Visiting Writers Series returns

By Llana Samuel, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Award-winning poet James Kimbrell treated Armstrong faculty and students to a special reading of his works at Foxy Loxy Café in Downtown Savannah last Thursday. The event marked the highly anticipated renewal of the Armstrong Visiting Writers Series after a seven-year break.

Kimbrell, author of “My Psychic” and “Gatehouse Heaven” read several works of poetry from his latest collection, “Smote.” He also read “First Publication,” which he dedicated to an Armstrong English class he visited on Thursday.

Dr. Belford, a faculty member in the LLP department and friend of James Kimbrell, worked with students, the College of Liberal Arts and the Southern Poetry Review to restore the series to its original glory.

Jackie Zantow, president of the Armstrong Writers Collective and a senior English major praised the renewal saying “I think the Visiting Writers Series is re-launching at a time when there’s a great energy in the College of Liberal Arts to make Armstrong a college that serves not only, students but the community as a whole.”

This event offers students the opportunity to learn from writers who have mastered the English language in their own community.

The event was many English students’ first experience attending a poetry reading. Students and faculty listened attentively as Kimbrell spoke about his experiences and the influences behind each work he chose to read.

“Halfway through the first poem, I was laughing. He was talking about his experience with love and sex, but he found a way to capture the experience with a comedic curve,” sophomore theater major, Amelia Luxe said. “I’d never thought of poetry as comedic up until then,” she added.

Kimbrell dotted his reading with friendly humor and held the audience until the final roaring applause. With subjects ranging from teenage sexual encounters to racism and the parent-child relationship, it was easy for the diverse audience to relate to his poems on a personal level.  

The success of the first event has set a standard that will be hard, but not impossible, for next semester’s visiting fiction writer to match. Students and staff across all disciplines, as well as the public, are encouraged to attend the free event held at Foxy Loxy Café on Bull Street in downtown Savannah.