Dr. Avant reading to an audience in Enochs Black Box Theatre, on the campus of Mississippi School of the Arts.

Dr. A. H. Jerriod Avant, a published author, was invited as a guest artist in the Literary Arts department of Mississippi School of the Arts. During his time on campus, students learned about form with special attention to the palindrome poetry form, how to play with sound to make poems sing, and the usefulness of tapping into the beauty of languages, dialects, and expressions that are familiar to us and our families. Literary students wrote their own palindrome poems, some of which will be featured on an upcoming special podcast episode. The episode will include Dr. Avant sharing some of his poems and reflections from his residency at MSA.

Avant was born and raised in Longtown, Mississippi. His first book, Muscadine, is out (September 15, 2023) from Four Way Books. A graduate of Jackson State University, Jerriod has earned MFA degrees from Spalding University and New York University. A graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, he’s received scholarships from the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference and Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program.

A former resident at the James Castle House and Vermont Studio Center, Jerriod has received two winter fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and an emerging artist grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. His work has appeared in the Boston Review, Pinwheel, Callaloo, Virginia Quarterly Review, Obsidian, The Yale Review, and other journals. Jerriod’s work has been produced in collaboration with the Emily Harvey Foundation, the Highline NYC, and the Kitchen Lab. Most recently, he earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Rhode Island and was a Teaching Fellow in English at Wesleyan University for the 2022-2023 academic year. Jerriod is the 2024-2025 John and Renee Grisham Writer-In-Residence at the University of Mississippi.