By M.L. Byrd
Appalachian poet, scholar, and activist Rachel Jennings will be giving a writing workshop and reading at Virginia State University on Thursday, March 29th.
The morning workshop, entitled “Write Down Last Night’s Dream—as a Poem,” will be held from 8:30 – 9:30 in Vawter Hall 106. (Participants may, of course, use any recent dream for the writing exercise.)
The lunchtime reading, “Memory and Other Hungers,” will focus on themes of family, home, and healing. It will be held from 11:30 – 12:30 in Vawter Hall 106.
Jennings is the author of Elijah’s Farm (2008), a poetry collection, and two chapbooks, Hedge Ghosts (2003) and Knoxville Girl: A Walk to the River (2011). She received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in Irish and post-colonial literature, and she currently teaches at San Antonio College. Jennings volunteers at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and regularly teaches poetry through the Macondo Writing Workshop, founded by prominent Chicana writer Sandra Cisneros.
Cisneros raves about Ms. Jennings’ work: “Whereas kin forget and history is often deaf, this poet remembers as faithfully as any bible plump with names of the living and the dead. It’s to the survivors she pays homage, the barrio rednecks, the hillbilly women, the folks who don’t think they make a difference in this world. At home in Texas or Tennessee, in Aztlan or Appalachia, Jennings knows talk is more than just talk, and poetry is more than just poetry, but necessary medicine for communities ignored.”
Both events are sponsored by the Department of Languages and Literature and are free and open to the public. Community members interested in either event may call the department for more information, 524-5171 or 524-5480.