Poet Maurice Manning was born and raised in Kentucky, and often writes about the land and culture of his home. Maurice Manning’s first book of poems, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions (2001) was chosen by poet and judge W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His subsequent books include A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Lone Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c. (2004), Bucolics (2007), The Common Man (2010), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and The Gone and the Going Away (2013).
Manning grew up listening to stories of his father’s childhood spent on a farm in Eastern Kentucky and has been inspired by the lives of his grandmothers, great grandmothers, and a great-great-grandmother. Inventive and historical, his work reflects his heritage and a respect for the natural world. W.S. Merwin wrote of Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions: “The writing's unfaltering audacity is equaled by its content, and the result is an outstanding collection, still more astonishing for a first book; the achievement of a fresh and brilliant talent.” A Companion to Owls is a collection of poems in the voice of frontiersman Daniel Boone, replete with details of the world of Daniel Boone. Bucolics, in the tradition of pastoral poetry, is a collection of untitled poems about the natural world, addressed to a figure referred to as “Boss.”
Manning has received fellowships from the Fine Art Work Center in Provincetown and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at DePauw University and Indiana University, and is on faculty in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College and the Sewanee Writing Conference. He is a professor of English at Transylvania University.