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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for May 3-9, 2002.

In this issue:


The following events all happened during this week in Mississippi history.


1541: Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto arrived at the Mississippi River, nearly five months after entering present-day Mississippi. The massive river impeded his westward journey for nearly a month as his men built barges to cross the river. (May 8)

1699: Construction of Fort Maurepas was completed on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay, near present-day Ocean Springs, as part of the first French settlement in what is now Mississippi under the command of Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville. (May 4)

1700: Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, leader of the first French colony in what is now Mississippi, established a peace treaty with the Natchez Indians, who cede land on which to build Fort Rosalie near present-day Natchez, though the actual fort would not be built until 1716. (May 5)

1905: Writer and educator Miriam Weiss was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. (May 9)

1919: Writer and English professor Louise Blackwell was born in Benmore, Mississippi. (May 7)

1925: William Faulkner published “The Rosary” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (May 3)

1926: Theatre scholar Barbara Izard was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. (May 8)

1932: William Faulkner arrived in Culver City, California as an MGM contract writer. (May 7)

1932: Chemist John Fredric Garst was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (May 8)

1935: Garden writer Neil G. Odenwald was born in Heathman, Mississippi. (May 3)

1942: William Faulkner published “The Bear” in the Saturday Evening Post. (May 6)

1943: Tennessee Williams signed a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. During the following months, while awaiting a studio assignment, he wrote The Gentleman Caller, which he later renamed The Glass Menagerie. (May 4)

1944: Novelist and short story writer Jack Butler was born in Alligator, Mississippi. (May 8)

1952: Playwright Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (May 8)

1987: Writer Willie Morris spoke at the dedication of the Confederate cemetery in Raymond, Mississippi. (May 9)

1989: Economist Earl Hamilton died in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (May 7)

1993: Theologian C. E. Autrey died in Pensacola, Florida. (May 8)

1998: Myres Smith McDougal, professor of law and one of the originators of the originators of the New Haven school of jurisprudence, died in North Branford, Connecticut. (May 7)

2002: A live broadcast scheduled on C-SPAN from Rowan Oak, the former home of William Faulkner in Oxford, Mississippi. (May 5)


William Faulkner’s work, home attract C-SPAN for live May 5 broadcast

May 2, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — Rowan Oak, the Oxford home of Nobel Prize-winning writer William Faulkner, opens to television viewers May 5 via C-SPAN, the public service cable network.

Faulkner’s life and work are the focus of a live 2-4 p.m. broadcast for C-SPAN’s original series, American Writers II: The Twentieth Century, which explores the country’s history through selected writers and examines what their work means to Americans today. The broadcast originates from inside the main house, which remains closed to the public because of renovations.

“It’s doubtful that they could have a series on American writers and not include Faulkner. C-SPAN’s visit is very significant and very right,” said William D. Griffith, curator of Rowan Oak, which is owned by the University of Mississippi.

The public is invited to view the broadcast in the Triplett Alumni Center’s Butler Auditorium on Grove Loop Road.

Viewer questions are expected to fuel discussion by Dr. Don Kartiganer, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies at the University of Mississippi, and Thadious M. Davis, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. They also are expected to discuss Faulkner’s life and his first major work, The Sound and the Fury.

Kartiganer has written widely on Faulkner and is director of the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference. Among Davis’ publications is The Game of Property: Race, Gender, and Law in Faulkner’s “Go Down, Moses.”

The show encores on C-SPAN May 10 at 7 p.m. Oxford-area schools also have been visited by C-SPAN’s 45-foot-long, bright-yellow bus, which is a mobile classroom and a working production studio.

Those who wish to attend the public airing in Butler Auditorium and require special assistance because of a disability should call the UM Department of English at 915-7439.

Mississippi State University library exhibit highlights art, writings of Laurie Parker

April 30 , 2002

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Original illustrations and published works of a Starkville artist and writer are featured through May at Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library.

Laurie Parker’s popular children’s books Everywhere in Mississippi and recent release The Turtle Saver (both Quail Ridge Press of Brandon) are among items on exhibit in the third-floor atrium.

Parker, a 1985 MSU graduate in elementary education, wrote the rhyming Everywhere in Mississippi as part of a series that includes All Over Alabama, Texas Alphabet, and Louisiana Alphabet. Turtle Saver, Parker’s first non-regional book, tells the story of the far-reaching effects of a simple act of human kindness. The accompanying illustrations — collages she made with colors and materials found in old magazines — include the English bulldog featured prominently in the storyline.

Nancy Verhoek-Miller, MSU professor of curriculum and instruction and exhibit coordinator, said children “of any age” can enjoy the display of Parker’s highly expressive imagination. “Consider the exhibit as a mini-vacation; a trip to the library and an art gallery rolled into one,” she added.

For more information on the Parker exhibit, telephone Verhoek-Miller at (662) 325-7502 or Mattie Sink at 325-3848.

Do you have a news item about a Mississippi writer? Please send your information to

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

Featured this week are a number of recently republished books by and about Mississippi writers.

By Will D. Campbell
Baylor University Press (Paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 0918954843)
First published in 1992
Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

Hailed as Will Campbell’s most literary work, Providence chronicles the more than 170-year history of a square mile of plantation land in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Shifting between history and autobiography, Campbell illustrates the quest for justice among the Choctaws, African Americans, and whites on the parcel of land designated Section 13. From the forcible removal of native Choctaws, to slavery and sharecropping on the Providence Plantation, to an interracial cooperative farm in the 1930s-’50s, and finally to the present-day ownership by the Department of the Interior, Providence, according to Campbell, “has seen a lot. In a way its saga is the story of the nation.”

Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe
By David Herbert Donald
Harvard University Press (Paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 0674008693)
First published in 1989
Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

Thomas Wolfe, one of the giants of twentieth-century American fiction, is also one of the most misunderstood of our major novelists. A man massive in his size, his passions, and his gifts, Wolfe has long been considered something of an unconscious genius, whose undisciplined flow of prose was shaped into novels by his editor, the celebrated Maxwell Perkins.

In this definitive and compelling biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Herbert Donald dismantles that myth and demonstrates that Wolfe was a boldly aware experimental artist who, like James Joyce, William Faulkner, and John Dos Passos, deliberately pushed at the boundaries of the modern novel. Donald takes a new measure of this complex, tormented man as he reveals Wolfe’s difficult childhood, when he was buffeted between an alcoholic father and a resentful mother; his “magical” years at the University of North Carolina, where his writing talent first flourished; his rise to literary fame after repeated rejection; and the full story of Wolfe’s passionate affair with Aline Bernstein, including their intimate letters.

“Supersedes all previous Wolfe biographies in illuminating detail, in empathy for its complex unhappy subject, in sympathy for what he wanted to do, and what he did, as a writer, and in its own literary distinction ... A work of great subtlety and sophistication.” —Washington Post Book World

Faulkner at West Point
Edited by Robert Paul Ashley and Joseph L. Fant
University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 1578064457)
First published in 1964
Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

A new edition of a classic and a commemoration of William Faulkner’s visit to West Point forty years ago.

The Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner (1897-1962) visited the United States Military Academy at West Point less than three months before his death in 1962. On the night of April 19 he read aloud episodes from his forthcoming novel The Reivers before an audience of cadets, faculty, and staff. After the reading he answered questions about his own work and about the art of writing. Later he met the press publicly and responded graciously to probing questions. The following morning he met with cadets in two advanced literature courses and discussed a wide range of subjects — his philosophy of life, his writings, his views on America.

All these sessions were tape recorded and photographed. Two members of the English department at West Point edited the transcriptions of the tapes for this volume. It is reprinted in this new edition in commemoration of Faulkner’s sojourn to the academy forty years ago and of the academy’s bicentennial.

Faulkner at West Point, first published in 1964, includes a new preface, an introduction, and reflections on the historic visit written by two graduates who were present as cadets during the Nobel writer’s appearance.

All these materials, along with the original text, testify to the import of Faulkner’s visit and, at times, to the curmudgeonly Faulkner’s obliging good will in answering questions about himself and the writing process. This memorable book documents not only the collegial spirit of fellowship that Faulkner enjoyed while at the academy but also the great writer’s thoughts and opinions expressed shortly before his death.

William Faulkner, a Mississippian, was one of the most admired and renowned writers of the twentieth century. Among his works are The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, Sanctuary, and As I Lay Dying. Joseph L. Fant and Robert Ashley, now retired, were professors of English at the U.S. Military Academy.

The Unvanquished (Large Print Edition)
By William Faulkner
G. K. Hall (Hardcover, $28.95, ISBN: 0783897634)
Publication date: April 2002


The Unvanquished is often considered William Faulkner’s quintessential Civil War novel, and it remains one of the best introductions to Faulkner for first-time readers. The novel was constructed from short stories, most of which were first published in The Saturday Evening Post, and as a result each chapter can be read as a story unto itself. Together, the seven chapters of the novel tell the story of the Sartoris family during and after the war, the novel is especially noteworthy for its acute portrayal of the southern home front during the war, where many historians feel the war was truly lost for the Confederacy.

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

May 7: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Rhonda Rich, author of What Southern Women Know, will come to Square Books to read and sign copies of her newest book, My Life in the Pits.Visit for details.

May 9: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

David Anthony Durham will read and sign copies of his newest novel, Walk Through Darkness. Visit for details.

May 13: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Writer Barry Gifford will read and sign copies of his newest book, American Falls: The Collected Stories. Visit for details.

May 16: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Pamela Petro will read and discuss her new book, Sitting Up With the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South. Visit for details.

May 17: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Australian novelist Tim Winton will read and sign copies of his novel Dirt Music. Visit for details.

May 18-19: Lake Tiak-O’Khata, Louisville, Mississippi

The Mississippi Poetry Society, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, will hold its Spring Festival at Lake Tiak-O’Khata, near Louisville, on May 18 and 19. Featured speaker will be Carolyn Elkins, an assistant professor of English at Delta State University since 1989. She has presented poetry and writing workshops at the local, state, and national levels. She has given more than 50 poetry readings in the last several years, is a published poet and short story writer. She is a member of the Mississippi Poetry Society as well as several other writing and poetry groups. Her poems have been published in such periodicals as Asheville Poetry Review, New Delta Review, Earth News, and Tapestry.

Jeanne Kelly, current Poet of the Year, will also be on hand to sign her new collection, published by MPS, From Sunrise to Sunset. Awards will be given for winning poetry in the annual contest.

For more information on the event, contact Brenda Finnegan, MPS president, at or Dr. Emory D. Jones at

May 23: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

M.A. Harper will read from her second novel, The Worst Day of My Life, So Far. Visit for details.

May 24: Lemuria Books, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Claire T. Feild, author of Mississippi Delta Women in Prism, will be signing from her book of narrative poems. Visit for details.

May 24-26: Yazoo City, Mississippi

“Remembering Willie: A Yazoo Celebration,” a festival held in honor of famous former Yazoo City resident Willie Morris. Among the authors and speakers are Kaye Gibbons, Barry Hannah, Clifton Taulbert, and Claire T. Feild.

May 25: Ricks Memorial Library in Yazoo City, Mississippi, 10 a.m.-12 noon

Claire T. Feild, author of Mississippi Delta Women in Prism, will be signing from her book of narrative poems.

May 26: Ricks Memorial Library in Yazoo City, Mississippi, 10 a.m.-12 noon

Claire T. Feild, author of Mississippi Delta Women in Prism, will be signing from her book of narrative poems.

July 21-26: 29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference
“Faulkner and His Contemporaries”
The University of Mississippi, Oxford

Conference and registration information is now available on the web at the

If you know of upcoming readings and appearances by Mississippi writers, please let us know by writing us at 


The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You may wish to begin planning now to attend or participate.

June 26, 2002

Novelist Joe Kanon will read and sign copies of his historical thriller The Good German, at Square Books in Oxford. Visit for details.

November 11, 2002

Poetry Reading by J. D. McClatchy, Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.

February 6, 2003

U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2002) Billy Collins reads from his poetry and offers commentary on his work and other matters. Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.

February 17, 2003

A reading by Clifton L. Taulbert on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.

April 10-13, 2003

Oxford Conference for the Book, Oxford, Mississippi.

July 20-25, 2003

30th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi

If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you have suggestions, please write us at

For more information about events in the Oxford and University, Mississippi Community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:

The Mississippi Writers Page is online at

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