Best Local Poets 

Critics' Pick

click to enlarge Allison Titus and Joshua Poteat - SCOTT ELMQUIST

There’s something in the air of Edgar Allan Poe’s boyhood town that seems to attract serious local poets. Among our best: Kathleen Graber — rising star on Virginia Commonwealth University’s master’s degree in fine arts faculty. Graber was a late bloomer, teaching for 20 years in New Jersey and running a head shop. Her second book, “The Eternal City,” was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.

David Wojahn, VCU’s creative writing director, isn’t afraid to get political or include pop references in his highly personal work.

Ron Smith is one of the all-time great writing teachers at St. Christopher’s School, a writer’s writer with a keen intelligence and a former college athlete’s innate understanding of physicality and the flesh.

And married poets Joshua Poteat and Allison Titus — former Style Top 40 Under 40 recipients — serve as the first readers of each other’s work. And what work! Poteat won the 2004 Anhinga Poetry Prize for his debut collection, “Ornithologies,” and was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Award for “Meditations.” The much-published Titus copped the 2006 Bateau Press BOOM Chapbook Prize for “Instructions from the Narwhal,” and published her first full-length book of poems, “Sum of Every Lost Ship,” in 2009.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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