageConnecticut River Review, POEMPine Mountain Sand & Gravel, 3rd Wednesday, and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, drafthorse, Still: The JournalFluent, and Maypop, and in a number of anthologies. She is chairman of the board of directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers, which is headquartered in Oak Ridge. 

Connie Jordan Green of Loudon County is the author of two award-winning novels for young people, The War at Home, set in Oak Ridge during World War II, and Emmy, both published originally by Margaret McElderry imprint of MacMillan and Simon Shuster, respectively, reissued in soft cover by Tellico Books imprint of Iris Press; two poetry chapbooks, Slow Children Playing and Regret Comes to Tea; and two poetry collections, Household Inventory, 2015, winner of the Brick Road Poetry Award, and Darwin’s Breath(Iris Press). She frequently leads writing workshops

An East Tennessee native, Melanie K. Hutsell currently lives in Oak Ridge. She is the author of the novels The Dead Shall Rise, an Appalachian magic realism tale from Celtic Cat Publishing, and The Book of Susan, a sympathetic, realistic portrayal of a mental illness diagnosis in a young woman’s life, published by Paraclete Press. Named a Featured Author for Knoxville’s 2019 “Celebrate Our Authors” event, Hutsell has appeared on WDVX’s Wordstream and the Bi-Polar Girl podcast. Learn more at

Ron Lands of Oak Ridge is a semi-retired hematologist at UT Medical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee and an MFA alumnus of Queens University of Charlotte. He practiced medicine for many years near the community in East Tennessee where he grew up. He has published short stories, poems and essays in literary and medical journals.  His writing is about those experiences. His poem “Decision” appears in the Spring 2019 Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine. His chapbooks include Final Path, Finishing Line Press 2021, and A Gathering of Friends, 2022. His story collection, The Long Way Home was published in 2022.

Author of survival memoir The Locust YearsKelly Hanwright is a poet, teacher, and dog trainer living in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She is a Pushcart nominee whose work has appeared in various venues including The Birmingham Arts Journal, Lady Literary Magazine, and American Diversity Report.

John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He won multiple awards including a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). Author of three chapbooks and four full-length collections, he edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a physics/chemistry professor at Alice Lloyd College in southeast Kentucky.

Fay Martin of Oak Ridge was born in Jamaica, West Indies, obtained a B.Sc. from the University of the West Indies, a M.Sc. from MacMaster University in Canada and a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Tennessee. Her books include: Resurgam! The Poems of Fay Martin and From Jamaican Hills: The Memoirs of Fay Martin.

Shirley Raines is a much sought–after speaker, consultant, and author. She was the first woman president of the University of Memphis. She is a member of the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame and was invited to speak at the White House Conference on University Entrepreneurship for the FedEx Institute of Technology. She has written 18 books, 15 for educators, 2 for children, and her newest leadership book, An Uncommon Journey:  Leadership Lessons from a Preschool Teacher who Became a University President.

Wesley Sims of Oak Ridge has published three chapbooks of poetry: When Night Comes, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2013; Taste of Change, Iris Press, Oak Ridge, TN, 2019; and A Pocketful of Little Poems, Amazon, 2020. His work has appeared in Artemis JournalBewildering Stories, Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, Liquid Imagination, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Plum Tree Tavern, and several others.

D. Ray Smith, Oak Ridge’s Historianhas more than 47 years of experience at the Y-12 National Security Complex. He has co-produced the award-winning Secret City set of two 90-minute DVD’s. He has also written 14 books on the East Tennessee area history consisting of nine “Historically Speaking” volumes, The John Hendrix Story, 1944 Troop Train Wreck, Historical Sketch of Oak Ridge Schools, Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell and Delina, and four photo books of East Tennessee scenery and the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell. He publishes a weekly Oak Ridge history newspaper column, “Historically Speaking.” His most recent film is the documentary, Ed Westcott – Photographer.

Oak Ridge Poet Laureate Erin Elizabeth Smith is the Executive Director for Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville. She is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently DOWN (SFASU 2020), and her work has appeared in Guernica, Ecotone, Crab Orchard, and Mid-American, among othersSmith is a Distinguished Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

Claudia M Stanek’s work has been turned into a libretto, been part of an art exhibition, and been translated into Polish. Her poems exist online, in print, and in her chapbook, Language You Refuse to Learn. She holds an MFA from Bennington College. Her rescued dogs manage her life. 

After receiving her Ph.D. in French Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill, Diane Williams of Knoxville taught French language and literature for many years and spent an academic year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in France. After moving to Knoxville, she joined the creative team at the UT Knoxville Office of Communications and Marketing as an editorial project manager. Diane has poems in One Trick Pony and Bluestem Magazine, and two of her poems will appear in the Spring 2023 issue of Monterey Poetry Review. She has a poetry chapbook, Night in the Garden, 2020.

Sylvia Woods of Oak Ridge is a retired ORHS English teacher. Her book What We Take With Us was published in April, 2021. Her work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies including Southern Poetry Anthology V: Appalachia, Appalachian Review, and many more.


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