Hybrid | Poet Quartet: Destiny Hemphill, Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. Katherine Soniat, L.S. McKee

Image contains the headshots of poets  Destiny Hemphill, Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. Katherine Soniat, L.S. McKee and the covers of their books, Motherworld, Gay Poems for Red States, Fates, and Creature, Wing, Heart, Machine.

Join us for our monthly poetry reading series coordinated by Mildred Barya. This month's event features Destiny Hemphill, Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. Katherine Soniat, and L.S. McKee.

This is a hybrid event with limited in-store seating and the option to attend online. The event is free but registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance. 

Please click here to register for the VIRTUAL event. The link required to attend will be emailed to registrants prior to the event. 

Please click here to register for the IN-PERSON event. Note the important event details on the RSVP form.

All featured books will be available for purchase at the event. This event also includes a book signing.

If you would like a signed book but can't attend in person, you may order a signed copy in advance. 

If you would like to have your book personalized, please order online or call the store at least two hours before the start of the event. When ordering online, use the comments field to provide a name for personalization, e.g. “To Paul.” NOTE: We do our best to get books personalized when requested but personalization is not guaranteed.

If you decide to attend and to purchase books, we ask that you purchase from Malaprop's. When you do this you make it possible for us to continue hosting author events and you keep more dollars in our community. You may also support our work by purchasing a gift card or making a donation of any amount below. Thank you!

Destiny Hemphill (she/they) is a chronically ill poet, living on the unceded territory of the Eno-Occaneechi band of the Saponi Nation (Durham, NC). A recipient of several fellowships including Callaloo, Tin House, and Kenyon Review's Writers Workshop, she is the author of motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life (Action Books, 2023), a two-time finalist for the National Poetry Series Prize. Her work has also been featured in Poetry Magazine, Southern Cultures, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day series. She served as the 2022-2023 Kenan Visiting Writer in Poetry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. For more, visit https://www.destinyhemphill.com

"Destiny Hemphill’s motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life stuns with an incantatory power that heals, transports, and transmutes. It’s as if every poem has been tenderly and intensely embedded with an intention to raise a vortex of love while confronting the shadows that languish within personal, familial, and collective histories. From channeling an earth in distress to the summoning of ancestral lore, Hemphill proves herself to be a high priestess of language and a poet of oracular wisdom. This is a book to place on one’s altar."— Mai Der Vang


Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. holds degrees in French and English from Morehead State University, where he focused his studies on advocacy for students, particularly first generation, Appalachian, and minoritized students. He began his work in eastern Kentucky, later studying and teaching in France. In 2022, Carver was named Kentucky Teacher of the Year and Ambassador to the Kentucky Department of Education, where he created a platform of inclusion and advocacy for LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and Appalachian students. His work has been published in Kentucky Teacher, Education Week, and elsewhere. Carver's story has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC, PBS, NPR, and other news outlets. For more, visit https://williecarver.com

“One of the most quintessentially Appalachian books I have ever read. Gay Poems for Red States is destined to be a cornerstone of the pantheon of books describing what’s it like to grow up queer in this country during this time in history….for those having trouble being seen and those having trouble seeing, this book is a blueprint for their shared survival. The love embodied in Carver’s voice will set off tambourines in your heart.”—Robert Gipe


Katherine Soniat's ninth book of poems, Starfish Wash-up was published by Etruscan Press in 2023. Her eighth, Polishing the Glass Storm came out of LSU Press in 2022 and received Honorable Mention in Campbell-Brockman Prize. Bright Stranger was also published by LSU Press in 2016. The Goodbye Animals was awarded the 2014 Turtle Island Chapbook Award, and A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. The Swing Girl (LSU Press) was selected as the Best Collection of 2011 by the North Carolina Poetry Council. Her poems are published in the Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, The Nation, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She has been on the faculty at Hollins University and Virginia Tech, and now happily lives in the mountains of Swannanoa, North Carolina. For more, visit https://www.katherinesoniat.com


L.S. McKee is an interdisciplinary writer and educator. Her debut poetry collection, Creature, Wing, Heart, Machine, won the 2022 Zone 3 First Book Award, and was published in fall 2023. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. She has taught writing at several universities, including MIT, and is now Coordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum at UGA. Originally from East Tennessee, and after several years in San Francisco, Atlanta, and Boston, she lives in Athens, Georgia with her family. For more, visit https://lsmckee.com/about.html

“There is precision, awe, and ache coursing throughout Creature, Wing, Heart, Machine. This is a book “made of blood and muscle.” These stunning poems are reminiscent of what I love most about the heart and heat of poetry, peppered with a knack for fantastic figurative language, and a keen specificity in the soupy, surreal loss of love and longing. I am grateful to have read this book brimming with various desires (both with levity and grief): animalistic desire, lonely desire, online dating desire with men holding dead fish, and most vividly, Pat Robertson’s jowls on the television. L.S. McKee speaks through the mask of the character Alva, blurring the first and third person, which I found to be quite striking and seducing, when she writes, “Alva is and is not me.” Sometimes we need the architecture of another voice to find our own. I felt seen and understood by the way Alva drank in the whole strange world with beauty and sorrow, reminding us that “we’re all machines hungry to be opened.”— Tiana Clark

Event address: 
Virtual or in-person option
Motherworld: A Devotional for the Alter-Life By Destiny Hemphill Cover Image
ISBN: 9780900575174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Action Books - March 1st, 2023

Gay Poems for Red States By Willie Edward Taylor Carver Cover Image
ISBN: 9780813198125
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Press of Kentucky - June 6th, 2023

Fates: The Medea Notebooks; Starfish Wash-Up; And Overflow of an Unknown Self By Ann Pedone, Katherine Soniat, D. M. Spitzer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781736494684
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Etruscan Press - May 23rd, 2023

Creature, Wing, Heart, Machine By L. S. McKee (Editor) Cover Image
By L. S. McKee (Editor)
ISBN: 9781733150576
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Zone 3 Press - October 1st, 2023

The Animals of My Earth School By Mildred Kiconco Barya Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947896635
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Terrapin Books - April 10th, 2023

SKU: x672389