Sunday, April 24, 2011

HOW ONE SOUTHERN POET CELEBRATES NATIONAL POETRY MONTH




 In an interview recently asking me how I celebrate National Poetry Month, I was for once, not at a loss for words. For the first time in years as a practicing poet, I have a new book to celebrate, Living Above the Frost Line, and it is during this special month I learned it has been nominated for the Weatherford Poetry Award and it was named one of four finalist for the Southern Independent Booksellers Award.


This April, when National Poetry Month arrived, I smiled because I had already made my plans in advance, and I have been joyfully celebrating poetry each day.

Over one year ago, while scheduling writing classes as Resident Writer at John C. Campbell Folk School, I put myself down for a poetry class in April 2011. Poetry writing classes are limited and have been for years. I've been teaching one poetry class and one mixed genre class each year. Yes, I started over one year in advance planning for a poetry writing class this April during National Poetry Month. It  was full joy to work with practicing poets from around the country.



Also to celebrate I chose one of our fine southern Appalachian poets Robert S. King to feature on this site. Robert S. King has recently moved back to live in the mountains. I  welcome him and celebrate his poetry which has already been featured twice this month. Two more posts with his poems will be posted before the end of April. Read his poems and celebrate National Poetry Month with me.

Another event that was planned over one year ago was an invitation for me  to judge the Clay County Historical and Arts Council 20th Annual Poetry Contest, now in process. Twenty years ago,  I cofounded this event while serving on the board of the Clay County Historical and Arts Council with Art Teacher Reba Beck of Shooting Creek.  For the past  twenty years, I have chosen the judge for the contest from among the practicing poets of NCWN West. Some who have judged in the past are
Kathryn Stripling Byer, Steven Harvey, Judy Goldman, Ruth Moose, Glenda Beall, Brenda Kay Ledford, Glenda Barrett, Mary Ricketson, Janice Townley Moore and others. An Evening of Art And Poetry takes place each year, at the Hayesville High School Lecture Hall, after the judging, with winners reading their poems and with the judge giving a public reading at the event. This year's Evening of Art and Poetry will be held May 5th.


I've never been happier as a poet than I am at this moment. My opportunity to read with Peg Russell last night at John C. Campbell Folk School for  the monthly POETS AND WRITERS READING POEMS AND STOIRIES, was for me the icing on the cake. It was our biggest audience with many members from Clay, Cherokee Counties and more of our Georgia members and a lot of folk school students from around the country. My spirit will soar all the way to the end of National Poetry Month.

3 comments:

Lynn Hamilton Rutherford said...

Celebrating with you, reading Bradbury on your deck and having Dandelion Wine in vintage glasses ... that was an epoch moment in my life!!!

Nancy Simpson said...

Lynn, I'm still thinking of your wonderful visit. That was the highlight of celebration for me. Now on to judging the poetry contest. So many good poems!

Glenda said...

I'm glad the reading was well attended. I am sorry i was not able to be there. I celebrated poetry month by purchasing a lovely little book of poems at Barnes and Noble. Seasons is a collection of poetry about all the seasons of the year and I especially loved the ones for spring.
Congratulations on your awards and nominations.