Palmetto Children’s Poetry Festival

The University of South Carolina will present the Palmetto Children's Poetry Festival on Saturday, October 23, 2010 on the university campus from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.. The festival is aimed at children, parents, educators, established writers, and those who write or want to write for children. Featured poets and writers at the event include: Curtis L. Crisler, Dianne Johnson, Meg Kearney, Marilyn Nelson, and Naomi Shihab Nye. The festival was supported by SC Humanities through a Major Grant in February 2010.

The Palmetto Children's Poetry Festival will feature readings by world-renowned writers of children’s books in verse, on-stage interviews with poets, and arts-based performances by featured poets. Split P poets will be presenting poetry workshops for teens and children. There will also be open mic sessions for children. Publishers specializing in children and teen books will be present.

The festival is sponsored by the USC Arts Institute and the S.C. Poetry Initiative with support from SC Humanities.

More information about the festival's featured poets is below:

Curtis L. Crisler won acclaim for his 2008 book of poetry Tough Boy Sonatas. The book is specifically aimed at young men from under-privileged backgrounds. It was on the list of Best Books for Young Adults 2008 list, which is sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Crisler, an assistant professor at Indiana University, won the 2008 Keyhole Chapbook Award for Spill and his poems have been published in Crab Orchard Review, THE NINTH LETTER, and African American Review.

Dinah Johnson of Columbia, S.C., is author of many children’s books. Among them are Hair Dance, Sunday Week, Splash and most recently, Black Magic.  “With bright, bold images and poetic phrases that capture a child's exuberance and unbound imagination, Johnson expresses feelings of pride and joy in unexpected ways.  You don't have to be black to be swept up by this "Magic," wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. Johnson is a professor of English at the University of South Carolina.

Meg Kearney’s novel-in-verse for teens, The Secret of Me, explored a young woman’s quest to discover her place within her adoptive family. Her illustrated book Trouper the Three-Legged Dog will be published in 2012. Her poetry collection, Home By Now, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. Currently she is Director of the Solstice Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Marilyn Nelson is author of two collections of poems for children: The Cat Walked through the Casserole and Hundreds of Hens. Her book-length poem A Wreath for Emmett Till, about the 14-year-old boy lynched in Mississippi in 1955, won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Nelson, winner of two National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowships and a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, was Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, songwriter, and novelist. Among her works is the young adult novel Habibi, about an Arab-American teenager who moves to Jerusalem, and Honeybee, a collection of poems for young people. Nye has also edited many anthologies including This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from around the World, which contains translated work by 129 poets from 68 different countries. Nye, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, has won four Pushcart Prizes and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.

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.