Dr. Donald Johnson—English professor and poet in residence at East Tennessee State University—was this spring’s Bingham Visiting Reader. Meeting with students in Class I and II, he read several pieces from his newly published collection of poetry titledHere and Gone. As he told the students, this reading was the “inaugural voyage” of the collection. Dr. Johnson describes Here and Gone as having an “elegiac feel to it;” the poems focus around “holding on to things, living in the moment, and how we try to keep things from slipping away.” Students were transported from the banks of the Tennessee River to Dr. Johnson’s mother’s kitchen as he read half a dozen selected poems from the collection.
Dr. Johnson has been a faculty member at East Tennessee State University for 25 years, where he served as English department chair for six years and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for seven. An avid sports fan and accomplished sports writer, Dr. Johnson served for 16 years as general editor of Aethlon: the Journal of Sport Literature; he is now the publication’s poetry editor. He has published many articles on literature and sport in American culture and is the author of The Sporting Muse: A Critical Study of Poems about Athletes and Athletics and the editor ofHummers, Knucklers, and Slow Curves: Contemporary American Baseball Poems.