Supper table Spotlight: SC Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth Honors Alice Childress

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 10th in our series on Supper Table Artists

marjory wentworth.jpg

I consider myself quite fortunate to have seen Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party installation when my husband and I were living in Scotland, where it was featured in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer of 1984.  The sheer magnitude of the work was overwhelming, and the enormous dining table which anchored the exhibit served as a powerful visual metaphor.  Many of the women honored there were unfamiliar to me, but they certainly deserved a place at the glorious table!       

So, I was particularly thrilled to participate in the Jasper Project’s The Supper Table Project. Cindi Boiter’s concept of focusing on 12 South Carolina women who devoted their lives to positive change is a brilliant way to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party. I was even more thrilled to have the opportunity to research and write about Alice Childress – a writer I had always wanted to know more about.  This award-winning writer deserves to be better known and read by a larger audience, and her plays should be seen around the world.  Many of Alice Childress’ plays are rooted in the South Carolina low country, and her characters are working-class African Americans struggling against systemic racism.  These are voices that can teach us so much about the present day. Childress was a ground breaking African American artist, and she should be celebrated and honored for her multitude of achievements. She paved the way for so many others, particularly African American women playwrights and actresses.  I am grateful for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on this extraordinary American icon.             

I love the way The Supper Table Project brings together so many of South Carolina’s working visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and performers.  This community of amazing women deserves the support of everyone in the Palmetto State who supports the arts and the rich culture of our home place. 

—Marjory Wentworth  

~~~

MARJORY WENTWORTH is the New York Times bestselling author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets (with Kwame Alexander and Chris Colderley). She is the co-writer of We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, with Herb Frazier and Dr. Bernard Powers and Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights, with Juan E. Mendez.  She is co-editor with Kwame Dawes of Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, and the author of the prizewinning children’s story Shackles.  Her books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle and New and Selected Poems. Her poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize six times. She is the current poet laureate of South Carolina. Wentworth is a Senior Fellow at the Global Social Justice Practice Academy.  She teaches courses in writing, social justice and banned books at The College of Charleston.

 Please support the Supper Table in the last few hours of our Kickstarter campaign by visiting https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thejasperproject/the-supper-table

Supper Table 1x.png
JasperProject72forWEB.jpg

DECKLE EDGE — New Literary Festival to Launch in February 2016

deckle  

The inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival will be held February 19-21, 2016, in Columbia, South Carolina. The weekend-long festival will feature readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities for children and young adult readers, and a wide range of other literary events for many interests and all ages.

 

The Deckle Edge literary festival will gather and foster the diverse branches of our region’s literary community through an inclusive weekend of public events and programming for readers, writers, and lovers of the written word. While Deckle Edge has its roots in the storied tradition of South Carolina’s literary life, the festival is committed to forging new ground, challenging existing boundaries, and broadening the conception of the literary South.

 

The festival hopes to appeal to regional and national audiences while remaining a community focused effort, partnering with an extensive network of South Carolina literary and cultural organizations, including Richland Library, the University of South Carolina Press, Hub City Writers Project, the SC Center for Children’s Books & Literacy, Ed Madden and the Columbia Office of the Poet Laureate, South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, the Low Country Initiative for Literary Arts, Jasper Magazine, Richland County schools, and others.

 

Deckle Edge will be built on the strong foundation of the South Carolina Book Festival, a project of the Humanities Council SC, which announced the festival’s dissolution this past summer. The Humanities Council SC is now actively pursuing a variety of year-round statewide literary initiatives and has been supportive of the plans for Deckle Edge as a new literary event to be hosted in Columbia. “The SC Book Festival was a tremendous gift to readers and writers in the South, and we’re grateful to the Humanities Council SC for sharing their expertise with us as we create something new,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Darien Cavanaugh, “We would not have been able to move so quickly on launching Deckle Edge without their guidance and good will.”

 

Participating authors and specific panels have not yet been announced. While the festival will not be limited to local talent, programming will highlight a handful of New York Times bestselling authors from the Carolinas, some beloved favorites from past SC Book Festivals, and many voices not previously heard from at South Carolina literary events. “This is Columbia’s literary festival,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Annie Boiter-Jolley, “but it’s also joining the larger conversation about literature of and in the South. We look forward to sharing our vision with writers and readers, and to hearing from them as to what Deckle Edge might become in future years.”

 

As the festival goes through the process of applying for nonprofit status, One Columbia for Arts and History will be acting as its fiscal sponsor. Deckle Edge has also sought financial support through city and county tax grants, and is currently accepting tax-deductible donations through One Columbia. “Deckle Edge is the right literary event at the right time,” said One Columbia executive director Lee Snelgrove. “What Annie and Darien are building with their partnerships is very ambitious, but this city has already proven that ambition can be rewarded in our arts community. One Columbia is proud to be a partner in establishing this new literary festival.”

 

Visit the festival web site at www.DeckleEdgeSC.org to donate or to sign up for the festival mailing list, and e-mail info@DeckleEdgeSC.org for more information.

 

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.

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

MuddyFordPress.com.