Poet Ann Neelon (Senegal) Professor of English Murray State University Retires

Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) Professor of English

Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) received her BA from College of the Holy Cross and her MFA from the University of Massachusetts. She was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She joined the Department of English and Philosophy at Murray State University in 1992.

Professor Neelon is the author of the poetry collection, Easter Vigil, which was chosen by Joy Harjo as the winner of the 1995 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. The poet Denise Levertov wrote of Easter Vigil, “Ann Neelon brings a unique voice to her first book. Her range of personal concerns include the tragedies of the Gulf War, a sojourn in Nicaragua, the Rwandan War, and other episodes of what are called world events, as well as her father’s death, domestic love and the birth of her first child. Throughout, she successfully ignores the current obsession with the confessional. Her long lines, interspersed with very short ones, have a tone unlike anyone else’s. A truly auspicious beginning.”

Professor Neelon’s poetry has also appeared in American Poetry ReviewCarolina Quarterly, the Mid-American ReviewPoetry SoutheastPresence, and Sequoia among others journals.   She has given numerous readings of her poetry and presented at conferences such as the American Conference for Irish Studies, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference, and the Modern Language Association Conference.

In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate creative writing, literature, humanities, and composition courses at Murray State, professor Neelon served as the director of the Murray State’s low-residency MFA in creative writing program from 2010-16. In 2006, she founded New Madrid, the literary journal of Murray State’s MFA program, and served as its editor-in-chief through 2018.


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