I had the pleasure of being included in the first annual Lost Keys Literary Festival in Macon, Georgia this past weekend. Poet and chairwoman Danielle Quesenberry has been a dear friend of mine for 15 years. Many thanks to her and her team for building the festival from the ground up and bringing me to Macon to be a part of it.
Lost Keys honors Macon poet Seaborn Jones. Appropriately, we kicked off Friday evening with a memorial reading of his poetry. Thanks to Danielle, I'm familiar with his work. The reading was packed! Such a lovely tribute.
We followed that up by heading over to The 567 for a moving and memorable one-act play by Josy Jones. Then Danielle hosted an eclectic and unforgettable open mic. Quite a Friday!
Saturday started early with my Advanced Poetry Workshop. I received drafts from the participants beforehand. Many thanks to my students for their enthusiasm and the privilege of discussing their work. We talked about important topics like the balance of page and stage poetry, different ideas behind breaking the line, and constantly questioning our own habits as poets.
Next, I attended the poetry reading by Sara Hughes and Kelly Whiddon. Both poets were excellent. They had some things in common--meditations on childhood and family, how stories intersect with our lived experiences. The discussion that followed was thoughtful and illuminating. Very glad I went.
After lunch I had the honor of reading alongside the incomparable Anya Silver. Her poems were beautiful and devastating. She read them with such grace. I was humbled to share a stage with her. I traded her a Letters to Petrarch for a copy of the gorgeous I Watched You Disappear. I am particularly grateful for this part of the Lost Keys experience.
Later that afternoon, I listened to the fascinating Beauty Bragg discuss her book. I am glad Lost Keys offered such a range of topics, including this thought-provoking talk. I think that's what you want in a festival--the art, the beauty, the craft, the academics.
We closed out the festival, took a break for a few hours, then partied speakeasy style that night. I met so many lovely, talented, and interesting people. It was great to get the chance to relax and chat with all of them at the speakeasy. All in all, the festival was a tremendous success. Thanks to everyone; I felt so welcomed by the Macon community. Check out this photo of Danielle and me:
In other news, I had a couple poems come up over at The Boiler. Many thanks to the unstoppable Sebastian Paramo for including me in this fine journal. I'm a long-time fan of The Boiler; they do such amazing work.
Stay tuned, y'all. I've got my Austin reading this Thursday. Check out this interview Cindy Huyser and I put together. I'll also be at Arts Goggle in Fort Worth this coming Saturday. As always, I'll report back here about all the fun I'm having. Cheers, y'all.