Writer in Residence RB Morris (2004-2008)
“RB was our first, and only, Writers in the Library performer to be backed up by a double bass,” said Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries. “His talent is a great asset to our program. We’re thrilled to have him on board.” As Writer-in-Residence, Morris organizes the Writers in the Library reading series and help to strengthen the Libraries’ ties with the literary community.
Morris, a Knoxville native, is the author of two collections of poetry, Littoral Zone and The Man Upstairs. In the 1980s he edited the Hard Knoxville Review, an arts and literary magazine that gained national exposure. He also wrote and performed The Man Who Lives Here is Loony, a one-man play about the life of James Agee.
Most recently, Morris has been working tirelessly to ensure a new memorial to Knoxville writer James Agee. The James Agee Memorial Park, located at the corner of James Agee Street and Laurel Avenue, has been a labor of love for Morris, who has done everything from landscaping to fundraising to help make the park a reality.
During his tenure as Writer in Residence, Morris hopes to work on a new series of poems and a book of prose. “My writing process is fairly undisciplined,” he said. “When I’m on to something, I work on it straight, 24 hours if I can, because I’ve been waiting for it to click. You try to tap into it and let it come.”
Morris has garnered international acclaim as a musician. The Association for Independent Music nominated his most recent album, Zeke and the Wheel, for CD of the Year. His other albums include Take That Ride and Knoxville Sessions . “I’ve always tried to combine poetry and music,” said Morris. “It’s an old tradition, all the way back to Homer.”
Established in 1998, the Writer in Residence program has been a great success at the UT Libraries. Writers in the Library has featured local writers, emerging and student writers, as well as notable authors and poets such as William Gay, Ken Waldman, and Whitney Terrell.
For more information about RB Morris, visit his web site, http://www.rbmorris.com.