Saturday, May 25, 2013

Poetry Month, April 2013

April certainly did bring a busy month for me. The first weekend was not poetry, but our Mississippi Music Educators/Choral Directors State Conference in Hattiesburg, MS. Three of my wonderful students were chosen to sing with the Elementary Honor Choir. (Only 5 from each school are allowed to tryout.) The concert was beautiful.  I also attended many workshops during the week.

The next weekend, April 12-14, was the Mississippi Poetry Society 2013 Spring Festival at Ocean Springs, MS. You can read about here. I was proud that my music students (also in TAG) won top honors with their great poems! I'm also pleased that our 3rd graders make their own books and have an "Author's Tea" each year in May. Way to go teachers!

I had a weekend off : )

The last weekend of April was Experiencing Poetry, hosted by Lorelei Books and the Mississippi Writers Guild. The day began with a workshop on Ekphrastic Poetry with facilitator Irene Lathum, a Birmingham poet and novelist. Her debut historical novel LEAVING GEE'S BEND (Putnam/Penguin, 2010)  was awarded Alabama Library Association's 2011 Children's Book Award. Her latest novel is DON'T FEED THE BOY (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2012). She is the poetry editor for Birmingham Arts Journal, and has two award-winning poetry collections WHAT CAME BEFORE (Negative Capability Press, 2007) and THE COLOR OF LOST ROOMS (Blue Rooster Press, 2010).  The workshop was so informative and fun. We were happy to have a 14 year old young lady in attendance. She is quite talented! It's always a pleasure to know that poetry will continue to thrive in the years to come.

After lunch we heard readings by Irene and also the 2011-2013 Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. A native of Boston, she has lived in Louisiana since 1976. Her poetry collections include Jazz Funeral (Story Line Press, 2009), which received the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and Rhythm & Booze (University of Illinois Press, 2003), a winner of the National Poetry Series and finalist for the 2005 Poets’ Prize. The anthology that she co-edited with Grace Bauer (Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox) was a finalist for the 2007 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) book prize in poetry. She is also the associate editor for 20th century poetry of the Longman anthology of Southern literature, Voices of the American South (2005), and the co-author of the memoir Counterpart: A South Vietnamese Naval Officer’s War (Naval Institute Press, 1998), which became a History Book Club Featured Alternate Selection. Her poems appear in more than thirty anthologies including Poetry: A Pocket Anthology (Penguin, 2012); Villanelles (Everyman’s Library, 2012); Hot Sonnets (Entasis Press, 2011); The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume 4, Louisiana (Texas Review Press, 2011); A Field of Large Desires: A Greville Press Anthology 1975-2010 (Carcanet, 2010); and The Book of Irish American Poets from the 18th Century to the Present (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). They have also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and in journals such as The Antioch Review, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, and The Southern Review. A former George Bennett Fellow in Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy, New Orleans Writer-in-Residence at Tulane University, and Fulbright Scholar at Vilnius Pedagogical University in Lithuania, Julie teaches at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA where she is a Professor of English and Creative Writing, and on the faculty of the West Chester Poetry Conference.

We also were blessed to hear Jack B. Bedell, upcoming Louisiana Poet Laureate, Professor of English and coordinator of the programs in Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as editor of Louisiana Literature and director of Louisiana Literature Press. His most recent books are Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems, Call and Response, and Come Rain, Come Shine, all with Texas Review Press.

A discussion panel was hosted by A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Howard Bahr has authored four novels. In 2009, he received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters fiction award for his fourth novel, Pelican Road. Bahr won this year’s Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Literary Arts. He lives in Jackson Mississippi, and teaches at Belhaven University.

A reception followed in the loft above Lorelei Book Store. Laura was the gracious host, and I had a wonderful time talking with Julie, Jack and his lovely wife.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MPS 2013 Spring Festival

The Mississippi Poetry Society 2013 Spring Festival was held in Ocean Springs, MS on April 12-14. Friday night Eva Alvara hosted a party at her beautiful home in Pascagoula. The sunset from her patio over the water was beautiful, as you can see.

 Dierdre Payne, contest coordinator, presented the contest awards.
Me and Elvis

My poem, I Can't Stop Loving You, won 1st Place in the Elvis themed poetry contest : )
There was a workshop with a panel comprised of Doris Jones, Ann Carolyn Cates and Mick Denington. Poems were read and critiqued. Ann Carolyn Cates introduced us to the Dorsimbra poem which is a form comprised of 12 lines that combines a particular order of rhyme, free verse and blank verse. She said this is a good form to try when we have writer’s block.

Ken Davies and Eva Alvara, performing after supper.
Festivities continued Sunday with a devotion by Dierdre Payne. She also presented the top award to... me! And was I ever surprised! I couldn't even remember which one I had submitted!
Wynne Huddleston reading "Devil's Due"1st Place MPS AWARD

Devil’s Due

by Wynne Huddleston
Devil’s gonna get his due
on Highway 61; he stirred up
tornados, put us through hail, and threw
rain at Old Man River ‘til he swoll up
in such a rage
from Illinois, to Louisiana
through the Mississippi Sound, now he’s
goin’ ag’in the law of nature—
pushin’ up,
instead of flowin’ down the Arkansas.

Devil’s gonna get his due.
Chasin’ deer and ants right out o’ the fields,
swallowin’ our homes, drinkin’ the catfish
ponds, takin’ Rolling Fork, eatin’ acres
and acres of cotton, sweet corn,
soybeans, and wheat planted
in the fertile Delta
soil with the sweat and toil
of the poor and the rich alike.

Devil’s gonna get his due.
Floodin’ Muddy Waters’
playground, and Elvis,’ too, messed up
them blue suede shoes. Hear the music
shake and shiver—a sorrowful
tune; our Blue Delta’s cryin’
a Mississippi River.

Devil’s gonna get his due.
Ev’ry body come to Vicksburg
to watch it, too. Gonna see if it’s
bad as the flood in ’26-‘27. They ain’t

waitin’ for the levee to break, no,
they done blowed it up to save
the big cities, left us
country folks to soak it up… but we ain’t
complaining’ cause we know

Devil’s always gonna get his due.

3rd Place for "Addicted"

President Brenda Finnegan presided over the business meeting and installed new officers.
Me, Secretary, Judy Davies, VP/Treasurer, Jeanne Kelly, President

About Me

My photo
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.