Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference

I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Chattahoochee Valley Writers' Conference in lovely Columbus, Georgia this weekend. I loved the fact that the workshops were an hour and a half long and were small enough that everyone had a chance to get to know each other. (Plus I won a door prize of several great books!) Sarah and I arrived just in time for the reading by Jessica Handler, author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir, who also gave a workshop the next day on Writing Through Grief. Other workshop presenters included:
Keith Badowski of Brick Road Poetry Press-- "How to Get Started, How to Keep Going: Poetry Prompts, Exercises, and Springboards for Those Times When Your Muse Takes a Vacation."
John Travis--Publishing in Today's World. John is the editor for a "very small literary press," Portals Press in New Orleans. 
Sarah Campbell--Earn $$ Before Getting Published, and Photos + Stories=Winning Nonficton.
Andy Harp, thriller author and Marine--Resources to Add Ring of Authenticity to Your Thriller.
Elsie Austin (veteran of the 30-Day Novel) --Writing a Novel in Thirty Days.
Scott Wilkerson-- Poetry About Poetry: How Language Looks at Itself.

Carson McCullers

After the workshop we had a great social at the great GA writer Carson McCullers' home.

 Me with Sarah Campbell in front of the McCullers home.

The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Carson McCullers; to nurturing American writers and musicians; to educating young people; and to fostering the literary and musical life of Columbus, the State of Georgia, and the American South. There is a call for papers and a huge 94th birthday celebration being planned for February 17-19, 2011! Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2010. For more information about this conference and more photos please click here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Poetry, Morality, Politics and Other News

When Natasha Trethewey was asked to detail "Why I Write" to get into a graduate university program, she says her father told her to read an essay on "Why I Write" by Orwell. Orwell claimed that writing without political thought was empty, dull. She says poets always have to defend why they write, not as a judge, but an advocate. She almost didn't get into the program because she was thought of as "too concerned with her message to write 'real' poetry." She looked up "message" and it said it refers to a theme with political, social or moral importance. What's wrong with that? She asked. Haven't these things always been a part of poetry? I ask that, too! In this video, "Why I Write: Natasha Trethewey on Poetry, History and Social Justice" she talks about how we "write what we are given" and that includes our influence of political, racial and spiritual backgrounds. What is the moral authority of a poet, if any? What is the newest software for poets? Is the BAP on the up and up? Should poetry readings replace prayers? Who was a scandalous poet in the 20s? Here are some interesting articles concerning poetry that I came across online recently.

Also, check out the poem in Glen Beck's trailor, even if you don't like or can't stand him. It's from The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling. You can read the entire poem, until they remove it, here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Natasha Trethewey, Mississippi's Own

Poet Natasha Trethewey, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin 2006) was born in Gulfport, Mississippi and now holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University. She won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize for her first poetry collection, Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts for Poetry and numerous other awards. Ms. Trethewey earned a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She was recently interviewed on NPR about her latest work, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf. I am happy to announce that Ms. Trethewey will be in Jackson, MS on Wednesday, September 8 at 5 p.m. for a book signing at Lemuria Bookstore. Her newest collection of poetry, Thrall, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Fall 2012. You can read some of her poems here. I absolutely love her poetry in Native Guard. She takes you into the very depths of her sorrow over the loss of her mother, just as she leads you into the despair of Mississippians in Beyond Katrina. I highly recommend both!

Natasha Trethewey Reading at Lemuria in Jackson, MS
UPDATE: She is now our State Poet Laureate and our US Poet Laureate!

About Me

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Wynne Huddleston is a poet, musician and teacher. Her first book of poetry, From the Depths of Red Bluff, ISBN: 978-0-9840483-2-8, published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc., is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ms. Huddleston is the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Poet of the Year. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications including the Birmingham Arts Journal, Camroc Press Review, Stymie Magazine, Danse Macabre, Orange Room Review, New Fairy Tales Anthology, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Four and Twenty. Her poem, Same Stars, Different Houses received a Pushcart Nomination from Deep South Magazine. Awards include the 2013 MPS Award, and Winner of the Grandmother Earth National Contest 2010 for Environmental Poetry. Ms. Huddleston was born in Lone Star, Texas, but has lived in Mississippi most of her life. She has been an elementary music teacher for 25 years, and has 2 grown sons, and 2 grandchildren.