Saturday, August 09, 2014

Lese Corrigan and her gallery

Whenever I'm in Charleston and in the area of Queen Street, I like to stop by to visit my artist friend Lese Corrigan. I met Lese when she and I worked together as Artist and Writer in Residence at the Gibbes Museum of Art back in 2004-2005, and we've been friends ever since. From the beginning I liked her and admired her talents as an artist, so I was thrilled when she allowed her artwork Cultured Pomegranates, 2001, oil on linen, to be used as the cover art for my book Keep and Give Away, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2006.

When I dropped by Lese's gallery a week or two ago, she showed me her new studio that she recently added to the back of the gallery. Such a wonderful space for her to work! And she needs it, as she prepares for a show this fall. Her gallery is at 62 Queen Street, just off Meeting Street.You can't miss the charm of its black-and-white striped awnings.

Congratulations, Lese for all your fine accomplishments--and this large new space to make more beautiful art!

Lese in her new studio

NC Writers Conference

This year the NC Writers Conference--a longstanding, loosely organized group of NC writers--met in Asheville for its annual gathering. I loved every minute of the time there, the last weekend in July. I remember when I first attended back in the early 1990s as a guest of my late friend Marie Gilbert, who later nominated me for membership. I was starry eyed at being among so many talented writers, and I loved the warm spirit, the casual fun of the group. I still do love the group's laid-back, yet friendly energy.

This year Margaret Bauer, Programs Chair, asked me to moderate the session on the James Applewhite Poetry Prize, which meant that I got to introduce James Applewhite before he announced the winner of this year's contest sponsored annually by North Carolina Literary Review. I also got to introduce the finalists and honorable mentions for this year. And we all got to hear readings by them--plus a reading by Jim Applewhite from his new book Cosmos. Did I mention that I had a great time? Yes, all weekend!

Next year our gathering will be in "Little" Washington--Washington, NC. Can't wait!

The Blanket Stories anthology has been released

Honored to be in this anthology,
just released by Ragged Sky Press in July.
 
Richard Jochum & Ruth Zamoyta, editors
 

Jun 22: NCPS McIntyre's Poetry Reading Series

What a delight to read with Barbara G.S. Hagerty and Deborah Miller at McIntyre's Books in Fearrington Village near Pittsboro, NC, on June 22. NC Poetry Society leader Sara Claytor is in charge of planning the monthly series and does a wonderful job of rounding up poets to read. Barbara is the author of the newly released Twinzilla; Deborah is the author of Remants of Strawberry Blonde; and I read from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass. We were happy to read to a supportive audience, after which Sara offered a lively drawing from poems and art for those in attendance.

Thanks to the NC Poetry Society and to McIntyre's Books for offering this series.

Deborah, Susan, and Barbara

Fall Lines: Summer issue of Jasper magazine


Fall Lines reception, June 8, 2014
 
Fall Lines, the summer issue of Jasper: The Word on Columbia Arts, made its debut this summer. It offers a full issue of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with a prize in poetry and prose. Mary Hutchens Harris won the Saluda Poetry Prize, and Nicola Waldron won the Broad River Prize for Prose. A reception was held on Sunday, June 8, to celebrate Fall Lines, along with its prize winners and contributors. Here are the contributors for Fall Lines 2014. Congratulations to all! I'm happy to be included, among so many talented poets and writers.

Dig and Delve – Nicola Waldron
April, 1965 – Betsy Breen
Soon – Jonathan Butler
Accidentals – Mary Hutchins Harris
Forgotten – Marjory Wentworth
Militants Ban School Bells in a Town in Somalia – Marjory Wentworth
Taste the Sound – Jennifer Bartell
Davy Crockett’s Last Stand – Nancy Brock
Like – Jo Angela Edwins
Island Time – Josephine Humphries
What I wish I had said to Billy Collins – Brandi Perry
Queens – Alexis Stratton
Almost – Angie Zealberg
Ghost Crabs – Hastings Hensel
Lap – Robert Petersen
Like a little bell he trembles III – Matthew Stark
Pilgrimage – Christopher Dickey
Want a ride? – Aïda Rogers
A Bike – Bob Blencowe
Cancer Voodoo II – Melissa Johnson
The Ache of Beekeeping – Tony Tallent
Ruts – Ray McManus
At Congaree Swamp – Nicola Waldron
My Father’s Chest – Jarred Coffin
Jumping into the Abyss of History, A Prologue – Megan Volpert
you burn me – Susan Laughter Meyers
The Gunpowder Craze – Doug Berg
One Quiet Morning – William Claxon
In May’s Blue Box – Linda Lee Harper
What Tassio Fulgrass Thinks of Life – Susan Levi Wallach
Letting You Die – Marlena Impisi
early November – Laura Rashley
Crazing – Lisa Hammond
Mission – Tara Powell
The Ride Back – Jo Ann Hoffman
Open Windows – Matt Mossman
Fishing for Bream – Ivan Young
Through a Glass Darkly – Debra Daniel

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ragged Sky Press: Blanket Stories Project


The Blanket Stories Project is based on the following fable: 
 Five siblings inherit a blanket. They lie beneath it, together, to stay warm.
But arms and legs stick out and the siblings squabble and tug. They do
not realize that they would all fit if they just moved closer together.

The project initially put a call out to poets, artists, and musicians to respond to the fable. The results consist of a gallery of poems and art, as well as a print anthology to be published by Ragged Sky Press. I'm pleased to have a poem in the project. My poem “Blankets, a Childhood” is exhibited in the gallery and will later appear in the anthology.

Here is my poem, displayed in the online gallery.

In June there will be a launch for the project:
Blanket Stories Launch
Friday, June 6 at 5:00pm
Macy Gallery, Teachers College, 525 W 120 Street, NYC

Congratulations, Ragged Sky Press!

Magnolia Gardens Poetry Contest

This spring Magnolia Plantation and Gardens offered its Garden of Romance poetry contest, and one of my poems won second prize. Naturally I'm thrilled. The winning poems are posted on Magnolia's website and Facebook page.

Here are the results for the adult division. The judges selected poems that “best emulated the sensibility of romantic poets and described Magnolia as an idyllic "garden of romance."
  • Pam Stewart, Summerville, "O! Magnolia," first place, $500
  • Susan Laughter Meyers, Summerville, “Morning Meditation,” second place, $300
  • Warren Slesinger, Beaufort, “White Blossoms,” third place, $200
  • Frances J. Pearce, Mount Pleasant, “Magnolia-on-the-Ashley,” honorable mention, $50
  • Liz Rose Dolan, Rehoboth Beach, Del., “Even If It Rains, I Will Wait in the Garden,” honorable mention, $50
  • Davi Walders, Chevy Chase, Md., “May Light,” honorable mention, $50

The results for the youth division are also posted on Magnolia's website.



May 16 - 18: Last weekend's SC Book Festival


Last weekend’s 18th annual SC Book Festival drew its usual crowds, and I was delighted to be a part of it:

May 16-18
SC BOOK FESTIVAL
Columbia Convention Center
Columbia, SC
Sunday, May 18, 1:30 p.m. panel: "Diverse Verse"
with Gil Allen, Barbara Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers & Marjory Wentworth; Ed Madden, moderator
free & open to public
http://scbookfestival.org

I especially enjoyed hearing Nikki Giovanni talk and read a couple of poems in her session. That session was one of only two poetry events offered at the Festival. So the other events there that I attended featured writers of other genres. Sessions I sat in on included Christopher Buckley, the keynote speaker; novelist Gail Godwin; and a roundtable by Pat Conroy and his siblings.

Those of us on the poetry panel were happy to see the room filled with about 50 poets and friends of poetry. Gil read a couple of poems from his new book Catma; Barbara from Twinzilla; me from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass; and Marjory from her New and Selected. (Ed will be reading from his new book, Nests, at next year’s Festival.)

Barbara Hagerty and I would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful Hub City Press booth for carrying our books: her Twinzilla (The Word Works, 2014) and my own My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass (Cider Press Review, 2013).

The Poetry Society of SC and LILA shared a booth in the Festival’s exhibit hall—with members taking turns to be at the booth. Among them—Debbie Scott, outgoing president of PSSC; Frances Pearce; Barbara Hagerty; Linda Annas Ferguson; and me. Linda was my guest for the weekend, giving us a chance to catch up on all things poetry and non-poetry. Such a fun-filled weekend!