Mississippi Poetry Society Fall Festival

Wynne and Diedre Payne

MPS held its annual Fall Festival at the beautiful Belhaven College. Dr. Edwin McAllister, on staff at the college, read the poem, “In Memory of  W.B. Yeats,” by Auden. (I thought this poem was appropriate for the very recent passing of our State Poet Laureate, Winifred Farrar). He then spoke on how Romanticism was a means of expressing the most intense emotional state of the poet. He feels like the window closed there for many poets, but it is just a beautiful box. It serves no use to anyone but self.  Since poetry does nothing–can’t put food on the table or help with the stock market, what purpose does it serve? Auden stated that poetry makes nothing happen. Dr. McAllister feels that he is wrong. It does matter because we are human beings and there has never been a culture that didn’t have poetry. Poetry exists not because it produces anything, but because we are human and it separates us from animals. Poetry can cure loneliness, provide a salve for the anguished soul, and unconstrain us. It heals us and frees us.

Students Peter, Davis, Jacob Rollins, Jill Crowell, Anna Redman, Tim Smith, Mary Robbins and Linsey Gill (apologies for any misspelled names) led a workshop. These guys are sharp! They picked things out of the poems that I hadn’t thought of, such as words that changed from a formal to an informal tone, when concrete objects were need to get an abstract idea across, and connotations of words that might not be appropriate. The future looks bright!

The Poets of the Year for the Decade read their poems from beautiful handmade chapbooks, thanks to Debbie Little.

Doris Jones was chosen as Poet of the Year.

Doris Jones

Student Awards were announced and winning poetry was read.  Other awards were given for the various contests. Patricia Butkovich won 1st, Jeanne Kelly won 2nd and  I was pleased to win 3rd Place in the Poets Anonymous Award for “Between Us.”

An article in the Meridian Star, written by Anne McKee, was read by Dr. Emory Jones in memory of State Poet Laureate Winifred Farrar.

For information on the MPS Spring Festival, please see Literary Events in the South, April 30-May 1.

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