Poetry at McLeod

In co-operation with Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, James Island Arts will host readings by poets at McLeod Plantation Historic Site (325 Country Club Dr., James Island) in March, April, and June 2018. The “Poetry at McLeod” series includes lectures and workshops. SC Humanities supported this effort with a Fast Track Literary Grant.

McLeod Plantation Historic Sites is an important Gullah heritage site preserved for its cultural and historical significance. Poetry at McLeod, a first-rate series with poets of national stature, presents modern African-American perspectives on the plantation experience so basic to Island history and culture, which will be an  advancement of James Island Arts’ mission to foster a more vibrant and cohesive cultural community on James Island.

Planned events in the “Poetry at McLeod” series are listed below. All events are at 2 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. Admission to McLeod, normally $15/person, is free to the first 50 people who come for poetry. A brief tour of this important site is included after the reading.

Gary Jackson (originally scheduled for September 2017, but the event had to be rescheduled because of Hurricane Irma.)
Saturday, March 17, 2018
 | 2:00 p.m., Town Hall Writing Workshop, James Island Town Hall
Sunday, March 18, 2018 | 2:00 p.m., Poetry at McLeod, McLeod Plantation Historic Site
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Gary Jackson is the author of the poetry collection Missing You, Metropolis, which received the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He was featured on 2013’s “New American Poets” by the Poetry Society of America, and his poems have appeared in Callaloo, Tin House, 32 Poems, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. He’s also published in Shattered: The Asian-American Comics Anthology, and is the recipient of both a Cave Canem and Bread Loaf fellowship. He joined the Department of English at the College of Charleston in 2013.

Len Lawson
Saturday, April 17, 2018
| 2:00 p.m., Town Hall Writing Workshop, James Island Town Hall
Sunday, April 18, 2018 | 2:00 p.m., Poetry at McLeod, McLeod Plantation Historic Site
Len Lawson, of Sumter SC, hosts Cave Canem retreats in SC and is an advocate and organizer of discussions on race. He is studying toward the Ph.D. degree in Pennsylvania. His chap book, Before the Night Wakes You, was just published by Finishing Line Press.

Marilyn Nelson
Saturday, June 2, 2018
| 2:00 p.m., Town Hall Writing Workshop, James Island Town Hall
Sunday, June 3, 2018 | 2:00 p.m., Poetry at McLeod, McLeod Plantation Historic Site
Marilyn Nelson, daughter of a Tuskegee Airman, a founding member of Cave Canem, and finalist for several National Book Awards, has composed extensively on the lives of African Americans, including Emmett Till, George Washington Carver, and a slave named Fortune.

The first program in the series, featuring poet Kwoya Fagin Maples, took place in October 2017.

For more information about James Island Arts or the Poetry at McLeod program, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/jamesislandarts or contact (843) 795-4141. SouthArts, in partnership with SC Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, also supported this project.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image: Courtesy of Charleston County Parks