The annual Catherine Case Lubbe Manuscript Contest for 2019 was awarded to J. Todd Hawkins for This Geography of Thorns: Blues Poetry from the Mississippi Delta & Beyond. It has been the practice of PST to introduce the book at the summer conference. Todd’s book was to have had a splendid debut at that time with his presence to autograph copies. It is now available at http://www.jtoddhawkins.com/bookstore.html.
Adam Tavel, professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury MD, director of the Echoes & Visions Reading Series, and judge for the 2019 Lubbe contest, writes:
Haunted, meditative, and lyrical, This Geography of Thorns takes readers on an engrossing, Dantesque sojourn through the American south in search of that most authentic of American artforms: the blues. To call this book a mere homage to the blues, however, would be a disservice to its heart, its sophistication, and its astute avoidance of cliché. … [It is] an impressive collection, but these poems offer far more. First and foremost, they recognize the grim historical legacies of both slavery and sharecropping, honoring the tenacity of African-American communities to make art in the face of oppression, injustice, and terror. … [P]age after page stuns with rich descriptions of southern landscapes, reminding us that poetry, music, and our very survival are inescapably rooted in the survival of our ecology.
The poems offer vignettes of the 1930s as well as of today’s South with an affection palpable in each line. The collection goes beyond the impressive writing and raises its voice to encourage positive social awareness—appreciation, acceptance, and equality in the search for beauty and meaning.
Official Notice of Cancellation of the Summer Conference
51st Annual Summer Conference – July 2020
The 2020 Summer Conference has been cancelled.
This was not a step lightly taken but with the current circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty about the future, the officers and Board of PST believes that this is in the best interest of the organization and its membership. The Radisson has been very understanding and has accepted our cancellation and agreed to return 100% of our initial deposit. PST will not lose a penny over this decision.
We are all very sad that this step was necessary but the health and safety of our members take precedence in this situation. If even one person contracted the virus as a result of a conference that would be too many. In addition, we cannot be sure that the Radisson would have a full staff to meet our needs.
Poetry Society of Texas