So it's not surprising that when I connected with the folks at Kestrel literary journal to appear again this year at the Kestrel Festival in October, that music began playing in my thoughts. Kestrel was a special part of my years in West Virginia, where I began my work as a writer, gained my first publications, and then was "brought into the fold" as a literary magazine editor with the nascent Kestrel.
Martin Lammon and the late John King and I would gather over coffee at the Poky Dot restaurant in Fairmont, WV, a classic "breakfast all day" diner that's been upscaled in recent years, to exchange our stacks of manuscripts and discuss what we liked, and what we weren't certain about. I'm proud that in those early years were published many writers who were already well known or who would go on to gain distinction nationally.
Soon after the magazine began, we started thinking about a festival of literature, art, and music. That came to be, and we hosted such luminaries as Donald Hall and Jean Valentine and Margaret Gibson and many others.
Mary Dillow Stewart would join the editorial team, then John Hoppenthaler. I left West Virginia in 1997, but Kestrel is still going strong, under the leadership of Donna Long and Suzanne Heagy and Elizabeth Savage. The festival, too, endures.
If you are in or around Fairmont, WV, on Oct. 9-11, catch the events at the university and venues in town. I will be reading Saturday at 2 p.m. and doing manuscript consultations.
Here are some other readings this fall, after a very busy summer that took me to Piccolo Spoleto Festival and the Joaquin Miller Reading Series in Washington, DC:
SEPT. 20 - 4 p.m. - Reading at the New Bern- Craven County Public Library, New Bern, NC.
OCT. 4 - Reading at The Joyful Jewel, Pittsboro, NC.
OCT. 9 - 7 p.m. - Reading at the Center for Women Writers, Salem College, Winston-Salem NC.
OCT. 10 - Kestrel Festival, Fairmont State University, Fairmont, WV. Reading at 2 p.m., manuscript consultations.
OCT. 18 - 3 p.m. - Reading at Common Grounds at Deep Roots Market, Greensboro NC.
OCT. 25 - 2 p.m. - "Hotel Worthy" reading in the NC Poetry Society Series at McIntyre's Books, Fearrington Village, NC
NOV. 23 - 6 p.m. -Cameron Village Regional Library, invited guest for the literary gathering in celebration of Cervantes.