Amid the Mardi Gras madness, I’m delighted to serve as one of the judges for the Mississippi Poetry Out Loud state contest tomorrow, beginning at 1pm at the Mississippi Public Broadcasting studios in Jackson. POL is one of the state’s great treasures, a wonderful opportunity to see the talents of Mississippi’s hard-working high school students, and in recent years we’ve had a strong showing from our national contestants — in 2012, Kristen Dupard went on to win the national championship. The contest is free and open to the public, and the televised edition will be broadcast on March 29 on MPB. For anyone in the Jackson area, take a long lunch break and come join us!
I’m delighted to say I have a short piece in Notes and Queries on the contents of Italo Calvino’s bookshelf as found in If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, available here. Unfortunately the terms of the journal prevent its open distribution, but if any scholars out there are interested, please feel free to get in touch and I’ll see what I can do to get you a copy.
Pelican Bomb has a review of William Lamson’s new show, “Between Now and Forever,” currently on view at Antenna Gallery. It’ll still be up for a few days after Mardi Gras, for those in the New Orleans area.
The Dark Mountain collective in the UK has announced a number of upcoming events for the spring, one of which is the brilliant mini-festival Carrying the Fire to be held this coming May. For those back across the pond:
This year’s programme will delve into some of those ideas behind rewilding, exploring the links between large-scale wilderness restoration and our own need for wildness in our lives. To help with the delving, there will be talks from the likes of Alan Watson Featherstone, founder of Trees for Life (the project which has helped plant over a million trees in Glen Affric and adjacent glens) and Kate Rawles, director of Outdoor Philosophy and author of The Carbon Cycle; there will also be live art and performances from, amongst others, the amazing Feral Theatre; and there will be creative workshops with the likes of Margaret Elphinstone and Cumbrian poet Kim Moore.
How not to book a ticket this minute?
For those in the New Orleans area, A Studio in the Woods is celebrating the release of former resident Rebecca Snedeker’s Unfathomable City with the release of four additional broadside maps, reproduced from the book. The release of these maps comes alongside a series of events and conversations, one of which is tonight at Tulane. Called “Bass Lines: Deep Sounds and Soils,” the conversation will feature Mapo Kinnord-Payton, Christopher Esposito, and James Singleton, who will also perform an original composition on cello. Tonight at 6pm in Stone Auditorium, Woldenberg Art Center.
Today marks the kickoff of the Turn the Page literacy campaign, hosted by the New Orleans Public Library. They’re sponsoring 30 events in 30 days to promote literacy and reading among youth and adults alike. From the organizers:
Turn the Page is an important initiative with a bold goal – to make New Orleans the most literate city in America by its 300th birthday in 2018, which will be accomplished by raising awareness of issues, available resources and programming related to early childhood, school success, digital literacy and adult literacy. The campaign is an inclusive, collaborative literacy campaign spearheaded by the New Orleans Public Library and 10 regional parish libraries across southeast Louisiana. Turn the Page will include ’30 in 30,’ or 30 events in 30 days, targeted at moving the needle on literacy in Southeast Louisiana.
Wonderful work, and so needed– if you’re not able to stop into the library for any of the events, at the very least, pick up a book and read it!
The program for this year’s Tennessee Williams Festival is now officially live, and can be viewed here. This year’s Festival looks to be one of the best yet, with performances of Night of the Iguana and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (indisputably two of his best), scores of phenomenal poets and writers from across the country, and of course, a certain event on the closing day of the Fest.
I’m delighted to be chairing a panel on new Southern poetry, featuring three outstanding poets with debut collections out in the past year: S. Douglas Ray (He Will Laugh, Lethe Press), L. Lamar Wilson (Sacrilegion, Carolina Wren Press), and Lilah Hegnauer (Pantry, Hub City Press). The panel is scheduled for Saturday morning, provided, of course, that events on Friday night don’t get too far out of hand.
It goes without saying that TWFest is one of the highlights of the year in New Orleans– hope very much to see you there.