A one-of-a-kind poetry festival. We are inclusive, rather than exclusive. Each year we ask the judges for our Festival Anthology (Contest going on NOW--cut-off date, July 15!) to select well-written poetry, but simply not necessarily from only one group or style of writers. What we hope for in our anthology is a blend of professionals, MFA's, high school students, farmers, businessmen, housewives, people who write poetry for the sheer joy of it.
Our day is fun, and we always learn something new.
We begin with the "special guest readers" who have applied to read or whom we have invited ahead. Usually, but not always, these readers have at least one published book or chapbook. We include "Out Loud" poets and performance poets among our special guest "readers," even though they don't "read." We try to strike a balance of gender, race, read poetry, and out-loud poetry. We come as close as we can.
After the guest readings, those published in the Limestone Dust Poetry Anthology, read their winning poems. We prefer the winners to be present, but sometimes, if winners live far away, we understand that is not possible, and we will try to designate a reader for them. Each winner receives a complimentary copy of the anthology. Extra copies may be purchased at a ridiculously low price, usually $5.00. (One year, a winner from New York, caught a Greyhound Bus for a very long ride to Huntsville, just to read his one winning poem. We did put him up for the night and took him out to dinner, on us, with our guest poets. He was back on the 6 a.m. bus New York the next morning.)
The final event of the day is Open Mic, set aside for anyone who wishes to read, as long as that poet has signed up at registration. Since children are sometimes present, we ask the Open Mic readers to consider their choices of poetry. Most of the time, they do. Not always.
During the whole afternoon, we serve barbecue and potato salad, iced tea, bottled water, for which there is no charge. We also give out door prizes, from the sublime to the utterly absurd, that have been donated by the community.
We also sell author books at NO charge to the authors. When our readers leave, they have cash in-hand.
We are a not-for-profit organization, but do appreciate any donation you might be willing to make. Everything we do make goes back into the till for the next year's Festival.
What I love about this festival is that it is always like opening a surprise gift--we never know what is going to be inside! But it is wild with life, from all views and styles of writing.
Y'all come down!
Causes Bonnie Roberts Supports
The Southern Poverty Law Center, The National Resource Defense Council, The ACLU, Doctors without Borders, Save Darfur