Opportunities and Announcements
Chattanooga’s Barking Legs Theater will offer Drive in Dances May 16, with accompanying music broadcast by Dr. Richard Winham. Tickets for this production are advance sale only. The audience will watch from their cars and tune their radios to WUTC 88.1 FM to hear accompaniment. Wednesday Jazz continues as a weekly online presentation. The Floor is Yours, virtual open mic, will be on hiatus until May 22.
It is a pleasure to see the South Cumberland State Park reopening, This park is a gem in our state park system and the Friends of South Cumberland State Park are instrumental in maintaining and promoting this unique natural area. The friends have also created the Mack S, Prichard Legacy Project, conserving a record of Prichard’s lifelong work as a Tennessee conservationist. Those of you who never met Mack missed a fabulous learning opportunity. He passed over a few weeks back.
Rattle Poetry now offers three live streamed programs. Rattlecast is part interview and part reading with a prompt based open mic, offered Tuesdays at 9 PM ET. Rattle also offers a virtual open mic broadcast, “Poets Respond Live,” Sundays at 12:00 pm. Their Critique of the Week series allows participants to give online critiques of submitted work, Fridays at 5 PM. See past episodes of these events on Rattle’s YouTube channel.
Crabtree Farms continues to promote locally grown produce from their own property and from other area farms. Their educational programs and events are on hiatus, but they are expected to reopen soon. Check their website for information about produce purchases at the farm
The Chattanooga Pulse publishes their online edition each Wednesday. The arts section for this week features Marcus Patrick Ellsworth, empresario of The Floor is Yours. With skilled interviewer Jenn Webster, he discusses the transition from live to virtual performance during the isolation of Covid-19. The online presentations have included links to “virtual tip jars,” for artists dependent on performance revenue to generate some income
A Tampa newspaper asked citizens to respond to the pandemic with Haiku. Check upcoming issues for published responses.
The Sequatchie Valley Institute and Liquidambar Art Gallery remain closed for the time being, Over the years, they have offered demonstrations of innovative construction and food production. Check their web for an announcement of reopening later this year.
Pink Noise, a poetic podcast, includes work by Tennessee poet Kelly Hanwright, reading from her upcoming book, The Locust Years. Tune in for poetry and life from numerous authors.
Sustainable energy and building practices remain at the heart of the mission of the Chattanooga organization Greenspaces. Visit their web site for full information about events and ongoing programs.
Get a weekly set of writing prompts from our Nashville friends, The Porch Writers Collective. They also offer on-line workshops this year. Future offerings will likely return to in person meetings.
“Healing the earth, one yard at a time” remains the mission of The Wild Ones with their focus on native plants. Their certification program includes both breadth and depth knowledge on the topics of native plants, invasive plants, and landscaping in harmony with nature.
Support for local artists during the pandemic was forthcoming from Arts Build (formerly Allied Arts). Their assistance helped to sustain 88 authors during the pandemic. Their mission to provide arts leadership for Chattanooga and arts instruction in the schools continues. Soundcorps, an affiliated organization, has links to
services and emergency resources for musicians during Covid -19
Tennessee River Rescue continues to coordinate a volunteer effort to get trash off the banks and out of the river. On the first Saturday of each October, hundreds of volunteers remove thousands of pounds of trash that would otherwise become hazards not only to wildlife, but also to recreational water users and to navigation. Consider volunteering this year.
The Chattanooga Writers Guild offers their Spring Writing Contest with cash awards and publication in their anthology. In addition to the traditional categories of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, they have added three categories for writing specifically about Chattanooga this year.
The Chattanooga Audubon Society has announced their 2020 Photo Contest. The submission fee is $10, and photographers may include up to 3 photographs per submission. The is no limit to the number of submissions and individual may make, but the fee is $10 per submission. Photos must be taken within 40 miles of Maclellan Island, a CAS property.
The Chattery offers practical workshops for people with a wide range of interest. Recent topics have ranged from “Bird Watching from your Couch” to “Building a Road Map to your Dream Home.” Currently limited to online workshops, they plan a return to workshops conducted in person at their facility.
Shameless Self Promotion
The Chattanooga Pulse recently published Ray’s article, “From Page to Screen, Casper Cox Searches for Hidden Rivers.”
Ray Zimmerman’s lyric essay, “Late August Collage,” and a poem, “Driving to New Hope,” will appear in the upcoming edition of Catalpa, a magazine of Southern perspective. The new edition is anticipated within three weeks. There will also be a limited print edition.
Family Stories Elegantly Told
In her recent chap book, Migration, Poet Cynthia Robinson Young presents eight generations of family in this elegant collection. She begins the story with Egururu, born of parents brought from Africa on a slave ship by a merchant she calls Charon, giving him the Greek name of the boatman who ferried the dead to Hades, land of an ancient god who shared its name. Egururu kept her name secretly but was known as Charity to the master and slave traders.
From that beginning, the poet memorializes a lineage of ancestors through years of slavery, emancipation, Jim Crowe laws and flight to northern cities. I almost said survived those years, but some of those ancestor’s lives were cut short by mobs. The poet herself is proof that her family survived.
The stories continue, though story seems a poor word for these heroic verses. The poet speaks of her parents and the death of her father. She tells us of her resolve to keep their stories alive. We witness a visit by her deceased mother who speaks in conversation:
Why did you come back?
“To tell you not to worry.”
Why did you come back?
“Because I didn’t want to leave.”
Like the poet’s mother, the reader lucky enough to have a copy of these verses will want to return to this slim volume again and again.
Fiery Gizzard, Voices from the Wilderness by Mary Patten Priestly
This unique book blends history and natural history to tell the story of the Fiery Gizzard, now a part of South Cumberland State Park. The Author edits The Plant Press, newsletter of the Sewanee Herbarium, so the emphasis on native plants and botanical rarities is not surprising.
She also reveals the geologic history of “the Giz” and speaks somewhat of the fauna, but her real story is one of people.
From Bartrum and other early explorers, to modern day naturalists, artists, and citizens, Priestly explains why these people found the Fiery Gizzard an important place, and sought to live nearby and, eventually, to preserve it as a park for future generations.
This short book is an easy read but fascinating for anyone interested in conservation or the outdoors.