Friday, November 03, 2017

Nasty Women Poets at the Louisiana Book Festival

Melinda Palacio

Nasty Women Poets sign books at the Louisiana Book Festival

Last Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana celebrated its 14th Book Festival. The Louisiana Book Festival puts on a celebration like no other in the country. The night before, there's a party at the State Library with a jazz band, tables of food catered by Mansurs, one of the best restaurants in Baton Rouge, readers and authors, the festival's invited guests of honor. It's such a naughty feeling to be having that much fun in a library. The festival keeps the wine flowing and all the local food and desserts refreshed. I was fortunate enough to be included in book: Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane. As La Bloga fans might recall, Grace Bauer is a colleague of bloguera Amelia Montes at the University of Nebraska and Julie Kane is Poet Laureate Emerita of Louisiana.

Louisiana shrimp at the library's author party.
Melinda and Steve enjoying the party

The anthology rocked the house at the State Capitol, where the reading, along with several book festival programs and panels were held. This is the State Capitol of Huey P. Long fame, where the former governor was assassinated. The building also has an incredible view of Baton Rouge and beyond. The timely collection speaks not only to the current political climate and the man responsible for the title, but also to every injustice to women imaginable. Not surprising, many of the poems had the audience joining in laughter. The book contains 215 international contributors. There are readings taking place all over the country, including one at Beyond Baroque February 24. 

Julie Kane and Melinda Palacio

The book is so diverse and fun to read that it keeps selling out. I brought Steve and Alison along for the festivities and they were both duly impressed. Of the book and reading, Steve says: "Beautifully strong, self-posessed women, reading poetry that inspires tears of joy and outrage, and leaves me optimistic and hopeful." 

View from top of the Louisiana State Capitol.

Poet and English Professor Grace Bauer came up with the idea for the anthology a day before the 2016 Presidential Election. She and co-editor, Julie Kane, put in long hours to get the anthology out as soon as possible. The Louisiana Book Festival was generous enough to feature sixteen poets in a prime time slot and room at the state capitol. It was nice reading to such a large audience. Andy Young closed our set with her beautiful poem about a woman who dances unabashedly on top of her son's casket in New Orleans.

Cheers to all the Nasty Women out there. I'm honored to be included. Much gratitude to the Louisiana Book Festival, especially Jim Davis, Robert Wilson and Rebecca Hamilton for hosting us. 

Valentine Pierce

Poet Andy Young

The Louisiana State Capital in Baton Rouge

Nasty Women Poets

No comments: