Al Black's New Book of Poetry, Man with Two Shadows, Launches Saturday Night

Praise for Man with Two Shadows

“Black’s experiences are universal, and there is comfort in looking at this profound loss through his eyes.” - Marjory Wentworth, SC poet laureate

“Al Black has put together a gorgeous and heart-breaking collection that is a testament to the dutifulness and responsibility we feel to and for parents we find difficult to understand.” - Ed Madden, Columbia, SC poet laureate

“Al Black’s poetry is astonishing, defiantly original; scrubs our ears with dirty bathtub water; roars with love for a leather belted father and battle-proven mother.” - Tim Conroy, author of Theologies of Terrain

Man with Two Shadows photo.JPG

When asked what inspired his earlier poetry, local poet, Al Black, answers, “Where you’re at. Sometimes you’re angry. Sometimes you’re happy. Sometimes you just see a situation and a metaphor goes through your head.”  This inspiration provides Columbia locals with a captivating voice to not only experience but to feel through Black’s stunning craft.


Local poet and supporter of the literary arts, Al Black, moved to Columbia, SC, nearly 10-years-ago.  Originally from Lafayette, IN, the father of 4 worked at The University of South Carolina in facilities management before retiring to become a full-time writer.


“My wife and I had four children and when the youngest one got old enough- my wife went back to school in her late 40s and got her PHD at 55 and wanted a career,” Black says, “So, I said, ‘I can work anywhere and I’ll go anywhere as long as it’s not further north,’ and so we ended up down here … I worked at The University of South Carolina for a while; I just left them. I’m 66, so I can be a full-time writer now and a trophy husband.”


Black attended college at Ball State, where he was an athlete who studied voice.   “I was one of those weirdos in college,” he says, “I was a voice major and an athlete.”   The poet not only played sports in college, but he would go on to coach college, high-school and semi-pro.


However, most Columbia locals know Black for his stunning craft of poetry and for the near 100 literary events that he hosts and co-hosts in a given year.  The poet crafted his first poem at the age of nine-years-old; however, he didn’t share his first poem until age 58, which resulted in the publication of his first book, I Only Left for Tea, published by Muddy Ford Press in 2015.


“I started really writing at eight or nine, but I never shared … I don’t know if I was afraid to share or if I just didn’t care to share,” Black explains,” When I came here, I didn’t see an event I liked, so I started what’s called Mind Gravy about eight and a half years ago.  I wanted to make sure I stirred it up as far as style, race, culture … about a month or two in, I shared a poem … I read it in a gallery and Cindi [Boiter] and her husband [Bob Jolley] heard me and said oh, they’d like to publish me and I was like, ‘I don’t know,’ but I eventually agreed to it.  And it’s gone from there.” Cindi Boiter and Bob Jolley are the publishers at Muddy Ford Press, a boutique publishing house just outside of Columbia.


Black’s first book was edited by Ed Madden and published by Muddy Ford Press. Madden is the Columbia city poet laureate as well as a professor of English at USC and the director of the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Since then, Black has co-edited a poetry anthology, titled Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race, with fellow poet Len Lawson, where several of his poems were published along with those of a number of local writers. Black and Lawson founded the Poets Respond to Race Initiative, and the anthology originated from the initiative.

Poet Al Black (photo by Forrest Clonts for Jasper Magazine)

Poet Al Black (photo by Forrest Clonts for Jasper Magazine)

Black has been very involved in issues of race and reconciliation.  This is work that the poet has always been passionate about, even while working at Perdue University in Indiana. “… I worked at a private business but mostly I worked at Perdue.  I was trained as a diversity trainer, and so, it’s been work that I’ve always been passionate about.  And, I believe whatever you do should reflect your values,” the former Indiana NAACP Vice President explains.


Today, most wait in anticipation for the poet’s newest publication, a collection of poems entitled Man with Two Shadows.  The book release will be held at Tapp’s this Saturday, September 22nd at 7pm.  At the release, you can expect live entertainment from jazz band, Vasaboo group, along with poem readings by the author, followed by a book signing.


The new book is a collection of poetry inspired by his father.  After his passing at age 94, the poet wrote for 120 days, eventually compiling a book with the poems he had created during the time-period before and after his father’s death.  Ed Madden, Black’s friend and first publication’s editor, edited this collection of poetry, as well.


“Well, it’s basically shortly before my dad’s passing and then it’s in two parts.  You know, that period shortly before when he’s getting sick and you’re going back to see him … and you’re beginning to worry,” the son says, “and then I was with him when he passed.  He passed a little after one o’clock in the morning.  And then it’s that time and then immediately after … that’s what the book’s about.  It’s about, you know, everybody has a different relationship with their parents.  It’s never all smooth sailing … So, yeah, my dad was the old-world way and you know, I was a baby boomer.  It’s dealing with that relationship, you know, that feeling that’s there.”


Months after the passing of his father, the poet lost his mother who was 93.  Both parents surface throughout Black’s latest poetry, and he is currently in the editing process for a book inspired by his mother.


“My father died at 94 in October. My mother was lonely and died in April at 93,” Black explains, “And so, I wrote for 120 days there, too.  So, now I’m in the editing process of her book.”


When he isn’t writing, you can find Black hosting and co-hosting multiple events, including Mind Gravy (Wednesdays at 8pm), Poems: Bones of the spirit (held once a month at a yoga studio), Blue Note Poetry (every first Tuesday of the month) and Songversation (monthly), along with multiple events surrounding the Poets Respond to Race initiative.  Each event is unique until itself.


Black also hosts and organizes three workshops, where poets, through invitation, work on a prompt, share their work and critique it.  Black stays busy and as evidenced through his dedication and involvement in the literary arts.


At age 66, the poet is still following what he is passionate about and living through his talent.  As said best by Black himself, “You know, if you have the talent for something, you should do.” Most are happy to know that this kind, humble soul lives through these words.

 by Hallie Hayes


If You’re Going

Book Launch - Man with Two Shadows

by Al Black

Saturday, September 22nd - 7 pm

Tapp’s Arts Center

1644 Main Street, Columbia, SC

For more information on Muddy Ford Press go to


Ony's Bands - Boo Hag

boo-hag Ony Ratsimbaharison is a local musician, writer, and blogger and member of the band fk. mt. Jasper asked Ony to write a regular feature profiling local bands -- getting at what they're doing, why they're doing it, and how it's going. If you'd like to see your band profiled in What Jasper Said, send Ony a message at with the word ONY in the subject heading and she'll, you know, take it under consideration.

Ony's first few bands are a half dozen talented groups who will be working with the Jasper & Muddy Ford Press franchises over the next few weeks by playing at in-house sponsored events. Boo Hag, Los Perdidos, and Jackson Spells are all performing next Sunday at Tapp's Arts Center (7 pm) for the launch party for Tommy Bishop's new book, The Incredibly Strange ABCs. Here's a look at Boo Hag, by Ony.


Boo Hag, which formed in June 2015, is a local hard rock band consisting of drummer Scotty Tempo and guitarist and songwriter Saul Seibert. Their latest self-titled album, which came out July 30 of this year, is a collection of macabre-influenced psychedelic songs, with song titles like “Monster,” “Hokus Pokus,” and “Crypt Keeper,” just to name a few.

Their interest in the macabre and horrific is evident in their name, which is derived from a Gullah legend. A Boo Hag is a mythical creature of the Gullah culture that, according to folklore, is masked in a person’s skin, which it sheds at night to ride living victims in their sleep, draining them of their energy. Their music aims to evoke the spirit of this myth through concepts like ritual and horror.

Seibert recently moved to Columbia and is from New Orleans, where, he says, a lot of his musical influence comes from. “Plain and simple we are kick-you-in –the-teeth, kerosene-driven, lightning-in-a-bottle rock and roll,” he states. Their writing process is somewhat unique and specific, which Seibert informs us of in the following excerpt from an interview.

Boo Hag will be performing alongside local psych-rockers Jackson Spells and surf rock band Los Perdidos on Sunday September 18 at Tapp’s Arts Center for the book launch of The Incredibly Strange ABCs by cartoonist Tommy Bishop.

art by Tommy Bishop

Six Qs for Boo Hag

Can you describe what your music is like? Boo Hag dabbles with the macabre and psychedelic aspects of rock n roll. We are loud, hard, dangerous, and serious. Boo Hag doesn't really come with a lot of bells and whistles… We do what we know to do.

What are your songs typically about? Some of the songs are simple and straight forward and not overly complicated… but most of the songs take on a narrative approach, and deal with a range of social issues and/or personal struggles.

What is your songwriting process like? I usually hide. I engage in ritual. I get up at 3:30-4 am every day to meditate and then write music or do personal journaling for a few hours every day. I also smoke copious amount of marijuana and walk my dog in the woods. After I have completed a song, I record it and send it to Scotty to listen to. We play through it a few times during practice and then move on. We let songs breathe and rest, and then when they are ready to be played again, we work on them. Scotty gets me in a way a lot of players don't and when you have that as a writer, you don't really fuck with it too much. He plays an equal part in the music of Boo Hag and a powerhouse. He is also my friend.

Who/what are some of your main musical influences? New Orleans jazz and Memphis Blues... What else really matters in the end?

What is your overall philosophy as a band, if you have one? As a band, I believe our philosophy is to simply create and have fun doing what we love doing. We are a live act and that is where we thrive. In the end, we just want people to celebrate the music with us.

What is your vision for the band/the band’s future? We will see what happens. We have no intention of slowing down, we’re both driven people.

Cartoonist Tommy Bishop Returns to Columbia to Launch First Book


"Albert the Appleworm absolutely adores accounting."


When he left for the West Coast in 2008, cartoonist Tommy Bishop left his mark on Columbia via quirky album cover creations and his unique brand of almost otherwordly illustrations. After much encouragement, the artist is finally releasing his first book of drawings, and he's starting simple -- simply creepy, simply bizarre, simply strange. The Incredibly Strange ABCs by Tommy Bishop is a children's book with illustrative art adults are going to both appreciate and get a kick out of sharing with their children.

A two-part book launch that has every member of the family covered is going down on Sunday, September 18th, and like Bishop's work, it'll take you for a ride.

At 3 pm, bring the little ones to Tapp's Arts Center where they can (literally) sit at the artist's feet as he reads to them with musical accompaniment from Reno Gooch, and then enjoy a cookie and lemonade reception while Bishop signs copies of The Incredibly Strange ABCs for the children.

Then return at 7 pm (sans children) for a launch party with performances from Boo HagLos Perdidos, and Jackson Spells -- a cash bar, snacks, and continued signing of The Incredibly Strange ABCs. Ten dollars admission includes price of book, concert, and launch party. Afternoon attendees who purchase a book will receive a voucher for admission to the concert and launch party on Sunday night, and the publisher will provide a convenient signing and storage system so patrons won't have to pick up their purchases until the end of the evening.

An art poster from the archives created by artist and author, Tommy Bishop.

Bishop is looking forward to returning to his old stomping ground where he left his mark on Columbia's media art scene. "I used to put out music zines, bootleg comps, and a music blog under the name Force of a Revolving Toilet," Bishop says. But he may be best remembered around Columbia for creating art-inspired album covers for such bands as the Unawares, Boo Hag, Los Perdidos, and more.

Album cover for The Unawares created by Bishop.

The 36 year old cartoonist wrote and illustrated The Incredibly Strange ABCs as both a gift for and a way of sharing his art with his 17-month-old daughter, says Bishop, who is expecting another daughter with his wife, Nassim Lewis, later this year.

A founding member of the Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul, as well as the Christmas in July celebration at The Whig, Bishop returns from his current home in Portland, Oregon, after a stint in California, to a number of friends and family members who look forward to his visit and the launch of his first book.


"Tommy was in attendance for our very first live performance and approached us asking if he could design our flyers. We agreed, but could not ever have imagined the visual/design creative brilliance that was to follow for the duration of The Unawares run," says James Wallace, formerly of the Unawares. "That run included hand inked covers for three CD's, one LP, and dozens of flyers. A newly designed flyer for each show. He refused payment for his generosity, so we sent him steaks and whisky to show our deep appreciation for who we referred to as 'Our Genius.' We had folks interested in our music just from seeing his artwork. Thank you, Tommy Bishop!"

Musician and long-time friend Scott Tempo agrees. "I've watched Tommy create state of the art work for about 20 years now. I've seen how he labors for hours over the smallest details. I've always been a big fan and have come to Tommy numerous times for band artwork over the years. He's always delivered unique pieces that stand out above the crowd,” says Tempo, whose band Boo Hag is one of three bands playing for the book launch concert. “To be able to be a part of his book release is an honor.”

Tommy unawares art bar

An early example of Bishop's work advertises The Whig, North America's greatest dive bar located at the corner of Main and Gervais Streets in Columbia.


In advance praise of the publication, Julia "Liz" Elliott, author of The New and Improved Romie Futch and The Wilds, writes, "Combining the subversive silliness of underground comix with the elegant grimness of Edward Gorey, The Incredibly Strange ABCs will enchant both children and adults with addictive tongue twisters and surreal scenarios. Roused from a stupor produced by reading too many humdrum alphabet  books, parents will laugh along with their tots as they explore Bishop's absurd and wondrous world."

Filmmaker and segment director of Drafthouse Films anthology ABC's of Death 2.5, Steve Daniels, writes, "As a father of two budding weirdos, Bishop's The Incredibly Strange ABCs was a revelation; far more fun that the stuffy, homogenized alphabet books I grew up with as a kid. These strange illustrations and clever wordplay never fail to illicit giggles or downright maniacal laughter from my children. The weirder, the better, and this book has it covered."

A selection of the illustrations found in The Incredibly Strange ABCs by Tommy Bishop

Published by South Carolina boutique publishing company, Muddy Ford Press, The Incredibly Strange ABCs is being printed as a limited release and the author will be on hand at both events on the 18th to sign and personalize the book. Pre-orders are available at and

Tommy ABCs

Fall Lines – a literary convergence launches third issue with a reception and reading at Tapp’s Arts Center July 28th

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 Magazine, in partnership with Richland Library, USC Press, One Columbia, Muddy Ford Press, and The Jasper Project will release the third annual issue of Fall Lines – a literary convergence on Thursday, July 28th from 7 – 9 pm at a free reception at Tapp’s Arts Center. An annual literary journal based in Columbia, SC, Fall Lines was conceived as a mechanism for highlighting Columbia as the literary arts capitol of South Carolina.

A panel of judges selected 30 pieces of poetry and prose, from hundreds of international submissions, for publication in Fall Lines alongside invited pieces from Ron Rash, Terrance Hayes, Pam Durban, Laurel Blossom, and Patricia Moore-Pastides. Two prizes for the literary arts, sponsored by Friends of the Richland Library, will also be awarded including the Saluda River Prize for Poetry to Kathleen Nalley for her poem, “The Last Man on the Moon,” and the Broad River Prize for Prose, awarded to Claire Kemp for her short fiction, “The Dollmaker.”  Adjudicators included SC poet laureate Marjory Wentworth and award-winning author Julia Elliott. In addition, Fall Lines will also publish the winner of the 2016 South Carolina Academy of Authors Coker Fiction Fellowship, “I Can’t Remember What I Was Trying to Forget,” by Phillip Gardner.

The awards ceremony and reception will also feature readings by selected authors whose work is published in this issue of Fall Lines: Scott Chalupa, David Travis Bland, Matthew O’Leary, Mike Miller, Claire Kemp, Kathleen Nalley. Tim Conroy, Julie Bloemeke, Eileen Scharenbroch, Jonathan Butler, and Mark Rodehorst.

The editors of Fall Lines, Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, and Kyle Petersen, are deeply appreciative of this year’s sponsors including Jonathan and Lorene Haupt, Sara June Goldstein, Richland Library, One Columbia for Arts and History, Muddy Ford Press, Columbia Museum of Art, the SC Philharmonic Orchestra, Rosewood Art and Music Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival 2017, and The Whig.

For more information please contact Cindi Boiter at

The Limelight - A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Authors, volume II Launches on Wednesday

limelight 2

Join Jasper Magazine and Muddy Ford Press as we celebrate the release of The Limelight: A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, volume II with readings, refreshments, and signings.

Twenty local authors and artists write about twenty other artists whose work has influenced them, inspired them -- and sometimes changed their lives.

Tapp's Arts Center

Wednesday, August 19th

7 - 9 pm

Admissions is free.

Essays by

Clair DeLune, August Krickel, Brandi Perry, Debra A. Daniel,Jennifer Bartell, Jon Tuttle, Kara Gunter, Kristine Hartvigsen, Kyle Petersen, Laurie Brownell McIntosh, Michael L. Miller, Rachel Haynie, Randy Spencer, Susan Lenz, Tom Poland, Will Garland, Susan Levi Wallach, Don McCallister, Jane Gari, and Chad Henderson


Cynthia Gilliam, Cassie premo steele, Drink Small "The Blues Doctor", Ed Madden, Deborah Deck, Darion McCloud Storyteller, Marion Mason, Gina Langston Brewer, Sam  Beam, Lynne Burgess, Pappy Sherill, Boyd Saunders, Carrie McCray, Wim RoefsRobert Clark, George Singleton, Ray McManus, Bentz Kirby, Jean Bourque, and Paul Kaufmann.

With cover art by Matt Catoe. Edited by Cindi Boiter. Published by Muddy Ford Press.

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



Fall Lines



Fall Lines – a literary convergence is a literary journal based in Columbia, SC and presented by Jasper Magazine in partnership with the University of South Carolina Press, Muddy Ford Press, Richland Library and One Columbia.

With a single, annual publication, Fall Lines is distributed in lieu of Jasper Magazine’s regularly scheduled summer issue. Fall Lines will accept submissions of previously unpublished poetry, essays, short fiction, and flash fiction from December 1, 2014 through March 1, 2015. While the editors of Fall Lines hope to attract the work of writers and poets from the Carolinas and the Southeastern US, acceptance of work is not dependent upon residence.

Please limit short fiction to 2000 words or less; flash fiction to 350 – 500 words per submission; essays to 1200 words; and poetry to three pages (Times New Roman 12 pt.)

Submit your work to Jasper Magazine’s Fall Lines – a literary convergence at

While you are invited to enter up to five items, each item should be sent individually as a single submission. Please include with each submission a cover sheet stating your name, email address, and USPO address.

There is a five dollar reading fee for each short story; for up to three poems; for up to three flash fiction submissions; or for each essay.

Publication in Fall Lines will be determined by a panel of judges and accepted authors will be notified in May 2015, with a publication date in June 2015. Accepted authors will receive two copies of the journal.


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.

Gallery West – Call for Submissions “Selfies, Real or Imagined: An Exhibition of Visual and Literary Art"

  Call to Artists

Gallery West is currently accepting submissions for its exhibition, Selfies: Real or Imagined, which will be held in late April of 2015. This exhibition will present a broad range of contemporary art and literature using all media in one, two or three-dimensional works. The exhibition is organized by Sara Cogswell, Director of Gallery West, and will include works by both emerging and established artists, internationally and from across the United States.

Social media and the mobile web have given rise to a strange phenomenon called the selfie. What is a selfie? A portrait of yourself, visual or written, usually shared on a social networking website. There are many selfie styles, and numerous psychological factors that might drive any specific person to create a selfie and share it.

This exhibition will explore the wide arena of selfies, either from the perspective of the artist or writer themselves, or an alter ego, as if from another person, animal, mythical or fantasy character…anything the artist or writer can imagine. Writers might share their visions of themselves in poetry or short verse.



  • Only unique, one-of-a-kind works of art and literature will be accepted. These may include drawing, painting, collage, prints, photography, sculpture, fiber, and ceramics. Multiples are not accepted.
  • A literary component has been added to expand the scope of this exhibition. Flash fiction, poetry, or prosetry, 500 words or less, will now be accepted. Accepted submissions in literature will be compiled into a chapbook, which will be edited by Susan Levi Wallach and Ed Madden, and published in limited edition by Muddy Ford Press.
  • A literary prize in the amount of $250 will be awarded to one writer. All writers whose work is accepted and included in the chapbook will receive two copies of the publication. Additional chapbooks will be published for purchase.


  • Artworks selected for inclusion in the exhibition must be suitably framed and/or made ready for installation, no exceptions.
  • All artworks must be for sale. A “Price on Request” designation is not acceptable. 
The submission of and entry to “Selfies: Real or Imagined” will constitute agreement by the entrant to all conditions set forth in this prospectus.
  • All submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2015. Materials received after January 16 will not be considered. Gallery West assumes the responsibility of insuring and caring for works of art selected for exhibition at the gallery. The artist will cover shipping costs, arrange for transportation of art works to and from the gallery, and insure works while in transit. After works are selected for exhibition, the gallery reserves the right to photograph and reproduce images of selected entries for publication, education, and publicity purposes.Each artist may submit up to five jpeg images on CD (200 dpi or larger at 1024 x 768 pixels) to the Gallery West address, or via email ( Writers may submit up to five pieces, each 500 words or less, via email to (, or by mail to the Gallery West address below.Artists will be notified of their status by mid-February, 2015. A contract will be sent when participation is confirmed.
  • All images must be of works made within the past two years (between 2012-2014), and must be accompanied by a checklist of the works submitted for review, including title, date, materials, dimensions and price. Slides are not accepted.
  • Up to 5 images of recent work in jpeg format
for visual artists
  • Up to 5 submissions of written word, each 500 words or less
  • Detailed image list (including title, year, media, dimensions, and price)
  • Current resume or C.V. (please include mail and email address)
  • Artist statement


All submissions must be received by 5pm, January 16, 2015.

Please address submissions to:


Sara Cogswell, Director

Gallery West

118 State Street

West Columbia SC 29169




9781942081005-Perfect (1).indd

Local poet, arts advocate, and arts organizer Al Black releases his first book, I only Left for Tea:  Poems, on Friday, August 29th with a 7 pm party at the historic Equitable Arcade Building at 1332 Main Street.  Edited by Ed Madden, I Only Left for Tea:  Poems is a publication of Muddy Ford Press, underwriter for Jasper Magazine. It is the press’s 11th publication.

Black, a native of Indiana, moved to the Columbia area in 2008 when his wife accepted a teaching position at Newberry College. A life-long poet, Black, who is also a former coach and athlete, had never shared his work with others—not even his wife, Carol—but he craved the community of writers so he soon began establishing poetry groups to meet various needs in Columbia’s growing writing community. Now, Al leads Mind Gravy, a combination music and poetry group that meets at Drip Coffee in Five Points, as well as two other groups, Bones of the Spirit and Songversation, both of which meet in West Columbia.

The celebration of I Only Left for Tea will feature a signing and reading by Black as well as a musical performance by local music group Daddy Lion, light refreshments, and a cash (donation) bar. The public is invited to attend.


About Al Black

A Hoosier in the land of cotton, Al Black was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana.  He has been married 42 years to Carol Agnew Black; they have four grown children and nine grandchildren. Black was drafted and served as a Conscientious Objector during the Vietnam era, attended Ball State and Purdue Universities, and is a Baha'i. By day he has worked in various management positions and been a business owner; by night he has been an athlete, coach, community activist, and town gadfly. Black began writing verse at age nine, but kept his poems strictly to himself. In late 2008, he moved to South Carolina so his wife could accept a job as a professor of Sociology. Unemployed for the first time and free from family and community expectations, he publicly shared his first poetry four years ago.  Black considers himself a northern born Southern poet because it was here in the South that he felt free to blossom.


Ed Madden on Al Black's I Only Left for Tea

“We return here often,” says Al Black in the book’s title poem, “to resume mid-sentence our conversation upon my deck.” That’s the feel of this book, a kind of wide-ranging conversation with a friend. Even as the book teases out in confessional poems the relation between the past and the present, the author’s origins in the Midwest and his life now in the American South, and even as it opens out into broader perspective in voices and stories that spin through the heart of the book, it comes back to the quiet intimacy and vulnerability that drives this collection.  Leavetaking and loss haunt the book, but a desire for connection and continuity keeps us coming back to the deck for that “gift of time together.” – Ed Madden, author of Nest



I Only Left For Tea

We return here often

To resume mid-sentence

Our conversation upon my deck

Paisley patterned spinning backward

Then forward – narrowing and swelling into its self

Like designs upon a blanket


Is time a straight line?

Postulated geometry – point A to point B

Or maybe, it is a long and colorful ribbon that ties

Our gift of time together

Moments that are more than anniversaries

To etch upon our gravestones


You and I return here often

To resume our full-flight soaring

On communion’s thermal zephyrs

What is yesterday – today – tomorrow?

I only left for tea

We return here often – wrapped in our paisley blanket

To resume mid-sentence


From I Only Left for Tea:  Poems by Al Black, Muddy Ford Press, 2014.



Jasper Celebrates Fall Lines

Fall lines photo Jasper is pleased to announce that Fall Lines -- a literary convergence is on the streets after two exciting celebrations of its release.

On Sunday, we launched Fall Lines with a celebration and reading hosted by our partner the Richland Library Many thanks to Tony Tallent not only for facilitating the partnership but also for hosting and feting us so well Sunday afternoon.

The Fall Lines Team -- left to right, Ed Madden of Jasper, Lee Snelgrove of One Columbia, and Tony Tallent of Richland Library with Cindi Boiter of Jasper seated (not pictured Jonathan Haupt of USC Press and Bob Jolley of Muddy Ford Press)


Left - Nicola Waldron, winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose; Right - Mary Hutchins Harris - winner of the Saluda River Prize for Poetry -- both sponsored by Richland Library Friends


The next day we were back on the podium with an extended reading hosted by Sara Cogswell at her beautiful gallery on State Street in West Columbia, Gallery West.

photo by Will South


Pick up your copy of Fall Lines at any of the Richland County Library branches, the One Columbia office on Lady Street, Jasper Studio in the historic Arcade at 1332 Main Street, Frame of Mind, Gallery West, and selected boutiques, galleries and venues in Columbia -- or order it online at or  And look for the Fall Lines e-book coming soon from Richland Library.


Many thanks to Roe Young of Roe Young State Farm, Tom Mack of the SC Academy of Authors, and the Richland Library Friends.

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.

In Jasper Vol. 3, No. 4: Boiter Receives 2014 Verner Award

"The staff of Jasper magazine congratulates Jasper editor Cindi Boiter, who has been selected to receive a 2014 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award, presented annually by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The award will be presented at a special ceremony at the South Carolina Statehouse on May 8th. ..." - Ed Madden For the full article, click through the photo below:

Verner Award

Muddy Ford Press Releases New Anthology - A Sense of the Midlands - on February 22nd

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Furthering their efforts to both build a community of local literary artists and recognize the multiplicity of talented, professional poets and authors already at work in the South Carolina Midlands, local boutique publishing house Muddy Ford Press will release their tenth publication, A Sense of the Midlands, on February 22nd, 2014.


Edited by Cynthia Boiter with poetry editor Ed Madden, A Sense of the Midlands anthologizes 33 Midlands area writers.

The feel of wet soil beneath the knees of the winter-weary gardener as she plants spring peas. The sound of the Carolina fight song echoing down Main Street. The smell of meat crackling in Crisco on the stove top. The taste of tea so sweet it curls your tongue. The sight of deer on the side of the road or the sun going down on the statehouse dome. All these things and more ground us in what it means to be from the South Carolina Midlands. Writer and editor Cynthia Boiter  and acclaimed poet Ed Madden asked more than thirty Midlands-area writers to share how the fidelity of place resonates from their own senses and into their writing in this collection of poetry, essays, and short fiction, A Sense of the Midlands



Writers include James Barilla, Ray McManus, Tom Poland, Cassie Premo Steele, Kristine Hartvigsen, Darien Cavanaugh, Nan Ancrom, Nicola Waldron, Ruth Varner, Lauren Allen, Julie Bloemeke, Brandi L. Perry, Mahayla Bainter, Laurel Blossom, Matthew Boedy, Matthew Fogarty, Melanie Griffin, Linda Lee Harper, Terresa Haskew, Thomas Maluck, Rieppe Moore, Zach Mueller, Robbie Pruitt, Dianne Turgeon Richardson, Kevin Simmonds, Randy Spencer, Alexis Stratton, Frank Thompson, Ed Madden, and Ivan Young. Local artist Jarid Lyfe Brown created the cover of the book from an original painting.


The public is invited to celebrate the launch of A Sense of the Midlands on Saturday February 22nd from 5 – 7 pm at the Columbia Music Festival Association Art Space at 914 Pulaski Street in Columbia’s historic Vista. Admission is $15 which includes a copy of A Sense of the Midlands, admission to the reception from 5 – 6 during which authors will be available for signing, and admission to a reading from the book from 6 – 7. (Two attendees sharing a book will be admitted for $20.)


Muddy Ford Press is the underwriter for Jasper Magazine – The Word on Columbia Arts. All Proceeds go toward the publication of Jasper. 


For more information contact: 

Robert Jolley at or

Cynthia Boiter at



Fall Lines - new Columbia-based literary journal CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Fall Lines

a literary convergence


Fall Lines – a literary convergence is a new literary journal based in Columbia, SC and presented by Jasper Magazine in partnership with Richland Library, the University of South Carolina Press, Muddy Ford Press, and One Columbia.

With a single, annual publication, Fall Lines is distributed in lieu of Jasper Magazine’s regularly scheduled summer issue. While a limited issue of three thousand copies of Fall Lines will be printed, Fall Lines will be available in its entirety in a downloadable e-format via

Fall Lines will accept submissions of previously unpublished poetry, essays, short fiction, and flash fiction from January 1 through March 1, 2014. While the editors of Fall Lines hope to attract the work of writers and poets from the Carolinas and the Southeastern US, acceptance of work is not dependent upon residence.

Please limit short fiction to 2000 words or less; flash fiction to 350 – 500 words; essays to 1200 words; and poetry to three pages (Times New Roman 12 pt.) Submit your work via email to with the words “Fall Lines” in the subject heading along with the category (above) of the item being submitted. While you are invited to enter up to five items, each item should be sent individually as a single submission. Please include with each submission a cover sheet stating your name, age, email address, and USPO address. There is no fee to enter.

Publication in Fall Lines will be determined by a panel of judges and accepted authors will be notified in May 2014, with a publication date in June 2014. Accepted authors will receive two copies of the journal.


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

Collected Stories, opening at Trustus, poses tough questions by Jaquelyn Mohan

collected stories Who owns your memories?  It is a strange question, and one which opens conversation about intellectual property, personal experience, ownership, and the often blurred line between what is right and what is wrong.  In Collected Stories, playwright David Margulies raises these issues, and Milena Herring further explores these issues and more in her production of the controversial play opening at Trustus Theatre this August.


Collected Stories tells the tale of the changing relationship between two women over a span of six years.  Ruth Steiner, played by Elena Martinez, takes the role of teacher and mentor to the younger Lisa Morrison, played by E. G. Heard Engle.  Ruth is a respected professor and short story writer in her mid-fifties who takes on Lisa, graduate student and aspiring writer, as her assistant.  As the years pass, they become friends and eventually adversaries as one character makes a choice that forever changes both women’s lives, careers, and futures.


A USC graduate, director Milena Herring worked in New York in the theater business for thirty years before returning to Columbia in 2010.  Her love for Collected Stories originally sparked when she saw the play performed in New York in 1997 by Uta Hagen and Debra Messing.  Herring is thrilled to finally have the opportunity to direct Collected Stories.


“What appealed to me about the play originally was the veracity of who is wrong and who is right.  There’s a point in the play where the audience gives a collective gasp and realizes a truth about ones of the characters,” Herring says, recalling when she first saw the play years ago.  “The plays that I love, both as a director and as a member of the audience, are plays that move the audience from point A to point B or even point W—they move the audience intellectually or emotionally, and this play does both.”


Collected Stories deals with numerous highly charged ideas and themes ranging from betrayal, intellectual property, the creative process, aging, lost love, and literary appropriation.  “It’s a good thinking person’s play,” Herring says.  The play deals with these heavy issues with honesty and oftentimes humor.  “It’s just very real,” Herring adds.  “In the 1960s it would have been called kitchen sink realism.  It’s a slice of life.  You’re dropping in on a conversation between Lisa and Ruth over six years.”


In this unique two-person play, both actors are equally passionate about the issues the play raises and the story it tells.  “This is a story about two women and their friendship. Friendships change and shift over time as lives change, and I love that their relationship is the root of the play,” says Engle, who takes the roll of Lisa Morrison.  Elena Martinez Vidal, who plays Ruth Steiner, said “I like this kind of show because it can engender tons of discussion…The play does not guide the audience to any conclusions: they will have to make up their own minds.  And those conclusions will probably depend a lot on their experiences and backgrounds.”  Collected Stories will leave you wondering to what extent your life is your own and how one person’s experience can become another person’s story.


Collected Stories is the celebratory closing play for the 28th season at Trustus Theatre.  “The first play of the season was Next to Normal, and it was a really fine local production you could hold up to any New York production,” Herring recalls.  “Collected Stories is a good counter production to Next to Normal…They’re good bookends to the season.”  Raising ideas pertinent to theater itself such as intellectual property and literary appropriation, Collected Stories is a brave production that is sure to keep the audience guessing until the end and, as they exit the theater, leave them with the haunting question, Who owns your memories?


Three leading ladies work together to run this play, two on-stage and one off-, and make it an experience no one will soon forget or, for that matter, be able to stop talking about.  Sponsored by Callison Tighe with consideration by Muddy Ford Press, Collected Stories will run on the Trustus main stage from August 15th through the 18th.  Trustus Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street.  For tickets and more information, visit or call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732.


-- Jaquelyn Mohan, Jasper intern


jasper watches

Spoleto Review -- Rosanne Cash by Bob Jolley

Rosanne Cash Rosanne Cash has chops—both hard-earned and genetic. Although not often thought of as a superstar herself, the oldest daughter of Johnny Cash crawled from working backstage as a wardrobe assistant for her dad, to being a background singer, finally a soloist, and ultimately the winner of a Grammy and nine other nominations, 11 number one country hit singles,21 top 40 country singles, and two gold records. Not too shabby.

Performing at Spoleto Festival USA on Sunday night in the TD Ameritrade Arena, Cash delivered an assortment of new material from an upcoming album, but focused on paying homage to the artists who have come before her—some of them friends and family members—many of the songs from her 2009 album The List. The List came about because at age 18 her dad had given her a list of 100 seminal songs in country and American music—she picked 12 to record with folks like Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, and Jeff Tweedy.

If only one word could be used to describe the concert it would be “professional.” Performing with her band of solid musicians, the Keith to her Mick and the Big Man to her Bruce is her husband, co-writer, lead guitarist, producer, and partner John Leventhal. Throughout the evening, the two bounced off one another both musically and with the kind of quips only a husband and wife team can deliver.

Highlights of the night included, from The List, "Long Black Veil," recorded in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell, written by Danny Dill, Marijohn Wilkin, and covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, and Joni Mitchell on the first Johnny Cash show in 1969, as well as The Band, Mick Jagger, Joan Baez, Emilou Harris and Dave Matthews. Also from The List was Dylan’s 1963 "Girl from the North Country," re-recorded in a duet with Johnny Cash in 1969. Other List songs performed included "Five Hundred Miles" by Hedy West and a take on the traditional "Motherless Children."

Of course Cash’s show would have not been complete without a rendition of her 1981 Billboard country chart number one, and Billboard pop chart number 22, "Seven Year Ache."

Rosanne Cash performing Seven Year Ache

Bob Jolley - publisher, Muddy Ford Press



Schedule for Muddy Ford Press at the SC Book Festival

MFP final logo

Muddy Ford Press

at the

SC Book Festival



Saturday, May 18th


11 – 12:30 Muddy Ford Press Booth #416

Don McCallister will be signing Fellow Traveler

11:20 – 12:10 in Lexington Meeting Room A

Cindi Boiter will sit on the USC Press Panel for State of the Heart with Aida Rogers, Pat Conroy, Ken Burger, Billy Deal, and Sandra Johnson. Signing will follow.

2:30 – 4 Muddy Ford Press Booth #416

Alejandro Garcia Lemos and Cindi Boiter will be signing Red Social:  Portraits of Collaboration


4:10 – 5 in Lexington Meeting Room B

Don McCallister, Janna McMahan, Aida Rogers, and Kristine Hartvigsen will present a panel on The Limelight – Highlighting Columbia’s Artist Community, moderated by Cindi Boiter. Signing will follow – all Limelight contributors are invited to join the panel for signing following the presentation


Sunday, May 19th


12 – 2 Muddy Ford Press Booth #16

Kristine Hartvigsen will be signing To the Wren Nesting


1:15 – 2:05 in Lexington Meeting Room B

Cindi Boiter will sit on a panel for Collections of the South:  Anthologies Celebrating Writers in Community with Curtis Worthington and Brian Carpenter

2 – 3:30 Muddy Ford Press Booth #416

Laurie Brownell McIntosh will be signing All the In Between:  My Story of Agnes

2:20 – 3:10 in Lexington Meeting Room A

Cindi Boiter will sit on a panel on Short Stories with Cliff Graubart, Stephanie Powell Watts, moderated by Michelle Maitland





The Next Big Thing -- by Debra Daniel

Last Wednesday, local poet and creativity coach Cassie Premo Steele tagged me to write a blog post about my next big thing and this is what I came up with. As I was informed to do, I, in turn, tagged five other folks and asked them to follow the procedures set forth in The Next Big Thing meme, and I promised to publish their blog posts here. Well, a week has gone by and I'm delighted to have new blog posts from four of the five folks tagged -- fingers crossed on the last one, too.  I haven't read any of them yet and I have to admit that I'm pretty excited to see what my colleagues and friends are up to.

So over the next twenty-four hours Jasper will be publishing the posts that were generated in response to my tags. But we don't necessarily want this fun meme to end so soon.  We'd love to publish the posts of anyone tagged by the five people I tagged, too. Just send them to me at with "The Next Big Thing" in the title. And by the way, I wouldn't mind being tagged again -- I'm finishing up another really cool project that I'm itching to gab about!

Here's our first post from author and poet Debra Daniel.


What is the working title of your book? 

Woman Commits Suicide in Dishwasher


What is the genre of your book?

It’s mainstream literary.


Where did the idea come from?

I saw the headline in one of those grocery store magazines and my mind started to spin.  (Pun intended.)


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

First person interviews with Myrtle Graham’s family, friends and enemies attempt to explain and comprehend her bizarre demise while revealing their own secrets.


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

I worked on the first draft for more than a year.


Who or what inspired you to write it?

I wrote the first chapter as a short story, but it seemed that Myrtle Graham herself inspired me to continue.  The rest of the story had to be told.


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

I’m hoping that Muddy Ford Press will love Myrtle’s story as much as I do and ache to finally make that woman come clean.  (Pun intended.)


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

I’m not sure I can compare it to anything out there.


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

Shirley MacLaine would be perfect as Myrtle.  Hal Holbrook as her husband, Hamilton.  Of course, Shirley could also play Madame Fouche, the ballet mistress.  Sally Field could play Ruth, the next door neighbor.  Uncle Joe would be Ed Asner.


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

The story spans time from pre World War II to the present.  As each person gives their interview, the pieces of Myrtle’s life fall into place until you hear Myrtle’s own agitation in the final chapter.

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