Launch party for Justin Phillip Reed book set for Old Oak Festival

A launch party for Tusculum alumnus Justin Phillip Reed has been scheduled as part of the upcoming Old Oak Festival.

Reed, a 2013 graduate of Tusculum will release his first full-length book, “Indecency” at the event and will be available to sign copies.

The book launch is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the Shulman Center on the Tusculum Greeneville campus and will be part of the many fine arts events scheduled during this year’s Old Oak Festival.

The event is free and open to the public. Early release copies of the book will be available at the event as well.

Justin Phillip Reed

“We’ve had many exceptional graduates from our English-creative writing program at Tusculum, and Justin will always be one of our best,” said Dr. Clay Matthews, associate professor of English at Tusculum. “From the Tusculum Arch to the St. Louis Arch, it’s an amazing road he’s traveled. Justin is now regarded as one of the world’s finest poets, and this launch is an exciting homecoming for us all.”

According to publisher Coffee House Press, “Indecency” is “boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful—the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.”

Reed, who received his undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in creative writing at Tusculum, currently lives in St. Louis. His work appears in “African American Review,Best American Essays,” “Callaloo,” “The Kenyon Review” and “Obsidian.”

After Tusculum, he completed the Master of Fine Arts program in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis.

He received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Conversation Literary Festival, and currently organizes the St. Louis community-based poetry workshop series Most Folks At Work.