Jeanie Thompson

"...through the land of darkness and silence..."

We need poetry now, more than ever.

My exploration of Alabama-born Helen Keller has taught me the power of developing an intimate relationship with a figure from history. I read biographies and other accounts of her life, but her own writing -- her journal of the six months immediately following Anne Sullivan Macy's death and the letters she sent back to the USA after visiting the devastation in Japan following the atomic bombs -- led me to know her heart and to imagine the woman she was. I hope these poems give a sketch of who Helen Keller became, and open a window into the heart she gave to the world. Love, compassion for others, and the search for justice motivated her above all else.


Jeanie Thompson is the author of The Seasons Bear Us, White for Harvest: New and Selected Poems, Witness, Litany for a Vanishing Landscape, How to Enter the River, and Lotus and Psalm. Her poems have been published in Whatever Remembers UsHigh HorseWorking the Dirt, and The Best of Crazyhorse, among others. She teaches at Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing program and is the founding executive director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary arts service organization. She was also the founding executive Director of Black Warrior Review literary journal. Jeanie’s awards include two literary fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and a fellowship from the Louisiana Arts and Humanities Council. In 2003, she was awarded the Alumni Artist Award from the University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences.


Building Alabama's literary community, celebrating writers of all ages.

Since 1993, I have directed The Alabama Writers' Forum, a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The Forum promotes writers and writing and is a strong supporter of literary arts education. Its award-winning Writing Our Stories program for juvenile offenders takes place on three Department of Youth Services campuses.


Since 2002, I have been a member of the poetry faculty of Spalding University’s lo-res MFA Writing Program in Louisville, Kentucky. I teach poetry writing workshops, gives craft lectures, and have served as a guest poetry editor of The Louisville Review.

Spalding’s low residency MFA in Writing program offers serious intellectual stimulation in a noncompetitive, emotionally supportive atmosphere. We are here to help one another become better writers. This ethos permeates everything we do. Please let me know if you would like to learn more about the residencies, both in Louisville and abroad, and the independent study concept of Spalding’s MFA featuring one-on-one mentor-student work, and more.


Latest work:
The Myth of Water - order it here now.