By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
A Roane State associate professor of English who has won numerous prizes for her poetry has now been inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.
DeAnna Stephens and other writers will be recognized by the nonprofit group Friends of Literacy during an April 8 dinner at the Foundry on the Fair Site in Knoxville.
Friends of Literacy established the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in 2004 to honor local and regional writers who have created an outstanding body of work.
Stephens has taught courses in remedial writing, composition, and literature at Roane State Community College since 2006.
She has also taught English as a second language at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Crossville and has served as a volunteer instructor with the Cumberland Adult Reading Council.
She earned undergraduate degrees in English, journalism, and secondary education from Tennessee Technological University. She also holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing with a concentration in poetry from George Mason University.
Stephens said her poetry often explores cultural estrangement and the connection between regional geography and identity. She credits her fascination with these topics to her family’s migration to Detroit during the Southern Diaspora and their eventual return to East Tennessee in the 1980s.
Stephens’ poetry has won the Sue Ellen Hudson Excellence in Writing Award from Tennessee Mountain Writers, the Tennessee Williams Festival Poetry Contest, the EDGE Poetry Award, and The Tusculum Review Poetry Prize.
In addition, her work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She has received poetry fellowships from Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
Her work has been a finalist in the Main Street Rag Poetry Chapbook Competition, the Lascaux Prize in Poetry, the Joy Harjo Poetry Competition, the Margie Editor’s Prize, and the Briar Cliff Review Poetry Contest.
Publications featuring her work include Cherry Tree, Rumble Fish Quarterly, Canadian Woman Studies, Feminist Studies, and Wisconsin Review. In 2019, Main Street Rag published her chapbook, Heliotaxis.