State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 2

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 2

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 2

State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love - Vol. 2

Synopsis

South Carolina is a state of inspiration as well as recreation. Through its natural beauty, storied heritage, and curious character, the Palmetto State finds its way into the hearts and imaginations of every native, resident, and guest to set foot on its 32,000 square miles of soil. Continuing the format of the popular original, this second volume of State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love celebrates and commemorates the connections that the accomplished contributors have found in the well-known and far-flung locations most dear to them. With companionable charm and storytellers' spirits, editor Aïda Rogers and the thirty-eight contributors invite you to amble across South Carolina with them for a chance to see the state as they have come to know it.
For writers beloved places can captivate, teach, comfort, and occasionally haunt. In this collection contributors reflect on their hometowns, the rivers and roads that marked their lives' journeys, and the maligned neighborhoods they transformed just by living and working in them. Family beach vacations, churches and churchyards, athletic arenas modest and grand, a mountain vista, a quiet pond, a city park, an old-time produce market, Lake Murray, Brookgreen Gardens--these are just a sampling of the nearly three dozen private and public places favored by this diverse group of writers of fiction, memoir, poetry, history, journalism, and more. Photographs, artwork, verse, and even a few recipes accompany the essays, bringing readers further into sharing the writers' experiences.
While State of the Heart is rooted in the landscape of South Carolina, readers from anywhere will relate to its universal themes of growing up and growing old, recognition of past mistakes, returned-to faith, the closeness of family and friends, honoring those who came before, and setting our collective sights on the promise of the future for cherished people and places.
Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina's poet laureate, provides the foreword to this collection, which includes her poem "One River, One Boat."

Excerpt

I take the role of poet laureate seriously; it is an enormous honor and privilege. During the eleven years I have served as South Carolina’s poet laureate, I have used the status of the position to accomplish many important objectives, from cofounding a literary organization to serve the writing community and the greater community to reading handwritten poems by people who have written their entire lives and never shared their work with anyone. My goals have always been to increase literacy and literary awareness in as many ways as possible. This deeply honored position in South Carolina resulted in endless requests to speak at library openings, elementary school English classes, colleges, senior centers, and lighthouse and bridge openings. I have met so many extraordinary South Carolinians, and these connections have been a deep source of joy.

While the requests are unending, and most people assume it is my duty and my expenses are covered, during the last four years attending anything has meant paying out of my own pocket. Despite my efforts on behalf of the state, during the four years Governor Nikki Haley has been in office, I have received no communication from her or her staff on any matters and they cut my travel stipend. Perhaps it should have come as no surprise to hear that at Governor Haley’s second inauguration there simply was no time for a poem. (Three minutes is not a lot of time my friends.)

Writing and reciting an inaugural poem is the one single requirement of a state poet laureate. At national poet laureate gatherings we discuss the inherent difficulties of writing poems for governors whose policies conflict with our own and the ironic fact that we often end up with a better poem because of that tension. Occasion poems are difficult to write: they have to work off the page and there can’t be a lot of ambiguity. They also must be . . .

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