Poetry Out Loud

For any in the Jackson area who need a shot of poetry in the arm, the Mississippi state Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students will be held tomorrow at noon at the Mississippi Public Broadcasting building. I’m honored to serve again as one of the judges for the competition, and if it’s anywhere near as good as it was last year, it’s sure to be an electric afternoon. Best wishes to all the contestants!

Update, May 15th, 2012: Mississippi’s own Kristen Dupard was the 2012 POL National Champion! More details here.

Sackcloth and Ashes

All the talk around town is of the Tennessee Williams Festival next week, one of the highlights of the city’s literary calendar each year. On Saturday afternoon, the 24th, I’m honored to sit on a panel with Ava Leavell Haymon, Alison Pelegrin, and Julie Kane, moderated by Darrell Bourque (the latter two participants being the current, and former, Poets Laureate of Louisiana), and can’t wait to hear more of their wonderful work.

Perhaps most intriguing, however, is what’s happening the night before — the Lafcadio Hearn Late Night Revue organized by the People Say Project, a cabaret-style event at the New Orleans Healing Center that certainly promises to be one of the more eclectic events of the festival. Hearn, a prolific writer and journalist based in New Orleans in the late 1800s, is perhaps best known as the author of the famous quote that “…it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio,” an observation that rings as true today as it did over a century ago. More details about the event are available here.