Join local poets Jacques Rancourt and Kelly Gray for an evening of all things love and dirt.
Jacques J. Rancourt was born in southern Maine and spent his formative years in an off-the-grid cabin near the mouth of the 100-mile wilderness, the Appalachian Trail’s northern terminus. He attended the University of Maine at Farmington, where he received a B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in Creative Writing. Rancourt earned an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
His first full-length collection, Novena, won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd prize, selected by Hadara Bar-Nadav, and was published in 2017 from Pleiades Press. A chapbook of poems, In the Time of PrEP, was published the following year as the inaugural title in the Chad Walsh chapbook series from the Beloit Poetry Journal. His second full-length collection, Brocken Spectre, is an editor’s choice selection for the Alice James Award and was published in 2021.
He has published individual poems in magazines such as AGNI, Boston Review, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and ZYZZYVA. His work has been featured in Poetry Daily, From the Fishouse, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as in the Best of the Net and Best New Poets anthologies.
Jacques is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, a five-month residency from the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France, and scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences.
He has taught creative writing courses at the university level and served as an undergraduate thesis advisor, and he has worked as a middle school principal and English teacher. Additionally, he has led workshops for prison inmates, underserved youth at Upward Bound, and summer high school students at Stanford, Duke, and Northwestern Universities, as well as overseas in Thailand. (He also canvassed as a regional organizer for the Maine marriage equality and Scott Walker recall campaigns, made latte hearts as a barista, flipped burgers at Wendy’s, and faced his lobsterphobia at a seafood deli).
He now lives in San Francisco, California.
Kelly Gray is a writer and educator living with her family nine miles and seven fence posts away from the ocean, on the lands of Coast Miwok and Southern Kashaya Pomo people, deep in the redwood forest. Her collections include Instructions for an Animal Body (Moon Tide Press) and Tiger Paw, Tiger Paw, Knife, Knife (Quarter Press, Gold Medal winner from IPPY), and she is the recipient of the Tusculum Review Chapbook Prize for her manuscript The Mating Calls of the Specter, judged by poet Justin Phillip Reed. Most recently, she was a participant in the Kenyon Review Poetry Workshop and her writing has or will appear in Southern Humanities Review, Storm Cellar, Driftwood Press, River Heron Review, Lake Effect, trampset, Rust & Moth, Passages North, and Harbor Review. When she's not writing, she teaches with California Poets in the School at the elementary and high school level.