Poet Ann Fisher-Wirth visited campus on Monday, sharing from two of her published collections and promoting her newly released book, “Dream Cabinet.”Fisher-Wirth, an environmental activist and director of Environmental Studies at the University of Mississippi, began seriously writing poetry while living abroad in Sweden with her husband.
Her book, “Carta Marina,” was inspired by an old map in a library near their home, and Fisher-Wirth’s daughter, also a poet, encouraged her to write about it. Though she did not set out to write a book, Fisher-Wirth said that various pieces of her life came together at the same time and “Carta Marina” happened naturally.
“It’s combines different strands,” Fisher-Wirth said. “The map, the weather, Sweden, my past. Everything.”
Constantly influenced by place, Fisher-Wirth’s writing in “Dream Cabinet” centers around environmental issues made very real by her life near the Gulf of Mexico. At a public poetry reading on campus Monday evening, Fisher-Wirth shared a piece called “BP,” which she was commissioned to write following the tragic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf.
The poem uses found text related to government policy and information surrounding the event in combination with Fisher-Wirth’s own words and narrative voice.
In a Tuesday morning breakfast conversation with Ann Hostetler’s, professor of English, Writing Poetry class, Fisher-Wirth engaged with students to share not only thoughts on writing, but career advice.
Though she spent her academic career pursuing environmental studies before discovering her love for poetry, Fisher-Wirth encouraged students to follow their true interest. “Decide what really matters to you and what you really want to do,” she said, “And do that.”