The third evening of the annual Seat in the Shade poetry series welcomes to the stage Sharon Nuruddin as well as Dave Bottoms, Georgia Poet Laureate.
Sharon Nuruddin/aboyade efunniyi is a doctoral student of language and literacy education in the College of Education at The University of Georgia. She is amotherscholar who researches parent perspectives on bilingual and dual language education. A Spanish-English bilingual, she writes in and between both her languages, and her poetry was included in Tonguas, a literary arts journal published by the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). During the 2017-18 academic year, she served as poetry, fiction, and visual arts editor for JoLLE, The Journal of Language and Literacy Education. She holds BAs in Spanish and Sociology from Villanova University and an MA in Translation from UPR.
David Bottoms < https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/david-bottoms>was born in Canton, Georgia in 1949. He earned an MA from the University of West Georgia and a PhD from Florida State University. In 1979, Bottoms won the prestigious Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for his collection Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump. Robert Penn Warren, the contest’s judge, described Bottoms as “a strong poet, and much of his strength emerges from the fact that he is temperamentally a realist. In his vision the actual world is not transformed but illuminated.” The book—filled with bars, motels, pawnshops, truckers, waitresses, and vandals—was recognizably Southern in tenor and landscape. Yet Washington Post Book World reviewer Joel Conarroe called Bottoms “clearly a meticulous craftsman whose highest pleasure is not in shooting rats or gigging frogs or killing squirrels …but in finding a language, supple and evocative, to communicate the implications of these experiences.”
Since Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump, Bottoms has continued to write poems that “communicate the implications of experiences” through clear narratives, natural and animal imagery, and influences that range from church and blue-grass music to the work of James Dickey, who was a close friend. Speaking to William Walsh, Bottoms commented on his affinity for church hymns and spirituals: “There's so much water imagery in those hymns. It's the whole beautiful notion of crossing over, of getting to the other side. This imagery, of course, is ancient, and not uniquely Christian, but I suppose Sunday school largely accounts for my love of it. Also, as you know, lakes and rivers make such wonderful metaphors for the psyche—the conscious mind and the unconscious, the surface and that hidden realm below the surface. I keep coming back to that, I guess.”
Bottoms’s collections of poetry include In a U-Haul North of Damascus (1982) Armored Hearts: Selected and New Poems (1995), Vagrant Grace (1999), and Waltzing through the Endtime (2004). Waltzing through the Endtime, though still utilizing Southern themes and locales, marks a slight shift in Bottoms’s style. Concerned with apocalyptic “endtime” prophecies, and delving deeper into autobiography, the poems circle and fracture around central narratives and images. Bottoms commented to Walsh: “The new book is much more of what I've always wanted my poems to be…[they] have evolved stylistically. They've stretched their muscles a little. The stories are still there and they remain central, but the poems pause to think about them more, and to think not only about their consequences for our everyday lives but to think about their ultimate consequences.” Speaking to some of the main influences on Bottoms’s work, a review in Library Journal remarked: “If Bottoms's lines sometimes reminds one of Robert Penn Warren (authority of voice) and Charles Wright (attention to detail), it is always filled with Bottoms's very own voice, his gift for evocative images, searching irony, and meditative poise.”
David Bottoms has won many awards and honors for his work, including the Levinson Prize, an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, an Ingram-Merrill Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He holds the Amos Distinguished Chair in English at Georgia State University and is Poet Laureate of Georgia.
see also < https://georgiawritershalloffame.org/honorees/david-bottoms>
PRESS RELEASE FOR WHOLE SERIES: Georgia's poet laureate among performers for 'Seat in the Shade' Poetry series features weekly readings from notable authors The summer poetry series "Seat in the Shade" kicks off next month with a slate of notable writers that include Georgia's poet laureate. Hosted by Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, a professor in the University of Georgia College of Education, the weekly readings kick off Wednesday, July 11, and continues July 18 and 25. The final performance takes place Thursday, July 26, with a special reading by Cahnmann-Taylor and student poets who attend the readings as part of a class. Readings take place 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Hendershots Coffee, 237 Prince Ave., Athens. The poetry event began six years ago in conjunction with Cahnmann-Taylor's summer poetry class that encourages students—often Georgia teachers pursuing a graduate degree—to think outside the box in their writing. "These won't be stuffy black turtle neck readings, but public celebrations of music and story. Poetry on the page comes alive on the stage--this year features a range of emerging and accomplished Georgia writers," Cahnmann-Taylor said Poets Soham Patel and Jenny Sadre-Orafal will read on July 11. Patel is an assistant editor at Fence and The Georgia Review, and is the author of several chapbooks and two full-length collections of poetry. Sadre-Orafai has written two books and five chapbooks, and her collection of poetry, "Book of Levitations," will be published next year. The July 18 performance features Sabrina Orah Mark and Lemuel "Life the Griot" LaRoche. Mark has written two collections of poetry and her collection of stories, "Wild Milk," will be published later this year. LaRoche is known in the Athens area for his groundbreaking work with the nonprofit Chess and Community, but is also internationally known for his poetry and spoken word and has written two books. On July 25, Sharon Nuruddin and Dave Bottoms will take the stage. Nuruddin is a bilingual author and a doctoral student of language and literacy education in the UGA College of Education while Bottoms, Georgia's poet laureate, has published many collections of poetry and won numerous awards for his work. His poems draw from Southern imagery and narratives, including church hymns, bluegrass music and the natural world. The series concludes with a Thursday evening performance led by Cahnmann-Taylor, the author of three educational texts and a book of poems, Josina Guess from Comer, Geogia, and Charlee Cain, a language educator and emerging poet. The performance is also a chance for Cahnmann-Taylor's students to flex their poetry muscles and perform what they wrote during the summer class.
This is the first year this series has support from the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission and a Georgia Literary Events Grant. For details, visit coe.uga.edu/seatintheshade.