Poetry at McLeod

$1,201 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 13 people in 19 months

James Island Arts continues bringing poets to McLeod Plantation Historic Site (MPHS), with a poetry workshop at James Island Town Hall the day before and now a classroom visit. 

This innovative program brings African American poets to a southern plantation that housed—in those wretched cabins—descendants of its slaves into the 1980's. The intention is to offer that audience, with its painful history, the possibility of reclaiming emotional and physical territory. In November, fifty people attended, half white and half black, and the poetry, some of which interprets the lives of specific people enslaved at McLeod, was transformative to all. Attendance was even stronger at our June reading.

We want admission to be free, since poetry is a hard sell, and our principle target audience—descendants of McLeod slaves—should not be asked to pay to return to a center of painful family lore. The parks commission can't allow free admission, so we are seeking donations to cover free entry to MPHS for the first fifty poetry attendees; we also pay our poets. 

Your donation is worth double, since we have matching grants from the SC Humanities Council, and 
South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Sept. 8-10 Gary Jackson 

October 20-22 Kwoya Fagin Maples

April 6-8 Len Lawson

June 1-3 Marilyn Nelson

Gary Jackson, born in Topeka KS, is the author of Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf Press, 2010), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. After receiving his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 2008, he lived and taught in South Korea for a year. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Tin House, 32 Poems, Crab Orchard Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. He was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize, received a Cave Canem and a Bread Loaf fellowship, and The Poetry Society of America selected him as one of 2013's New American Poets. He joined the Department of English at the College of Charleston as Assistant Professor of Poetry in 2013, where he serves as associate poetry editor of Crazyhorse.

Kwoya Fagin Maples is a writer from Charleston, SC. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and is a graduate Cave Canem Fellow and a Homeschool Lambda Literary Fellow. In addition to a chapbook, Something of Yours (Finishing Line Press 2010), her work is published in several journals and anthologies including Blackbird, The Berkeley Poetry Review, The African-American Review, PLUCK!, Cave Canem Anthology XIII, and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. Her current manuscript, MEND, a finalist for the Robert Dana Anhinga Poetry Prize, received a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, and tells the story of women who were the experimental subjects of Dr. James Marion Sims of Montgomery, AL. Maples teaches Creative Writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and organizes a three-dimensional poetry exhibit which features poetry and visual art including original paintings, photography, installations and film.

Len Lawson is the author of the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press) and co-editor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race (Muddy Ford Press). He is studying for the Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He won the 2016 Jasper Magazine Artist of the Year Award in Literary Arts, is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a three-time nominee for the Best of the Net Anthology, and has received a fellowship from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and a residency from Vermont Studio Center. He has been a finalist for the inaugural 2015 Berfrois Poetry Prize, the 2016 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize, and the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Chapbook Competition. His poetry has appeared in Public Pool, The James Franco Review, [PANK] Magazine, Mississippi Review, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. Len is a Poetry Reader & Book Reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly and teaches literature and writing at Central Carolina Technical College.

Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of seventeen poetry books and the memoir How I Discovered Poetry. She is also the author of The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems, which won the 1998 Poets’ Prize, Carver: A Life In Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and Fortune’s Bones, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Frost Medal. She was Poet Laureate of Connecticut from 2001-2006.

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Thanks a million to all who helped launch this innovative project! We were able to get prestigious grants to continue the year. Please go to jamesislandarts.org to follow the series!
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WOW, we just got the fantastic news that our upcoming season will be supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts!

We're getting close to our goal. SO grateful to all who are supporting Kendra's encore. Very excited to see you this weekend!

Please message me on facebook.com/jamesIslandArts if you're coming to the reading, so we can get you comped in. (The workshop on Saturday is free.)
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$1,201 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 13 people in 19 months
Created May 2, 2017
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