On Monday, October 3, American poet and 2011 Pulitzer Prize nominee Maurice Manning presented a poetry reading featuring new, unpublished poems from 7:30-9 p.m. at Harvey’s Union Auditorium.
Manning captivated his audience with his humorous yet earnest poetry that captured rural culture and faith in South America.
This included poems titled “The Barn Became a Banjo”, “Playing Dixie Rook”, and “Why Poor Old Mama Took to Her Bed”.
Janna Chance, an English teacher at Union, was present and also had dinner with Manning, along with several other English teachers.
“I think it’s great that we’re getting to hear that particular rural perspective that maybe doesn’t get as much attention,” Chance said.
A few of Manning’s other works include “The Common Man”, “Book of Visions”, and “One Man’s Dark”. “The Common Man” was a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
The English Department Union High School Committee sponsored this event. English teacher Bobby Rogers introduced Manning on behalf of the Lyceum Committee.
Manning also performed several hymns and folk songs between poems, while playing banjo and mandolin.
After the reading, there was a book signing with Manning’s books provided by Jackson’s local bookstore, Lightrap Books.
Last spring, the high school committee organized a reading by Natasha Tretheway, another well-known author, on her best-selling “Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir.” These readings mark two back-to-back events for the department, which they hope will continue in the future.
“The English department is committed to bringing in the best writers possible,” Chance said. “And that’s exciting.”
Manning was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, and currently teaches English at Transylvania University.
Maurice Manning’s books are available on Amazon and other major bookstores.