This City Could Be Your Poet: Greenville

The Open Bar

As Xenophobic as we Portlanders can be, we know our city is not alone when it comes to having a vibrant and eclectic and wild poetry community. In an effort to discover these territories, we have reached out to some of our favorite poets, asking them for introductions to the cities in which they write, read, and live in.

Jillian Weise, whose poem “Pound, Drunk on A Forty, Goes Off” was published in our Winter Issue 30, takes us through eclectic Greenville.  

Tin House: Where do you live?

Jillian Weise: Greenville, South Carolina.

TH: Are you from there?

JW: I’m from Texas.

TH: Describe the poetry scene of Greenville in a line…

JW: Eclectic and hip with poetry readings at Coffee Underground, Ford’s Oyster House, and the nearby colleges: Clemson, Converse, Furman and Wofford.

TH: What are some of your favorite collections to come out of Greenville?

JWGil Allen’s Driving to Distraction, Claire Bateman’s Locals, Sarah Blackman’s Mother Box and Other Tales, John Pursley’s If You Have Ghosts and Glenis Redmond’s Under the Sun.

TH: What local poet are you most excited for the rest of the country to read?

JW: The creative writing students at Clemson.

TH: Is there a poem that best describes your city?

JW: John Pursley and Sarah Blackman’s poem “Claims for Magnolia and Shadow” is magnificent.

TH: Do you have a favorite local press?

JW: I’m a fan of The South Carolina Review and Free Verse Editions and Hub City Press.

TH: If we were visiting, what reading series would you take us to?

JW: If you come to town on March 26-29, 2014, I will take you to the Clemson Literary Festival. Otherwise, it’s to the oyster house for us, or the café, or the New Southern Voices Reading Series, which is held in the oldest bar in Spartanburg.

TH: Where would you like to see more of a poetry presence in your city?

JW: Here in Greenville, it’s Open Studio Weekend. Local visual artists open their studios to the public. Poets don’t have studios, per se, but I’d love for Greenville to host a weekend of poetry salons.

TH: If you could choose one poet to move to your city who would it be?

JWMatthew Dickman.

Jillian Weise publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and is also a playwright. She is the author of The Amputee’s Guide to SexThe Colony, and The Book of Goodbyes, winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times and Tin House. Weise has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Fulbright Program, the Sewanee Writers Conference and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an Assistant Professor at Clemson University.