Fall Lines Program Announced for Thursday, July 28th at Tapp's

Fall Lines

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 ~ 7 – 9 pm

Tapp’s Arts Center ~ Columbia, SC


7 – 8



8 – 9

Welcome & Recognition of Honored Guests – Cindi Boiter

Awarding of Prizes – Ed Madden & Kyle Petersen


Scott Chalupa

Claire Kemp

Kathleen Nalley

Travis Bland

Matthew O’Leary

Eileen Scharenbroch

Bo Petersen

Mark Rodehorst

Tim Conroy

Julie Bloemeke

Mike Miller

Jonathan Butler


Sincerest appreciation to Tapp’s Arts Center, Jonathan & Lorene Haupt, Sara June Goldstein, Bert Easter, One Columbia for Arts & History, Richland Library, Friends of Richland Library, South Carolina Academy of Authors, University of South Carolina Press, Muddy Ford Press, Columbia Museum of Art, SC Philharmonic, Rosewood Art & Music Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival


Poems Flow with Your Cup of Morning Joe via River Poems from One Columbia and the office of the Poet Laureate

  one columbia coffee


Local poets come together to create coffee sleeve poems about the historic flood and rivers of Columbia for national poetry month this April.


In conjunction with One Columbia for Arts and History, Ed Madden, the city of Columbia’s poet laureate, has created a project titled River Poems. This project will focus on bringing poetry to the people of Columbia during the entire month of April. Since 1996, April has been national poetry month, and one of the tasks of the poet laureate is to promote the literary arts. “As a project for the poet laureate, last year and this year both, we put poems on the buses. We had already decided the theme this year would be the river, because it is the theme for Indie Grits, but I think the flood added additional urgency to the theme,” says Madden.


Along with the bus project, the second project this year was to put the poems on coffee sleeves. “We’ve been trying to think of ways to promote poetry in unexpected places, so coffee sleeves felt like a really obvious place to put poetry,” says Madden. “You can drink your morning cup and read beautiful literature.”


Seven local writers came together for this wonderful opportunity to spread literature around the city. The writers include, Jennifer Bartell, Betsy Breen. Jonathan Butler, Bugsy Calhoun, Monifa Lemons Jackson, Len Lawson, Ray McManus, and Madden himself. After sending out a limited call to those artists to create a piece of poetry eight lines or fewer, each poem was then stamped on thousands of coffee sleeves that will be distributed at independent coffee shops around Columbia. Including both Drip locations, and the Wired Goat.


“I think the idea of the coffee sleeves is so smart. Columbia has a healthy relationship with the arts, especially the performing arts. But the city gives a lot of love to the fine arts, the design arts, and the literary arts that has thrived here for quite some time.  You’d expect that from a capital city to a certain extent. But what is unique in Columbia is that the art scene is so diverse, and there is a growing respect for that diversity. The literary scene is no exception. There is a little something for everyone here. I hope that resonates,” says Ray McManus, poet and author of the poem Mud.


Each of the eight poems centers around the idea of the river that runs through Columbia. This idea ties in with the theme of this year’s Indie Grits Festival, which is Waterlines as well as The Jasper Project’s multi-disciplinary project Marked by the Water, which will commemorate the first anniversary of the floods in October. There are also a few featured poems that represent the voices of people effected by the historic flood which ran through the city last October. Overall, each poems creates a sense of what the rivers mean to each poet, and how in many ways people are still mending together the pieces almost six months later.


When writing her poem titled What Stays, Betsy Breen was thinking back to a particular image she recollects from the flood. “I was thinking about the flood in October, and all the debris that washed up during that time. I have a particular image in my mind of a part of Gills Creek that I pass every morning on the way to work. The week after the rain stopped, it was filled with both keepsakes and trash. I was thinking of that when I wrote this poem,” says Breen.


It was almost opposite for McManus, who says most of his inspiration almost always comes from books and projects. “I love exploring directions that I didn’t otherwise intend. I’ve always been drawn to rivers; the way they perform; the way they’re always moving. And we depend on them more than we realize, especially in the most basic of functions. We grow from rivers, from the mud of rivers. At some point they become a part of who we are,” says McManus.


National poetry month begins on April 1. Columbia is sure to be celebrating all month with something to read as people drink their coffee and travel to work. “We are always looking for more ways to promote the arts, and I believe this year that includes a pretty unique project,” says Madden.


Don’t forget to pick up your cup of morning joe this month to feel the inspiration of poetry. Breen reminds us that “National Poetry month is much larger than this poem or project, of course, and I do hope people pay attention to all the different kinds of poetry around them.”

-- Alivia Seely

Art from the Ashes Final Event - Readings by the Literary Artists Tuesday Night

art from the ashes jpeg Tuesday night, join us for part three of Jasper's Art from the Ashes project -- a reading of the works in the monograph by the writers themselves.

7 pm at Tapp's

Readers include:

Betsy Breen - winner of the Best in Book Award, sponsored by Historic Columbia

Al Black

Jonathan Butler

Debra Daniel

Rachel Hainey

Ed Madden

Don McCallister

Tom Poland

Susan Levi Wallach

Cindi Boiter

Art from the Ashes Book Launch and Gallery Opening on February 1st at Tapp’s - A JASPER Project

art from the ashes jpeg  

Over the course of four evenings in the summer of 2014, more than two dozen literary, visual, and musical artists gathered in the Jasper Magazine office with experts on the February 17th, 1865 burning of Columbia. The artists immersed themselves in the events that took place the night of the burning as well as the days and nights leading to and immediately following it. Six months later, their inspirations have come to fruition in a multi-disciplinary series of arts events – Art from the Ashes.

Art from the Ashes cover


Art from the Ashes: Columbia Residents Respond to the Burning of Their City is a collection of poetry, prose, and even a screenplay by some of Columbia, SC’s most dynamic writers, including Ed Madden, Tara Powell, Ray McManus, Susan Levi Wallach, Tom Poland, Al Black, Jonathan Butler, Rachel Haynie, Debra Daniel, Will Garland, Betsy Breen, and Don McCallister. Edited by Jasper Magazine’s Cynthia Boiter, it is a publication of Muddy Ford Press and the first in the press’s new series, Muddy Ford Monographs.


In concert with the book launch, Art from the Ashes: The Gallery will open on the same evening, also at Tapp’s, and will run throughout the month of February. Participating visual artists include Susan Lenz, Kirkland Smith, Christian Thee, Michael Krajewski, Jarid Lyfe Brown, Whitney LeJeune, Mary Bentz Gilkerson, Cedric Umoja, Michaela Pilar Brown, Alejandro Garcia-Lemos, and Kara Gunter.

artist - Kirkland Smith


Join us as we celebrate the book launch and gallery opening from 5 – 7 pm. Visual artists will be on hand to answer questions about their work and literary artists will be signing and reading from their writings. Musician Jack McGregor, who created a three movement musical composition in response to the burning, will premiere his work as well.

artist - Jarid Lyfe Brown

artist - Kara Gunter

artist - Michael Krajewski

artist - Christian Thee


Additional events include a Visual Artists Panel Presentation on Thursday, February 5th at 7 pm and a Reading and Book Signing on February 17th at 7 pm, followed by a concert by Columbia-based musical artist, the Dubber.


All events take place at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street and are free and open to the public


In Jasper No. 3, Vol. 3: Artists + Poets Collaborate in Columbia Broadside Project

"'Getting 30 people to work together is a bit of a logistical nightmare,' laughs Darien Cavanaugh, coordinator for the Columbia Broadside Project, an ambitious venture pairing South Carolina writers and artists in collaborative projects. But if all goes as planned, the Columbia Broadside Project show will open at Tapp's Art Center on January 17, with an impressive range of original and collaborative writing and art--a type of collaboration, Cavanaugh says, that we haven't seen before. ..." - Ed Madden For the full article, artwork, and centerfold, view the magazine here:

Review -- A Woman with Keys: Nikky Finney’s Rice by Jonathan Butler


Nikky Finney’s Rice, originally published in 1995 but available in a new edition from TriQuarterly Books, is literature performing  the functions of oral culture: the transmission of stories, legends, warnings, and a sense of history and community. Finney’s topics are the lives and experiences of Black folks in coastal South Carolina, and Rice presents us with speakers from different eras, consistently giving a sense of a living voice, often speaking out of the past, but always with the urgency of the present. Some things are remembered for inspiration and strength, and others as cautions, as with the tale of a white doctor who drunkenly births a child with disastrous results in “The Afterbirth, 1931”:

And because he came with his papers in his pocket

so convincing

so soon

after his Ivy graduation

asking us hadn’t we heard

telling us times had changed

and the midwife wasn’t safe anymore

even though we had all been caught

by tried and true Black grannies

who lay ax blade sharp side up

and placed the water pan underneath the bed

The poem’s ache is especially poignant because of the promise, represented by the doctor’s race and education, that this birth would be a step forward for the family, a hope that turns out to be naive: too much faith a white stranger’s accreditations, not enough trust in their own practices and perceptions:

We should’ve let Grandpop

loose on him from the start

and he would’ve held him up

higheye to the sun

and looked straight through him

just like he held us up

and then he would have known first

like he always knew first

and brought to us

the very map of his heart

then we would have known

just what his intentions were

with our Carlene

It’s a hard-earned lesson, like much of what is contained in Rice, and Finney is determined to see that it isn’t forgotten. That poem and others in the book emphasize the combined knowledge of its characters, keenly aware of the role a community plays in sustaining its members. Establishing such a community is one function Finney finds for poetry in Rice, and this feature of the book goes hand in hand with her skill in crafting language that feels authentic and spoken.  Poetry must serve this function, Finney’s book suggests, because Hollywood is unwilling or unable to:

Why can’t a story sell

less somebody kill molest mutilate me

or make my BabyDarling buffoon fall through a roof

she asks in “Pluck,” a poem that takes aim at narratives that present Black characters either as one-dimensional buffoons, or that reduce the horrors of slavery to melodrama and tawdry romance:

Slavery was no opera

soaped or staged

was no historical moment

when African women conceived children

out of love for white men

The desire for representations of Blacks is strong, Finney acknowledges, but cautions against accepting portrayals that deny people their dignity, complexity, intelligence, or anger:

Sometimes when they know we are starving

they will throw stale bread

but don’t eat right then

hold out     turn away

refuse and reach for your heart   your liver   your lungs

This is the bad bread that Rice is offered as nourishing alternative to, the title crop coming to stand for the knowledge and skill of those that produced it. As a counter to popular media’s oversights, Rice offers accounts of real people, like FX Walker II, a mapmaker whose craft suggests a parallel to the poet’s, or Finney’s own grandfather, Ernest A. Finney Jr., first Black chief justice of the state of South Carolina, characterized in “He Never Had It Made” by his faith in hard work and the law:

He is the Justice Man

and from waiting tables as a young lawyer

for the white and the privileged

to this day here   he has always believed

back then as a boy with only a road

up here as a man who never looks back


The law works Girl

While Rice is a deeply personal book, as the family photographs accompanying the poems make clear, it also situates the personal within a larger history, reminding us that personal history is already social, and that history is personal. If no one will testify to the sufferings and triumphs of real people, then those experience and their lessons may be erased. “Daguerre of Negras” speaks explicitly to these concerns, noting that “They will ask for your evidence / Might you have a photo?”:

They will tell you it never happened

Cause proof must be in a tin plate

And where pray tell is yours

In these poems, bodies themselves are stamped with history. “Making Foots,” which documents the mutilation of Black feet by fire, blunt force, blades, and disregard, concludes:

If your Black foot

ever wakes you up

in the night

wanting to talk about something

aching there

under the cover

out loud

for no apparent



There is reason

But while it’s a reminder of past injustices, and an acknowledgement that they continue in different forms, Rice is also a celebration of the community it evokes. What must be remembered are not only the indignities suffered in the past, but the dignity of those who suffered them. In his foreword, Kwame Dawes writes “What a poet like yourself does is to reinstate the concept of the poet as a griot—as priest, not void of subjectivity and a private self but able to contain the voices of the community—virtually empowered with the gift to develop a soul for the people” (x). Here, the many voices in Finney’s poems insist, I will tell my own story. And each voice is like the one in “A Woman with Keys”:

I am a woman with keys

Unlocking all the buildings

That now belong

To me

Finney has unlocked history for her speakers. Now they occupy history’s rooms, ready for their stories to be heard


-- Jonathan Butler

Book Review -- Hating the Goddamn Peas: Angela Kelly’s Voodoo for the Other Woman by Jonathan Butler


There are no happily-ever-after endings in Angela Kelly’s Voodoo for the Other Woman (Hub City Press, 2013). This is a book of bad women, bad accidents, and bad news. Kelly has a gift for understatement and a voice that can speak unpleasant truths convincingly, in part because she lets the images speak for themselves:

A week later, Mother was white blonde again,

she came home with somebody named Pastor Arthur Ray,

he’d prayed with her, she said, though they smelled

of whiskey, his auburn toupee, crooked, tilted left.

And while its poems deal with such personal matters as heartbreak, infidelity, disease, childhood trauma, and substance abuse, Voodoo for the Other Woman doesn’t seem confessional, in part because Kelly spreads the book’s meditations on disillusion and desire across decades and personae, and in part because these poems maintain a cutting sense of humor. Kelly has a skill for sketching characters in a few details, as in “The Swannanoa Juvenile Detention Center for Girls”:

Next week, the Home Economics class will turn to cooking.

They are going to make chicken pot pie

with a fine golden crust. Jayne Ann says no green peas

are going in her pot pie. She hates goddamn peas.

In spite of the pain stitched through this book, the characters are handled with compassion, rather than venom, and the few moments of tenderness the book offers are more poignant for the destruction around them, gleaming like the broken glass at the conclusion of “Char’s Crossing”:

In the rearview mirror, the three-legged dog

wagged his entire body in farewell.

The acres of broken bottles winked out.

These poems are a requiem for the reckless passions of youth as well as an acknowledgement that childhood’s terrors and injustices persist into adulthood, as in “Dear Boys & Girls of the Playground,” where

Touching your thigh, you look around

for the rubber dodge ball, red and bouncy;

it could tear down the hall at any time.

Destruction often follows in desire’s wake in this poems. After the ecstatic groping there is always a vicious comedown, a severe hangover, sometimes paired with a literal hangover, as in “To Take a Vacation Alone”:

The hung-over mornings, when I wake at dawn,

panicked at the anonymous room, finally recognizing

the roll of surf, the open balcony doors, how the sea air

has seduced my sheets, reducing them to damp rags.

Gauze, perhaps, for a wound I have not even felt.

Cancer and life-threatening pregnancy loom in poems like “How to Prepare for Invasive Surgery” (“I would like to slip inside your jacket and be / the extra button stitched in the silk lining”). Kelly has a gift for striking juxtapositions, as in “Fear Comes Like  a Whistle, a Depot, the Train Itself”:

In the waiting room, I had thumbed through Cosmo-

“The Secret Parts of Your Body Which He Really Wants.”

Womb full of baseball tumors was not on the list.

The inanity of commercial culture in the face of profound personal suffering and loss is a recurring theme. Many of the topics covered are not the kind of thing advertisers want potential customers reading about next to their sales pitches, and Kelly’s book makes an argument for poetry as a place where they can be discussed honestly, with no concern for the sensibilities of advertisers. Like the “The Swannanoa Juvenile Detention Center for Girls,” poetry is a place where you can admit to hating “the goddamn peas.”And since many of the book’s topics, like uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancy, are “women’s issues,” Kelly could be said to be carving out a space for frank discussion of these topics ignored by the media at large. But Kelly’s book isn’t a feel-good celebration of mutual womanhood, either: when we meet the persona of the title poem, she’s putting a hex on a romantic rival, so that

When she steps off the curb,

her ankle may snap, or better yet,

the city bus rounding the curve …

The wisdom of Voodoo for the Other Woman seems hard won. These poems remind us of the uncertainty of our destinations and the unquantifiable value of tenderness in the midst of a collapsing world. In simple language, Kelly has achieved a complex tone that mixes humor, sadness, hope, rage, and resignation. It is a potent brew.

-- Jonathan Butler