The 27thAnnual Caden Blincoe Outloud Festival will be held on Thomas More University‘s campus on Sunday, Feb. 24 from 2-4 p.m. The event, which will take place in the Saints Center, is free and open to the public.
This year marks a unique line-up for four poet laureates in a festival setting. In attendance will be former Kentucky poet laureate George Ella Lyon, West Virginia’s current poet laureate Marc Harshman, Cincinnati’s current poet laureate Manuel Iris, and former poet laureate of Cincinnati Pauletta Hansel, who continues to serve as one of TMU’s artists-in-residence. Weatherford Award winner and TMU artist-in-residence Richard Hague will introduce the event along with TMU student poets involved in the Urban Appalachian Leadership Project. The event will also include music by Tellico, a three-generation Appalachian family band. Appetizers will be served.
The annual event, supported by the University’s Creative Writing Vision Program, honors the late Boone County Kentucky Enquirer reporter and literacy advocate Caden Blincoe, who emphasized the importance of sharing great literature among all people, including those who may not read or have access to books. Blincoe was also a member of the Cincinnati Editor’s Association, the Cincinnati Writers Project, and Adult Literacy.
Doors open at 1:15 p.m. Local authors who attend are welcome to bring books for signing tables.
“In the hardest of times, people can find value and sincere community in literary circles,” said Sherry Cook Stanforth, Ph.D., founder and director of the TMU Creative Writing Vision Program. “Our university is committed to promoting meaningful, lifelong practice and friendship through the arts. The spoken and written word provides an opportunity to reflect genuinely about other people and to find common ground. I’ve been calling this year’s event a quadratic equation—four poet laureates from our region will represent the function of bending the line, breaking down walls.”
Stanforth added that the Outloud Festival is a great venue for reuniting with old friends or bringing different generations together.
The Outloud Festival began in 1991 at Big Bone Lick State Park and shortly after moving to the campus became one of TMU’s most popular public events, featuring regional greats including Frank X Walker, Crystal Wilkinson, Richard Taylor, the late Jim Webb, Cathy Smith Bowers, and Robert Gipe.
Following the event, on Monday, Feb. 25, West Virginia’s poet laureate Marc Harshman will visit Locust Corner Elementary School in Clermont County, Ohio, where there is a significant Appalachian student population. Former Kentucky poet laureate George Ella Lyon will be on Thomas More’s campus to meet with visiting students from Oyler School, the region’s largest community learning center currently serving many lower Price Hill families of Appalachian heritage. Lyon’s program is part of “Adventure in the Humanities,” a day-long K-12 experience offered by TMU’s Creative Writing Vision Program to inspire interactive engagement with arts, culture, and academic disciplines.
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