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In celebration of National Poetry Month, the State Library of Louisiana is announcing the third annual Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets. Julie Kane, Louisiana’s poet laureate, will host the event from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at the State Library Seminar Center.

Poets from throughout the state will participate with Kane in readings of their works. Included poets are Nordette Adams, Jack B. Bedell, Darrell Bourque, Gina Ferrara, Charles Garrett, Christopher Hannan, Ava Leavell Haymon, Elizabeth King, Laura Mullen, Melinda Palacio and Jennifer Reeser.

“Louisiana has a rich poetic history that embodies the uniqueness of our culture,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “The State Library’s poetry month program provides this opportunity for our state’s talented poets to present their works.”

Just Listen to Yourself is free and attendees are invited to bring their lunch. For more information including biographies of the participating poets, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

Short Bios: “Just Listen to Yourself” 2013

Nordette Adamsgrew up in New Orleans, having her first poem published in the Times Picayune before she was six years old. She's lived in other places, but New Orleans was always on her mind. Since she returned in 2007, she's been writing a series of poems about the city. She is a contributing editor to BlogHer.com.

Born and raised in Houma, Louisiana, Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press.  His latest collection is Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems, from Texas Review Press.

A past Louisiana Poet Laureate, Darrell Bourque is professor emeritus in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His newest poetry collection is Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie. He lives in a bamboo grove in rural St. Landry Parish with his wife Karen, a glass artist.

Gina Ferrara is a New Orleans native who lives near Bayou St. John. Her poems have appeared in journals including Callaloo, The Southern Poetry Anthology/Louisiana, and Poetry Ireland Review. Her second book, Amber Porch Light, will be forthcoming in September from WordTech Communications.

Charles Garrett lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and works as a substitute teacher. He is also a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) practitioner. During a Night of Champions event at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette this past February, he knocked out his opponent in three rounds.

Christopher Hannan is a New Orleans attorney. First prize winner in the 2012 Tennessee Williams Festival Poetry Competition, he has published poems in The Classical Outlook, The Texas Review, The Connecticut Review, The New Orleans Review, and LouisianaCultural Vistas.

Ava Leavell Haymon teaches poetry writing in Baton Rouge and directs a retreat center for writers and artists in New Mexico. She has published five chapbooks and three books, with a fourth one due out from LSU Press this fall. Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and The Sun.

Julie Kane was the Louisiana Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013. Her two most recent poetry collections are Jazz Funeral, which won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and Rhythm & Booze, a National Poetry Series winner and Poets’ Prize finalist. She teaches at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches

Elizabeth King is 21 years of age. Born and raised in New Orleans, she is a junior psychology major at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. She is the current President of Brainy Acts Poetry Society at NSU, and she won first prize in the 2013 Argus literary magazinestudent poetry contest.

Laura Mullen lives on the parade route in Spanish Town in Baton Rouge. She is the McElveen Professor in English at LSU and the author of seven books. Her work is included in the new edition of the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry.

A native of South Central Los Angeles, Melinda Palacio married a Louisiana native and now divides her time between New Orleans and Santa Barbara, California. Her publications include the novel Ocotillo Dreams, winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Award for Excellence in Literature, and the poetry collection How Fire Is a Story, Waiting.

Jennifer Reeser was born and raised in Lake Charles, her current home, where she attended McNeese State University. She has published poems and translations in journals including Poetry, The Hudson Review, and The National Review. Her most recent poetry book is Sonnets from the Dark Lady and Other Poems.

April 2, 2013

Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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