Columbia's Favorite Poetry - Today Featuring Aida Rogers

national poetry month.jpg

In celebration of National Poetry Month the Jasper Project invited several artists, writers, and leaders in the Columbia arts community to share with us their favorite poems and most of them generously accepted.

We’ve put together this collection of our favorite poems and will be sharing them with you, poem by poem, day by day, over the month of April. Some of the poems are old and traditional, others are new and inventive. Some are whimsical, others are insightful. Some rhyme. Some don’t.

What they all have in common is that someone you know loves that poem – and this gives us such lovely insight into the soul of our community.

Thank you to everyone who shared their poetry with us.

And Happy National Poetry Month from Jasper.


Today's poem comes to us from Aida Rogers and here's what she says about it -- 

Here's one my grandmother would read to us. I didn't quite understand it, but the part about Little Bridget under the lake would just freak me out. Plus, what could sound more delicious to your ear and shivery up your spine and more adventurous in life than traveling "up an airy mountain and down the rushy glen"?



William Allingham (1824-1889)

          The Fairies

    UP the airy mountain, 
        Down the rushy glen, 
    We daren't go a-hunting
        For fear of little men; 
    Wee folk, good folk, 
        Trooping all together; 
    Green jacket, red cap, 
        And a white owl's feather!

    Down along the rocky shore
        Some make their home, 
    They live on crispy pancakes
        Of yellow tide-foam; 
    Some in the reeds
        Of the black mountain lake, 
    With frogs for their watch-dogs, 
        All night awake.

    High on the hill-top
        The old King sits; 
    He is now so old and gray
        He's nigh lost his wits. 
    With a bridge of white mist
        Columbkill he crosses, 
    On his stately journeys
        From Slieveleague to Rosses; 
    Or going up with music
        On cold starry nights, 
    To sup with the Queen
        Of the gay Northern Lights.

    They stole little Bridget
        For seven years long; 
    When she came down again
        Her friends were all gone. 
    They took her lightly back, 
        Between the night and morrow, 
    They thought that she was fast asleep, 
        But she was dead with sorrow. 
    They have kept her ever since
        Deep within the lake, 
    On a bed of flag-leaves, 
        Watching till she wake.

    By the craggy hill-side, 
        Through the mosses bare, 
    They have planted thorn-trees
        For pleasure here and there. 
    Is any man so daring
        As dig them up in spite, 
    He shall find their sharpest thorns
        In his bed at night.

    Up the airy mountain, 
        Down the rushy glen, 
    We daren't go a-hunting
        For fear of little men; 
    Wee folk, good folk, 
        Trooping all together; 
    Green jacket, red cap, 
        And a white owl's feather!



Aïda Rogers is a writer in Columbia who unfashionably likes poems that rhyme. She is the editor of the anthology series State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love. Volume 3 will be released in August by USC Press.


Aida Rogers

Aida Rogers

Announcing the Winners of Jasper's Fall Lines Writing Prizes

Fall Lines  


The Columbia Fall Line is a natural junction, along which the Congaree River falls and rapids form, running parallel to the east coast of the country between the resilient rocks of the Appalachians and the softer, more gentle coastal plain.


Jasper is delighted to announce the winners of the Fall Lines Poetry and Prose Writing Prizes sponsored by the Richland Library Friends and published in the inaugural issue of Fall Lines – a literary convergence.

Congratulations to Nicola Waldron, winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose for her piece "Dig and Delve," and to Mary Hutchins Harris, winner of the Saluda River Prize for Poetry for her poem, "Accidentals." A check for $250 accompanies each prize.

Work by Waldron and Harris will appear in Fall Lines along with poetry and prose by such award winning writers as Christopher Dickey, Josephine Humphries, and SC Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, as well as Aida Rogers, Ray McManus, Susan Levi Wallach, Susan Laughter Meyers and more. Fall Lines is edited by Cynthia Boiter with poetry editor Ed Madden.

With a single annual publication, Fall Lines is distributed in lieu of Jasper Magazine’s regularly scheduled summer issue via a partnership between Jasper Magazine and Richland Library, the University of South Carolina Press, One Columbia, and Muddy Ford Press. The South Carolina Academy of Authors and Roe Young State Farm Insurance Agency also serve as generous sponsors of the literary journal.

Fall Lines will release on Sunday, June 8th with a 4 pm reception and reading at the Richland Library.

Announcing the Jasper 2013 Artists of the Year Finalists in Dance, Music, Literary Arts, Theatre, and Visual Arts

Jasper leaf logo

With a total of 55 nominations, 20 adjudicators, and over 10 hours of deliberation behind us, Jasper Magazine is pleased to announce our top three finalists for the honor of

Jasper 2013 Artists of the Year


Dance, Music, Literary Arts, Theatre, and Visual Arts.



Wayland Anderson

Erin Bolshakov

Terrance Henderson


Phillip Bush

FatRat da Czar

The Restoration

~Literary Arts~

James Barilla

Janna McMahan

Aida Rogers


Bobby Bloom

Terrance Henderson

Vicky Saye Henderson

~Visual Arts~

Michaela Pilar Brown

Thomas Crouch

Philip Mullen


The above 15 artists were among 55 artists nominated by their peers and fans. Based on the information submitted with the nominations, a panel of judges selected the top three artists in each category to compete for the title

Jasper 2013 Artist of the Year.

Now the fun begins!

You’re invited to vote for your choice for Jasper 2013 Artist of the Year in each of the five categories by visiting Jasper's website

starting on Wednesday, September 25th.

There, you’ll find summaries of each artist’s accomplishments for the period of

September 15, 2012 – September 14, 2013.

The winners of Jasper 2013 Artist of the Year in Dance, Literary Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts will be announced on November 21, 2013 at the release of Jasper Magazine V. 003, N. 003 during Vista Lights. All 15 artists will be featured in the same issue of Jasper Magazine.

Go to

and vote for your choice of Jasper 2013 Artist of the Year starting on Wednesday, September 25th

Voting ends on midnight, October 20th, 2013.

Aida Rogers Talks About her Next Big Thing


What is the working title of your book?

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love

What is the genre of your book?

Anthology of essays about places in South Carolina

Where did the idea come from?

I really was taken by the “My Kind of Town” series Smithsonian Magazine was running that featured writers from around the country describing the town/cities where they lived. I thought it might be interesting to narrow that focus from a town or city to an actual place, like a hiding place. Writers being thinkers, I thought their opinions would be interesting.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

South Carolina writers tell us why one certain place in the state is so special to them.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took about 2 and a half years to solicit,  gather, and edit essays, artwork and photos for the collection – and to get various stages of proofs back to the publisher ready for printing.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

Fascination with the topic itself, and curiosity about what different writers would say, and how they would say it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The anthology will be published by the University of South Carolina Press.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

National Geographic published an anthology titled Heart of a Nation that included an essay by Spartanburg writer John Lane. John also contributed to State of the Heart. Heart of a Nation was about natural places in the country; State of the Heart was open to whatever different writers came up with—sports arenas and cafes, for instance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There are 35 essays, so I won’t try to do them all. Still, I’ll take some artistic license in terms of whether these talented souls are performing in this world or the next:

Brian Dennehy – Pat Conroy

Mary Steenburgen – Liz Newall

Diane Keaton – Ceille Baird Welch

Charles Durning – Billy Deal

Sissy Spacek – Robin Asbury Cutler

Geraldine Page – Dot Jackson

James Garner – Ken Burger

Alfre Woodard – Dianne Dinah Johnson

Andy Griffith – Kirk Neely

Jon Voight – Tom Poland

Teri Garr – Cindi Boiter

Donald Sutherland – Deno Trakas


What else about your manuscript might pique the reader’s interest?

Because I purposely didn’t suggest places to writers, I was very surprised by the places they chose, and the personal nature of some of them. Some writers chose to write about places that are no longer here, so younger readers will learn that when you erase a few decades from a place, you’re in some ways wandering through a foreign country. There is a lot of wisdom in these essays. Many of the contributors have experienced a lot in their lives, and through these essays, they honor people who have been very important to them.

The Next Big Thing - by Cindi Boiter

I feel a little guilty using What Jasper Said to post my answers to The Next Big Thing, the hot new meme going around our community in which writers tag one another and ask that they write about their newest projects. But given that my newest project was published by Muddy Ford Press and that MFP underwrites Jasper Magazine, there's a sweet symbiosis to it that I cannot deny. Here's how it works -- after having been tagged (my thanks to Cassie Premo Steele for tagging me), the newly tagged author is required to self-interview, answering 10 pre-determined questions. After having answered these questions, she tags another five writers to do the same.

Here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

The Limelight -- A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, volume 1

What is the genre of your book?

Essay collection

Where did the idea come from?

Columbia, SC is a city that is reeling with a multitude of artists from different genres, particularly the literary arts. We have an inordinate number of professional writers here, yet we don't really have a sense of ourselves as a writing community -- though we are. I'd love to play some part in helping us to form a more unified community of writers. I want Columbia to be known as a "writers' town." To that end, I invited 18 local writers to contribute first person narrative essays about another local artist -- writer, visual artist, musician, dancer, theatre artist, whatever -- who had influenced them in some way.  I had the pleasure of editing the essays.

Clearly, one volume is not enough to represent the artists and authors we have here, so I decided to serialize the compendium with the plan of publishing it on an annual basis.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Columbia, SC essayists sing the praises of Columbia, SC artists.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I issued the call for essays in the summer of 2012 with an autumn deadline. We went to press in February 2013.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

The community of Columbia artists.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book was published by Muddy Ford Press.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I don't really know of any other books with the same model.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, there are 36 "characters" if we include both the contributors and the subjects of their essays.

The essay I wrote was about the artist Blue Sky, so, naturally Clint Eastwood would play Blue. For me? Lisa Kudrow or Terri Garr.

Ed Madden would be played by Jon Cryer and James Dickey by Jon Voight.

Jeffrey Day? Woody Allen, of course. James Busby would be played by Channing Tatum (that's right, I said it.)

I'd like to cast Christopher Walken to play someone, but I'm not sure who ... a much older Chad Henderson, maybe? Just for kicks?

Patrick Wilson would play Kyle Petersen with Sheryl Crow playing Danielle Howle (though I like Danielle's voice far better).

Billy Murray would play the part of Stephen Chesley and the part of Susan Lenz would be played by Julia Louis Dreyfus.

Vicky Saye Henderson would play herself.

What else about your manuscript might pique the reader's interest?

Some of the first lines are spectacular. For example, poet Ray McManus opens his essay about Terrance Hayes with this, "When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."

And ballet dancer Bonnie Boiter-Jolley's first line about her mentor Stacey Calvert is brutally honest when she says, "When I first met Stacey Calvert over a decade ago, she explained to me how being a dancer is a very selfish thing."

And there are 16 more.


That's the end of the interview and I have to admit that it was fun. In an effort to share the fun and keep this meme going I'm tagging Aida Rogers, Don McCallister, Debbie Daniel, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Susan Levi Wallach. And I'm inviting them all to post their answers to me so I can share them with our readers. I think there's something about Wednesdays and deadlines also as I was tagged on a Wednesday and told to blog on the next Wednesday. So, by next Wednesday, I hope to have even more Next Big Things to share.

Thanks for reading,





First Lines -- an invitation from Jasper

"As she sat stunned in her car on Charleston's rickety old John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, trapped precariously 150 feet above the swift-moving waters of the Cooper River, ..."


"When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."


"It was a Tuesday night in the spring of 1988 and I decided to head down to Pug's in Five Points for the weekly jam session."


"This essay is not an act of revenge."


"Bastille Day 2001, personal date of independence."


"It's a particularly hot summer day, even for Columbia, when I parallel park my car on Washington Street and notice a tall, lanky gentleman as he moves stiffly to reposition an over-sized canvas by the curb."


"It began with a gift."

 Ahh, first lines.

Every literary adventure you've ever been on began with one.

Please join the Jasper and Muddy Ford Press family today as we celebrate the first lines above and more than a dozen more when we launch our newest book,

The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists,

volume 1,

with a launch party from 5 – 8 pm at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street in Columbia.

The $15 admission to the event includes a copy of The Limelight ($18 after 2/24/13), music, food, and the opportunity to gather signatures from authors and artists in attendance at the launch. For couples wishing to share a book, admission is $25.

There will be a cash bar.

The Limelight, published by Muddy Ford Press, LLC, is the first volume in a serialized collection of 18 first-person, narrative essays written by professional Columbia authors and artists about professional Columbia authors and artists. It is the sixth book to be published by Muddy Ford Press since February 2012.

Edited by Jasper Magazine founder and editor Cynthia Boiter, The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, Volume 1 is a serialized collection of first person narrative essays written by Columbia, SC writers and artists about Columbia, SC writers and artists. As the Southeast’s newest arts destination, Columbia is bursting with visual, literary, and performing artists whose work has caught the attention of the greater arts world at large, and these essays tell the stories of how the influence of these artists has spread. New York Times best-selling author Janna McMahan, for example, writes about spending a day touring Beaufort, SC, the hometown of literary giant Pat Conroy, with the writer himself. Poet Ed Madden writes about the disconcerting words of advice he received from dying poet and professor James Dickey when Madden took over teaching the last academic course of Dickey’s career. Music writers Michael Miller and Kyle Petersen share insights on saxophone great Chris Potter and contemporary singer-songwriter Danielle Howle, respectively, and poet Cassie Premo Steele writes about the inspiration stemming from her friendship with nationally-known visual artist Philip Mullen.

These 18 essays include works by and about poets Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Marjory Wentworth, Ray McManus, Cassie Premo Steele, Kristine Hartvigsen, Colena Corbett, and Ed Madden; visual artists Philip Mullen, Gilmer Petroff, Blue Sky, James Busby, Stephen Chesley, and Susan Lenz; musicians Chris Potter and Danielle Howle; dancers Stacey Calvert and Bonnie Boiter-Jolley; actors and directors Robert Richmond, Greg Leevy, Chad Henderson, Vicky Saye Henderson, Jim and Kay Thigpen, and Alex Smith; and writers and editors James Dickey, Pat Conroy, Janna McMahan, Aida Rogers, Michael Miller, Jeffrey Day, Kyle Petersen, Robbie Robertson, Don McCallister, Robert Lamb, August Krickel, and Cynthia Boiter.

For more information or to order online please go to