I’m super excited to announce that my fifth collection of poetry will be published at the University of Akron Press!

The University of Akron Press is pleased to announce that it will publish the poetry collection Outskirts, by Heathen. Heathen is author of the previous University of Akron Press poetry collection The Bride Minaret, as well as Each End of the WorldTongue Screw, and Thrust, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Prize. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, they have taught at Iowa State University and are the founder and director of Čuvaj se/Take Care, a literary nonprofit supporting writers in conflict zones, post-conflict recovery zones, and communities affected by trauma. They live all over the place, but mostly, like a poem, are forever en route.

In Outskirts, Heathen continues the life-long praxis to realize Rukeyser’s vision of poetry as a harnessing of human consciousness to change the world. From the lived personal experiences of the author embedded in places of war and genocide, and the trauma of violence and rape known firsthand both within and outside of the delineation of conflict zones, they write in concert with fellow outcasts in communal resistance to nationalist and authoritarian impulses, both in history and now on the rise around the world and in the United States. With references to punk rock, sacred texts, partizankas in Yugoslavia, painters, and other writers, Heathen summons from the Ouija of a larger-than-human ecological consciousness the connections between past and present, the self and others (other creatures, other lives, other landscapes) living and dead, enacting this desire through a poetic language that will never cease its longing.

University of Akron Press

A film still of the poet Heathen Derr (Heather Derr-Smith). The poet is standing in a field at the entrance to a ranch with barbed wire in the background and dry grasses signifying drought. The poet has both hands on their head, elbows jutting out, and a look of distress on their face. There is a big blue sky behind them.
Heathen (Heather Derr-Smith) Film Still