ASFA-CW Opens National Poetry Month with a Three-for-Thursday Poetry Extravaganza!

Hot off the heels of the stupendously successful inauguration of Ashley Jones‘s Magic City Poetry Festival, ASFA-CW’s Ron Casey Visiting Writers Series looks to keep up the momentum by spotlighting three talented poets who all hang their hats in Alabama: Jacqueline Allen Trimble, Jim Murphy, and Jerriod Avant.

With events slated for Princeton Elementary School, ASFA, and the Desert Island Supply Company — and with the support and sponsorship of our extraordinary partners at the Nitty Gritty Magic City Reading Series, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Alabama Humanities Foundation — we’ll be bringing poetry to the people all day long, this Thursday, April 12!

The DISCO event, featuring Jacqueline and Jerriod, is free and open to the public. Their fine work will be complemented by some stellar refreshments courtesy of Church Street Shop. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the reading to start circa 7:30 p.m.

Here’s some more information about our esteemed visitors: Continue reading

Young Poets Unite: Poetry Out Loud in Alabama!

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All schools are their own little galaxies — with their own sets of stressors and opportunities, triumphs and challenges, values and traditions — and, as such, they can sometimes feel like self-contained centers of the universe. Within each school community, the poets tend to find their niche on the fringes; their orbits tend to be elliptical to their school-galaxy’s epicenter.

That’s why programs like Poetry Out Loud are so great: they’re intergalactic. All those elliptical young poets come together from far and wide to compete — but, more important, to meet — with each other. In the process, they get to form their own epicenter for a little while, smack-dab in the middle of the parallel universe of poetry.

One such epicenter formed yesterday at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, where the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education partnered to present this year’s state finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition. In the morning round, ASFA-CW’s Ashley Tate joined fourteen other talented poets in the Alabama Original Poetry Recitation category, then later in the afternoon, eleven other equally talented students competed in the main event — the National Poetry Out Loud category, in which students recite poems by poets as diverse as Philip Larkin, Nick Flynn, Kazim Ali, and Margaret Walker. The parallel universe of poetry was well-served, and we were glad to be a small part of it. Thanks to all the sponsors, teachers, and most of all the young poets who made it happen.

Poets Joel Brouwer, Rajiv Mohabir, and Kristin Robertson Set to Visit the (Nitty Gritty) Magic City Tomorrow!

Thursday is wall-to-wall visiting writers in and around ASFA-CW! Here’s the scoop:

First up, poet Joel Brouwer will be visiting ASFA during the day to read from his latest book, Off Message, and to talk about his passion for photography and how it informs his work. Joel is chair of the English department at the University of Alabama and he teaches in the Program in Creative Writing there.

That’s plenty to get excited about, but, at that point, the fun will just be getting started.

We’re also co-sponsoring an event tomorrow night at the Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO) in Woodlawn. Joel will join poets Kristin Robertson (whose new book, Surgical Wing, is out this year from the prestigious poetry press, Alice James Books) and Rajiv Mohabir (another great young poet who just joined the English department faculty at Auburn and whose most recent book, The Cowherd’s Son, won the Kundiman Prize and was released this past May by Tupelo Press). Doors at DISCO will open at 7 p.m., and the reading will start at 7:30 p.m. Coffee and noshes will be served, courtesy of Church Street, and the reading is free as free can be.

What’s the source of all this poetry largesse? (We’re so glad you asked!) We’re combining the forces and resources of ASFA-CW’s Ron Casey Visiting Writers Series with those of the fine folks at DISCO and at the Nitty Gritty Magic City Reading Series, which is run by the inimitable Katherine Webb and Russell Hehn (along with ASFA-CW’s very own Ashley Jones). The aim is to bring even more great writers and writing-based outreach to the Birmingham metro area than we could on our own, and we’re so excited to acknowledge that the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation have provided generous support to help us make that happen.

Thursday’s activities will mark the official inauguration of our partnership. There’s more where this came from, so stay tuned for info about upcoming events in this series. Suffice it to say, we’re stoked about all of it, and we really hope you’ll join us at DISCO on Thursday night!