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NWFSC Reads 2011 Featuring Visiting Poets Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno and Frank X Walker

Mattie Kelly Arts Center


3/18/2011 -

Northwest Florida State College will host its annual "NWFSC Reads" focus on literary works and authors with a series of free events open to NWFSC students and the public. The focus this year will be the works of nationally recognized poets Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno and Frank X Walker, who will visit the college’s Niceville Campus April 11 for a writer’s workshop and Poetry Reading. A series of events will be held on campus leading up to the Poetry Reading, starting on April 4.

Frank X Walker is the author of four poetry collections: When Winter Come: the Ascension of York (University Press of Kentucky, 2008); Black Box (Old Cove Press, 2005); Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York (University Press of Kentucky, 2003), which won the Lillian Smith Book Award in 2004; and Affrilachia (Old Cove Press, 2000). A 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Walker serves as Writer in Residence and lecturer of English at Northern Kentucky University and is the proud editor and publisher of PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture. Walker has served as founder/Executive Director of the Bluegrass Black Arts Consortium, the Program Coordinator of the University of Kentucky's King Cultural Center and the Assistant Director of Purdue University's Black Cultural Center. The University of Kentucky awarded Walker an honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2001 for his collective community work and artistic achievements.

According to Walker, ”I have accepted the responsibility of challenging the notion of a homogeneous all-white literary landscape in this region. As a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the creator of the word Affrilachia, I believe it is my responsibility to say as loudly and often as possible that people and artists of color are part of the past and present of the multi-state Appalachian region extending from northern Mississippi to southern New York. As a writer/observer/truth teller, I choose to focus on social justice issues as well as multiple themes of family, identity and place.”

Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno is an award-winning author and poet who received the Beatrice Hawley Award for her book of poetry,Slamming Open the Door, published in 2009, a collection of poems recounting the true story of the murder of her daughter, Leidy Bonanno, in 2003. Bonanno's heartrending collection inspires both compassion for, and awe of, the human spirit. The poems evoke themes of transcending judgment, grief, loss, love and healing. The book is currently in its third printing, and two of the poems from Slamming were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2007, Kathleen received the Purple Ribbon Award from the Lutheran Settlement Home for her advocacy on behalf of domestic violence issues. She is a contributing editor of The American Poetry Review and teaches English and creative writing.

NWFSC Reads events include:

Roundtable: Poetry's Sense of Place. NWFSC Communications Professor James Suderman will lead a discussion of how poets are rooted in their time and place, focusing on Frank X Walker's Affrilachian poetry and Midwestern poets from the 1970s on Monday, April 4 at 2:30 p.m. on the Niceville campus in room 302 of the Robert E. Greene, Jr. Science Building “S”.

Roundtable: Mothers Reading Slamming Open the Door. Dr. Deidre Price, NWFSC Professor of English, will moderate a discussion focused on the mother’s persona and treatment of loss in Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s book of poems recounting the tragic murder of her daughter on Tuesday, April 5 at 1:00 p.m. at the NWFSC Fort Walton Beach Campus, building 8, room 835.

Affrilachian Poetry Reading and AASA Panel Discussion. Hear NWFSC faculty read selected works by poet Frank X. Walker and participate in a panel discussion led by the NWFSC African American Student Association and moderated by NWFSC Professor of English and AASA Sponsor Patrice Williams on Wednesday, April 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the Tyler Recital Hall of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the college's Niceville campus.

Blackwater Poetry Reading. Dr. Vickie Hunt, NWFSC Professor of English, will host a poetry reading by NWFSC students, featuring student poets published in the college's Blackwater Review literary and arts magazine on Thursday, April 7, 6:00 p.m. the NWFSC Niceville Campus, in the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries.


Both visiting poets, Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno and Frank X Walker, will discuss the art of writing at a workshop on Monday, April 11 at 11:00 a.m. in the NWFSC Learning Resources Center (LRC), room 128, on the Niceville Campus. The free workshop is geared to NWFSC students but limited seating may be available for the public.

A public reception and the unveiling of this year's edition of the college's Blackwater Review literary journal will be held at 6:00 p.m. Monday, April 11in the Art Galleries of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus . A public reading will follow at which both authors will read selections of their work at 7:00 p.m. in the Sprint Theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. The reading is free of charge, seating is limited.

For more information, visit or contact Dr. Deidre Price at 863-6521.