Once again Debbie Scott and I hit the road, this time to go to Columbia for a weekend of events sponsored by the South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA). Friday afternoon was a superb reading by poet Terrance Hayes. I can't say enough glowing things about his work and the reading. He's a poet I met a few years ago when he taught a public workshop-in-the-round in Columbia that I was lucky enough to be in, back in 2004 or so. It was a South Carolina Poetry Initiative event. I was also honored that Terrance Hayes selected my book Keep and Give Away for the inaugural SC Poetry Book Prize. So it's no wonder that I feel a special affection for him and his poetry. His latest two books are Wind in a Box and Lighthead.
On Saturday night there was a lovely reception at the Thomas Cooper Library, followed by the Induction Ceremony. Jack Bass, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, and Eugene Robinson were all inducted into the SC Literary Hall of Fame. Unfortunately Eugene Robinson couldn't be there; but the others gave meaningful, inspired responses to their inductions.
On Sunday morning there was a brunch at The Big Apple, a beautiful building for such an event. Fiction writer Thomas McConnell, of Spartanburg, and I read as winners of the fiction and poetry fellowships, respectively. I'm still up in the clouds over winning this year's Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship. I knew and loved Carrie, so it means all the more to me. Thank you SC Academy--and thank you, Carrie!