HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Beth Ann Fennelly

Award-Winning Poet and Co-Author of The Tilted World


  • The Tilted World
  • An Evening with Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin
  • Four Ways Poets Can Use Sound to Make Meaning
  • The Balancing Act
  • The Magic of Metaphor
  • One Minute Marvels: Micro Poems, Flash Fiction, One Minute Plays
  • Stranger on a Plane: The First Thirty Seconds



Beth Ann Fennelly, a celebrated poet, author, and professor, has partnered with her New York Times best-selling husband, Tom Franklin, to write The Tilted World (William Morrow), a captivating story of murder, moonshine, and saboteurs set against the dramatic backdrop of Mississippi's historic flood of 1927. Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson arrive in Hobnob, Mississippi, to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents on the trail of a local bootlegger when they unexpectedly find an abandoned baby boy at a crime scene. In a quest to find the boy a home, Ingersoll complicates things by falling in love with Dixie Clay, the county's biggest bootlegger, making choices that jeopardize everyone. A dynamic speaker and storyteller, Fennelly is a perfect fit for universities, literary festivals, libraries, poetry societies, and women's groups, and is also available to do joint appearances with Tom Franklin.

The author of three volumes of poetry, Fennelly has published Tender Hooks, Unmentionables, and Open House, which won the 2001 Kenyon Review Prize and was a Book Sense Top Ten poetry pick. She is also the author of Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother, a lyrical nonfiction book that serves as a guide and homage to motherhood. Fennelly is the recipient of the prestigious Pushcart Prize and the Wood Award for Distinguished Writing from The Carolina Quarterly, and has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Artists. Her poetry has appeared in TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The American Scholar, and Poetry Ireland Review, and has been reprinted in Best American Poetry, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and Poets of the New Century.

Fennelly grew up in a suburb north of Chicago and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame. She earned a master's degree from the University of Arkansas and then went on to the University of Wisconsin as the recipient of the Diane Middlebrook Fellowship. She has held residencies at the University of Arizona and MacDowell and received a fellowship from Breadloaf and a Fullbright to Brazil in 2009. She now directs the University of Mississippi's MFA program where she was named the 2011 Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi with Tom Franklin and their three children.

Praise for Open House:

"With its high spirits, its love of textures of different kinds of writing . . . [this] is an immensely lively performance."
-- Robert Hass, poet, The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems

"Beth Ann Fennelly is an ambitious and spacious young talent. The poems range widely in form and subject matter. . .there is a striking accuracy of language and notable skill that sets them apart, displaying a promising, authentic voice."
-- Paul Zimmer in The Georgia Review

"Beth Ann Fennelly's poems are consistently dramatic, complex in their perceptions and formal unfolding, and enthralled with language."
-- Harvard Review

"Beth Ann Fennelly's Open House marks an auspicious debut for a poet not yet thirty years of age. In poems ranging from blank verse variations on the traditional sonnet to a sustained mediation in the highly elliptical and haunting polyphonous postmodernist mode, Fennelly tempers cognitive power and sensual wordplay with a subversive wit born of wry self-knowledge."
-- Floyd Collins,

"Fennelly approaches language with playfulness and reverence, heady with possibilities, wary of dilution. She takes on personas such as Milton's daughter or a survivor of the siege of Paris in dramatic narratives that one could forget are verse. Nearly half the book is a journal of the poetic mind in process, guarded by the internal critic, Mr. Daylater. For all that, Open House is surprisingly readable, ending with a handful of graceful love poems."
-- Tim Rauschenberger,
The Christian Science Monitor

"These poems can be elegiac, passionate, meditative, tender, angry, and funny by turns. Beth Ann Fennelly is clearly a poet to watch."
-- The Notre Dame Review

Praise for Tender Hooks:

"Yes, Tender Hooks is mostly about motherhood, but Fennelly's vision has more in common with Tarantino's than Martha Stewart's. One long, rich poem placed at the center of the collection, 'Telling the Gospel Truth,' puts the blood and sweat back into the nativity, before moving on, cleverly and without contrivance, to contemplate the fatuity of poems that use 'dinner knives to check for spinach in their teeth." Fennelly's poems aren't mannered, needless to say. They're plain, funny, and raw, and if you want to buy a present that isn't cute or dreamy for a new mother then Tender Hooks will hit the spot--and won't stop hitting it even though it's sore."
-- Nick Hornby, The Believer

"A necessary poet with the courage to 'Tell all the truth' and the 'wit to tell it slant'."
-- Alice Fulton, poet, The Nightingales of Troy

"Deep smarts, high spirits, and dead-on kick-ass language."
-- Albert Goldbarth, poet, The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems

"I love this book....Page after page, she give us the elan of found language."
-- Stephen Dunn, poet, Different Hours

"There are so many reasons for everyone, male or female, to read this collection. Fennelly is the sort of poet who reminds her readers why verse is so important to daily life. She cracks open pretension, and her in work, which is both accessible and high-minded, she suggests that poetry is, in fact, vital to our very existence."
-- The Capitol Times

"Perhaps the most daring book on motherhood I've ever read....Wild, graphic, and deeply moving."
-- Delaware News Journal

"There's nothing easy or casual in Tender Hooks... These poems are as sweet and loving as the title suggests, yet the face of Sylvia Plath peers out of more than one."
-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Move over, Sharon Olds, and make way, Denise Duhamel!...Awesome, humanely humbling poetry."
-- Booklist, starred review