August 31, 2018 –The Festival of Words celebrates another year with three amazing authors and two days of memorable events! The festival will take place Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3 in Grand Coteau. This year includes nationally recognized authors: Poet Laureate Jack Bedell, Poet & songwriter Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic and Ladee Hubbard, author of The Talented Ribkins. Festival events include: creative writing workshops in community centers and public schools, a community stage for open mics, “Drive-by Poetry” in grocery stores, boutiques and restaurants–and many opportunities for people to interact with featured authors.
The Friday night event takes place at Chicory’s Café in Grand Coteau featuring poetry by Jack Bedell, a poetry/music performance by Cornelius Eady & Rough Magic with special guest D’Jalma Garnier; and a reading by Ladee Hubbard from her award-winning novel. On Saturday, Drive-by Poetry performers will recite poems in Grand Coteau and Sunset businesses. Meanwhile, at the Thensted Center there will be an open mic and multiple creative writing workshops, which are open to the public, as well as a blackpot cook off.
Jack Bedell is currently serving as the Poet Laureate of Louisiana. Dr. Bedell is a Professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University and the author of nine books, including Call and Response (with Darrell Bourque, 2010), Come Rain, Come Shine (2006), What Passes for Love (2001), Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems (2013), Elliptic (2016), and Revenant (2016). As editor of Southeastern’s literary magazine Louisiana Literature since 1992, he has published numerous Louisiana poets. Dr. Bedell has taught creative writing to students of all ages, from the third-grade level to the graduate level over the last 30 years. Intimate and personable, his work reflects a familiarity with Louisiana life and its people. In addition, he has worked with the LEH’s award-winning PRIME TIME Family Literacy Program as a storyteller and continues to promote the writing of his fellow Louisianans.
“Jack Bedell’s love for Louisiana is evident in his work, and I’m confident that he will serve honorably as the state’s poet laureate,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I want to thank the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for leading this search, and I congratulate all of the nominees whose writings capture the heart of the people and places that make our state a unique and wonderful place to call home.”
Cornelius Eady was born in 1954 in Rochester, New York. He is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather (Penguin, 2008), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His other titles are Kartunes (Warthog Press, 1980); Victims of the Latest Dance Craze (Ommation Press, 1986), winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets; The Gathering of My Name (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1991), nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; You Don’t Miss Your Water (Henry Holt and Co., 1995); The Autobiography of a Jukebox (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1997); Brutal Imagination (Putnam, 2001); the mixed media book/cds Book of Hooks (Kattywompus Press, 2013) and Singing While Black (Kattywompus Press, 2015). His work appears in many journals, magazines, and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain’t Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000) ed. Michael S. Harper.
With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature (1985); a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, (1993); a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1992-1993); a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, (1993); and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award (1994).Eady has taught poetry at SUNY Stony Brook, where he directed its Poetry Center; City College; Sarah Lawrence College; New York University; The Writer’s Voice; The 92nd St Y; The College of William and Mary; Sweet Briar College; and The University of Missouri-Columbia. He a professor in the MFA program at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton.
In most of Eady’s poems, there is a musical quality drawn from the Blues and Jazz. Indeed, many of his poem titles allude to traditional African-American hymns and modern musicians such as Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis. Eady is also available to perform with his literary band, Rough Magic. Rough Magic is a New York-based band sprung from Almost by “magic,” a group of poet-musician-composers have converged who share Eady’s vision that text, melody, harmony, and rhythm all have an equally strong place in artistic expression. Rough Magic calls upon troubadour traditions and evokes the sounds and storytelling of blues greats like Muddy Waters, folk legends such as Woody Guthrie and the unexpected grooves and subject-matters of the Talking Heads. At the same time, band members hold a keen sense of innovation, as they are all working text-and-music makers engaged in building new combinations of words and sounds.
Ladee Hubbard was born in Massachusetts, raised in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently lives in New Orleans with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. from Princeton University, a Ph.D. from the University of California-Los Angeles, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published short fiction in the Beloit Fiction Journal and Crab Orchard Review among other publications and has received fellowships from the Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. She is a recipient of a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. THE TALENTED RIBKINS is the debut novel by Ladee Hubbard, a fresh and exciting new voice in literary fiction. Inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’ famous essay, this marvelously inventive novel tells the story of Johnny Ribkins, a 72-year old African-American antiques dealer from Florida who was born with a unique talent: he can make perfect maps of any space he walks through.