J. Gordon Coogler Festival in Blythewood

J. Gordon CooglerBravo Blythewood will present a special series of literary and historical events in December 2013 and January 2014 about the life of Blythewood native son, J. Gordon Coogler. Coogler was known as the “Bard of Doko”(Doko was the original name of Blythewood) because he would write poetry for customers who came to his store. Educational materials about Mr. Coogler’s life will be distributed to 11 schools in the Blythewood area in December, and three public events will take place in January. SC Humanities supported this program with a Mini Grant in November 2013.

J. Gordon Coogler was born in Blythewood in 1865. He later opened a print shop in downtown Columbia where he would write poetry for customers while they waited. Coogler published five thousand short collections of original verse during his lifetime, including two versions of his book-length collection titled Purely Original Verse. Despite his prolific output, Coogler has been mostly forgotten. Bravo Blythewood plans to renew familiarity with him and his work and highlight his philosophy that poetry is accessible to all.

In January 2014, three main public events will take place, leading up to the Region 2 Poetry Out Loud competition on January 25, 2014. These events include:

January 18 – January 23
J. Gordon Coogler Festival – Poetry Stations
Manned poetry stations will be set up around Blythewood, SC where volunteers will create original poetry in the style of J. Gordon Coogler for people on the spot.
Sponsored by Bravo Blythewood
Dates, Times, and Locations:
Saturday, January 18, 2014: Richland Library (Main Branch), 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, January 18, 2014: Richland Library (Blythewood Branch), 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 23, 2014: Town Hall of Blythewood (171 Langford Road), 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, January 23, 2014: Lizard's Thicket (711 University Village Drive), 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 23, 2014: First Citizen's Bank Blythewood (201 Blythewood Road), 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 23, 2014: Blythewood IGA (135 Blythewood Road), 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 23, 2014: Blythewood Pharmacy (420 McNulty Avenue), 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Learn more: 803-754-0501


January 23 | 06:00 – 09:00 p.m.
J. Gordon Cooler Festival – A Celebration of J. Gordon Coogler
Join in a celebration of J. Gordon Coogler as family historian Mr. Art Coogler gives a brief history of his life and legacy. Students will also read and share their poetry in the style of Coogler, and some of Coogler's own poetry will be recited. Poetry stations will be manned for the creation of poetry on the spot!
Location: The Manor at Doko Meadows, 171 Langford Road, Blythewood, SC 29016
Free and open to the public
Info: 803-754-0501

January 24 | 06:00 – 08:00 p.m. 
J. Gordon Coogler Festival – Book Event
Mr. Art Coogler, relative and family historian, and Mr. Bill McDonald, a retired newspaper columnist and active participant in the 1983 Coogler Festival will speak on all things Coogler. Selected poems from "Purely Original Verse" will be read and discussed.
Sponsored by Bravo Blythewood and the Blythewood Historical Society
Location: The historic Langford-Nord House, 100 McNulty Street, Blythewood, SC 29016
Free and open to the public
Info: 803-754-0501

Bravo Blythewood is committed to cultivating the talents of Blythewood and the surrounding community, through events, education, promotion, advocacy, and support. Their goal is to provide a unifying element for all artists in order to foster, develop, and grow the local artist community. More information about Bravo Blythewood can be found on their website: http://www.bravoblythewood.com.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. SC Humanities programs and initiatives are balanced, reflecting sensitivity to the diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity, and are ethical in operations.