Thanks to the University of South Carolina Press for asking me to participate on two panels at this year's South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. For the first panel, Sheila Morris moderated a session about the anthology Seven Strong: A South Carolina Poetry Book Prize Reader, 2006-2012. Marjory Wentworth, who wrote the foreword for the book, Ed Madden, Ray McManus, and I were on the panel. We each read a poem or two of our own work, plus the work of one of the four poets in the anthology who were not present: Worthy Evans, Delana Dameron, Julia Koets, and Jennifer Pournelle. Here are the books that are in the series:
Keep and Give Away (my collection), 2006
Driving through the Country before You Are Born, 2007, Ray McManus
Signals, 2008, Ed Madden
How God Ends Us, 2009, DeLana R. A. Dameron
Green Revolver, 2010, Worthy Evans
Excavation: A City Cycle, 2011, Jennifer Pournelle
Hold like Owls, 2012, Julia Koets
Seven Strong: A South Carolina Poetry Book Prize Reader, 2006-2012. Edited by Kwame Dawes. Foreword by Marjory Wentworth.
For the second panel, Charlene Spearen moderated. Artist Jonathan Green was the anchor of the panel, talking about his now-famous work of art titled Seeking, commissioned by Mepkin Abbey and the impetus for the anthology. He also explained the inspiration for the painting: his experience as a child wanting to join the church, a child who first was required to spend time alone in the woods as a part of the Gullah tradition's way of being trained to seek the depth of his commitment and the truth of his own life. Again, Marjory, Ed, Ray, and I participated on the panel. We talked about the spiritual connections that the Seeking project brought to us, and we each read our poem in the anthology. Poets Linda Annas Ferguson, Mary Hutchins Harris, and Ellen Hyatt joined us for a signing immediately following the panel session. It's amazing how much richer such an experience is when a whole group of poets is a part of it.
Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green. Edited by Kwame Dawes and Marjory Wentworth.