The main source of my creative energy is the natural world. Both my poetry and fiction are rooted in the swamps, tobacco farms, and pine woods of my South Carolina childhood, in the suburban and rural landscapes of northwest Louisiana where I’ve spent most of my adult life, in other countries and islands where I’ve spent time: Greece, Denmark, the Caribbean. I am passionately interested in the relationship between human beings and the environment we are commissioned to protect, yet seem destined to destroy.
Apart from environmental, other major thematic interests are family histories, relationships within families, and social issues. The poems are for the most part lyric, and my novel and novel-in-progress are historic (Lightningstruck) and climate fiction (Swimmer).
My approach to craftsmanship is similar with regard to both genres. I consider myself a poet who writes novels and short stories, rather than the other way around. Therefore, my attention in my poems to metaphor, syntax, diction, the power of the image, and on sound textures—the rhythms and music of language—this carries over into my fiction. Of course, with fiction, character development and plot are primary, although place in my own work is typically Southern in that it is nearly a character in its own right.
Ashley Mace Havird is a poet and novelist who grew up on a tobacco farm in South Carolina. Her collection of poems, Wild Juice (LSU Press, 2021), is the 53rd volume of the Southern Messenger Poets Series. The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014) won the X. J. Kennedy Prize for Poetry. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Dirt Eaters and Sleeping with Animals. Her debut novel, Lightningstruck (Mercer University Press, 2016), won the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction.
Ashley’s poems and short stories have appeared in many journals including Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, and in anthologies such as The Southern Poetry Anthology, IV: Louisiana and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry. She was the Poet Laureate of Caddo Parish from 2018-2021. She lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, with her husband, the poet David Havird.
*See “Literaries” for Full CV.*
- June 12, 2020
- June 12, 2020
- June 11, 2020