The fourth season of Poetry at McLeod will take place in April and May in Charleston. This acclaimed series, held at a southern cotton plantation, presents African American poets illuminating the experience and legacy of enslavement and offers a free poetry workshop geared to all levels of experience. SC Humanities supported this series with a Fast Track Literary Grant.
McLeod Plantation Historic Site is an important Gullah heritage site preserved for its cultural and historical significance. Katherine Williams, who organized several seasons of Poetry at McLeod, described the program’s significance: “Poets, presenters, and listeners alike were affected by the readings, deeming the experience “meaningful,” “powerful” and “unforgettable.” The free workshops and lectures given by the poets were well-attended and highly appreciated, generating interesting drafts and furthering the appreciation of African American history and poetry.”
The first reading in 2021 features three young, developing poets with Charleston County ties: Yvette Murray, Joey Tucker, and Malachi Jones. They will appear on Saturday, April 10, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at McLeod Plantation Historic Site. It will also be livestreamed on Facebook.
Joey Tucker will present a workshop on Sunday, April 11 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on “Why We Write.” Participants will experiment with different types of poems and will have an opportunity to brainstorm topics, give/receive feedback, and share with poets of all levels of experience.
Featured Poet Teri Ellen Cross Davis will appear on the weekend of May 29-30. Teri Ellen Cross Davis’s forthcoming A more perfect Union won The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize; her debut, Haint, (Gival Press, 2016) won the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. A Cave Canem fellow, her scholarships include the Sewanee’s Writer Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her poems appear in Academy of American Poets, Kenyon Review, Kestrel, PANK, Tin House, and elsewhere.
On Saturday, May 29, she will appear at McLeod State Historic Site from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The program will also be livestreamed on Facebook. On Sunday, May 30, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Teri Ellen Cross Davis will present the generative workshop “Tell Me Your Names,” which will explore family and ancestry through poetry. Using close readings of Etheridge Knight, Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton and more, participants will consider how poems can examine, celebrate and/or reconsider history and also discuss how persona and voice inform that work.
The readings are free to the first 50 participants and free with site admission to all other participants.
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 20-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.