Over the past few weeks, despite so much struggle and suffering taking place across the country, it’s been wonderful to watch these renewed calls for replacing our old, outdated state symbols in favor of something new, inclusive, and forward-thinking for all Mississippians. The movement is gaining momentum, but there’s still more work to do. Which is why I’m proud to join my colleague and fellow historian @william_sturkey on a new series of articles educating the public of Hattiesburg and Forrest County on the long history of Hattiesburg’s Confederate monument, and calling for its relocation — a measure already backed by the City Council. More to come soon from a variety of different Hattiesburg area outlets, but we believe in this effort, and we’re honored to enter into this debate in civil, honest, and most of all, respectful ways.
Watch this space.
Amid these trying times, we have to find rays of hope. Though A Studio in the Woods wasn’t able to dedicate its beautiful new Writer’s Cabin due to the coronavirus, that hasn’t stopped the rest of its plans from going forward. Applications for its first round of Emerging Writers Residencies are open until April 13 — if you’re early in your career and need a week in the woods to focus on your manuscript, the Studio is actively seeking your application for its 2020-2021 season. Full details are available here.
Next week I’m honored to be the keynote speaker at the Mississippi Poetry Society annual conference, to be held at Lake Tiak O’Khata in north-central Mississippi. I’ll be speaking on recent trends in contemporary poetry in the state, and look forward to a vibrant gathering of poets, poetry lovers, readers, and more. Details on the conference, and how to register, are available at https://www.misspoetry.net/.
After many years of dreaming, planning, fundraising, and building, it’s a joy to see the new Writer’s Cabin at A Studio in the Woods finally opening its doors. Next Wednesday, a ceremony officially opening the Cabin will take place at the Studio, featuring remarks by Cheryl Landrieu, Rebecca Snedeker, Monique Verdin, and Dr. Michael White. Attendees at the dedication will have the opportunity to view the new space and participate in a tour of the grounds with A Studio in the Woods Environmental Curator David Baker or a tour of the facility and program with Managing Director Ama Rogan.
More information about the Cabin, and details on how to apply for its forthcoming residencies, is available at the Studio’s website.
What a pleasure it is to again serve as a judge for the Mississippi state Poetry Out Loud finals next week. Showcasing the talents of high school students reciting poetry before a live audience, it’s a wonderful afternoon that results in a state champion heading to Washington, DC — and as we saw in 2012, winning. The contest will be held at 1pm at Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and is open to the public.