Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 12: Reading of poems from the book SEEKING

Last Thursday, December 12, poet NIKKY FINNEY and artist JONATHAN GREEN were featured at a reading of poems from Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, an anthology edited by Kwame Dawes and Marjory Wentworth. Nine other poets also read poems from the book. The event was held at the Charleston Library Society, and all proceeds were donated to the Library Society. Sponsoring the event were The Poetry Society of SC, LILA (Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts), and the Charleston Library Society.

Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green

Besides Nikky Finney, the poets reading included SC Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, emcee for the evening, who read a poem by Dawes. The audience also enjoyed hearing from Jonathan Green about how he and Nikky Finney connected a number of years ago, eventually leading to this project. Also reading their poems were these poets:
  • Susan Laughter Meyers
  • Dennis Ward Stiles
  • Linda Annas Ferguson
  • Bryan Penberthy
  • Barbara G. S. Hagerty
  • Mary Hutchins Harris
  • Ellen E. Hyatt
  • Marcus Amaker
The Seeking anthology, published by the University of South Carolina Press, contains both poetry and prose inspired by Jonathan Green's oil painting Seeking, commissioned by Mepkin Abbey and exhibited there. The painting depicts Green's childhood spiritual journey that followed the Gullah tradition of going into the woods as a child to seek one's faith and spiritual understanding.

Three poems published in Crazyhorse, fall 2013 issue

Thanks to Crazyhorse literary journal for publishing three of my poems in their latest issue. I was pleased to have "Dear E," "You Offer Apology," and "Anatomy of a Drowning" included among some fine poems and prose. Other poets whose work is in the issue are these:

  • Lindsey D. Alexander
  • Hadara Bar-Nadav
  • Bruce Beasley
  • Jon Davis
  • Danielle Cadena Deulen
  • Melina Draper
  • CJ Evans
  • Matthew Gwathmey
  • Raza Ali Hasan
  • Matthew Hittinger
  • Robert Huotari
  • Ogaga Ifowodo
  • L. S. Klatt
  • Shara Lessley
  • Frannie Lindsay
  • Cate Lycurgus
  • Marc McKee
  • Michael Metivier
  • Catherine Pierce
  • Mark Svenvold
  • Gabriella R. Tallmadge
  • Jillian Weise
  • Amy Wollard

Congratulations to all.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass is reviewed in JASPER

Thanks to Jasper Magazine--The Word on Columbia Arts, for publishing a review of My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass. I am especially appreciative that reviewer Jonathan Butler gives such a perceptive interpretation of the book. Here is his overview: "These poems are clear-eyed and elegiac, celebratory of life's wonders and mournful for the beings, places, feelings and things we lose along the way, including, eventually, ourselves." He also points out the book's central irony: ". . . [E]ven the songbirds are foreign, ambassadors of a world that is a source of beauty and joy, but also incomprehensible and cruel. The irony is that we are natives to this foreign world, and that our interactions with its other beings often reveal us to be strangers to ourselves."

What poet could ask for a more-articulate, more-thoughtful review?

For up-to-date news on the arts in Columbia, visit Jasper's website or blog to subscribe to this beautiful print magazine.


Poem "Dear Yellow Speed Bump" featured in Poetry Newsletter

I've had yet again the good fortune of beng featured by poet Diane Lockward, this time in her monthly Poetry Newsletter. In the December issue my poem "Dear Yellow Speed Bump" is featured. Immediately following the poem Diane discusses its craft and uses the poem as the basis for a prompt. What a delight for me!

If you're a poet, I hope you'll try the prompt. Writing epistolary, or letter, poems is fun. It offers a good opportunity for talking about surface things while delving deeper at the same time. Be sure to sign up for Diane's Poetry Newsletter, so you'll receive monthly prompts, craft tips, book recommendations, links, and videos--all about poetry. And the newsletter is free! You can go to Diane's website to sign up.

I feel lucky to have my work in such a terrific resource, among the works of so many talented poets!

Here are Diane's two latest books, both available at or Wind Publications.

Diane's book on craft
Diane's latest poems  

Poem "Coastland" featured on Diane Lockward's Blogalicious


Poet Diane Lockward has a blog that is a rich resource for poets: Blogalicious: Notes on Poetry, Poets, and Books, and she periodically features poems on the blog, with an interview and a recording of the poet reading the featured poem. I am honored that a few days ago she posted my poem "Coastland" as a feature. Please visit her blog and see what questions she has about my process of writing this poem, one from my new book My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass. The interview was a meaningful experience for me, giving me a chance to think about how this poem came about and how I arrived at decisions along the way in writing it. I am positive that I know the poem better now than I ever would have without the interview.

Recording a reading of the poem was a challenge, mostly because I don't record often enough to remember how to use the recording software from one time to the next. So I was at it for a number of takes. But I'm grateful for what I learned, and I hope the step-by-step process will stick with me for next time. I can tell that when you know what you're doing, recording is great fun; and I hope--ha!--to one day know what I'm doing. I welcome every chance to get better at it.

Thank you, Diane Lockward!