Sweet Home Carolina. The Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series will return with the Georgetown County Library, and this year’s lineup features a full slate of writers all based right here in South Carolina. Beginning in January 2021, the venerable Series will enter its fifteenth year by highlighting some of the finest poetic talent in the Palmetto State, including our most recent South Carolina Poet Laureate as well as three current city or regional Poets Laureate across the state. The Series runs from January through April and is held on the third Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. All programs are generously sponsored by the Friends of the Waccamaw Library (FOWL).
Because of the COVID situation, Tea & Poetry events will be held online until further notice. The programs are free and openly available to the public online on the Georgetown County Library Facebook page. To view the programs, go to the Georgetown County Library Facebook page at the scheduled dates and times: https://www.facebook.com/Georgetown-County-Library-103748677057/?ref=bookmarks You do not have to have a Facebook account to watch the programs on the Georgetown County Library Facebook page. If you miss a program on Facebook, it will also be made available for viewing afterwards on the Georgetown County Library YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-slNZZqPfl14nl7-faVD9Q?view_as=subscriber
The first installment of the 2021 Series is scheduled on Thursday, January 21, and will feature John Lane, an essential voice of the South Carolina environment. One of the most prominent contemporary ecological writers, Lane has published more than fifteen books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His poetry explores in depth the wildness of his native state, calling us to attend to the astonishing beauty and fierceness of the landscapes, waterways, and wildlife surrounding us here, from the Piedmont to the Midlands to the Lowcountry. Lane served as Founding Director of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center at Wofford College, and his recent books include Abandoned Quarry (poetry), Anthropocene Blues (poetry), and Whose Woods These Are (novel). Alongside Lane, Emily Rosko will also kickstart the fifteenth version of the Tea & Poetry Series. Rosko is the author of Weather Inventions (2018); Prop Rockery, winner of the Akron Poetry Prize (2012); and Raw Goods Inventory, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize (2006). Editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (2011) and Poetry Editor of Crazyhorse, Dr. Rosko is a recipient of the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University as well as the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine. Her poems appear in AGNI, Epoch, Pleiades, and Tupelo Quarterly, among other venues. She is Associate Professor of English and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at The College of Charleston.
On Thursday, February 18, the Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series will shine a light on two rising stars on the South Carolina poetry scene: Marcus Amaker and Len Lawson. In 2016, Amaker was named the first Poet Laureate for Charleston, a position in which he continues to serve. His poetry has been presented by The Kennedy Center, and appears in The Chicago Tribune, Departures Magazine, and Charleston Magazine, among other publications. In 2019, Amaker won an SC Governor’s Arts Award, and was named the artist-in-residence for the renowned Gaillard Center. His eighth book is The Birth of All Things. Amaker is also the award-winning graphic designer of a national music journal (No Depression), and an electronic musician (under the alias “tape loop”). Joining Amaker for the February program will be Lawson, who is the author of Chime (2019), the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (2017), and the coeditor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race (2017). A nominee for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology, Lawson has been honored with the Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship from the South Carolina Academy of Authors (2020) as well as the Jasper Magazine Literary Artist of the Year (2016). His poems have been published in Callaloo, African American Review, Ninth Letter, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. He has taught English in higher education in South Carolina for more than ten years.
On Thursday, March 18, the Series will welcome Marjory Wentworth, who held the position of Poet Laureate of South Carolina for the past seventeen years. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets; the coauthor of We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel and Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights; the coeditor of Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green; and the author of the prizewinning children’s story Shackles. A seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Wentworth’s poetry books include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle, and New and Selected Poems. She teaches courses on creative writing and social justice at The College of Charleston. Immediately following Wentworth’s reading, there will be an open mic session. All who attend are invited to read one of their own poems. Participants are asked to please keep their reading to a single poem no longer than a page.
On Thursday, April 15, the 2021 Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series will come to an exciting conclusion with two further acclaimed South Carolina poetic voices: Jo Angela Edwins and Ed Madden. Professor of English at Francis Marion University, Edwins has published a chapbook Play (2016) and poems in several journals, including Calyx, Quarterday Review, Zone 3, and Whale Road Review, and in various anthologies. Dr. Edwins has received poetry awards from the Poetry Super Highway and the South Carolina Academy of Authors and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She serves as a board member on SC Humanities and the South Carolina Academy of Authors and is Poet Laureate of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. For his part, Ed Madden is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Ark, a memoir in poems about his father’s last months in home hospice care. Madden is also a professor of English at the University of South Carolina. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Los Angeles Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals, as well as being selected for the Forward Book of Poetry 2021. He is Poet Laureate for the City of Columbia and was a 2019 recipient of an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. What better way to celebrate April as National Poetry Month than to listen to the expert cadences of these skilled poets!
All told, the 2021 Series will present a can’t-miss opportunity to engage with seven dynamic, diverse representatives of South Carolina poetry today!