Mount Mercy University welcomes special guest poet Heather Derr-Smith for a Q&A and a Reading on October 18 in Flaherty Community Room, Basile Hall on the Mount Mercy University campus. The Q&A starts at 3:30 p.m. and the reading starts at 7:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
Heather Derr-Smith was born in Dallas, Texas. She earned her undergraduate degree in art history from the University of Virginia, where she also took poetry workshops with Rita Dove, Charles Wright, and Greg Orr. She is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop with a Master of Fine Arts in poetry. Her first collection of poems, “Each End of the World” focused on the war in Bosnia. Derr-Smith has traveled extensively, having volunteered in a refugee camp during the war in Gasinci, Croatia. She continues to travel to the region, most recently to lead poetry workshops in Sarajevo and Tuzla, Bosnia. In 2008, Derr-Smith went to Damascus, Syria which led to her second collection of poems, “The Bride Minaret,” which explores boundaries and exile, both ecological and psychological. Her third collection, “Breath Hold Break Point,” focuses on the floods in Iowa and fires in Los Angeles, exploring the way desire reasserts itself out of disasters, both environmental and personal. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines such as TriQuarterly, New York Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Fence, Nashville Review, Phoebe, Sycamore Review, Valparaiso, and Diode among others.