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Literary Festival 2010 - April 5-8

With a theme of “Four Poets – Four Voices,” the ninth annual Literary Festival at TCC showcased landmark poets, diverse and profound in their acclaimed styles and presentations. Together they help shape the literary landscape of the nation.

TCC's Literary Festival 2010 keynote speaker – U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan – spoke to more than 350 guests in TCC’s Roper theatre on April 5, followed by book signings. Ryan engaged the audience with readings from her works, showcasing her famed wordplay and love of “big words.” Ryan has written six books of poetry including just-released The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends, Say Uncle and The Niagara River. Her writing, often compared to that of Emily Dickinson because it illuminates the ordinary, has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Yale Review and The American Scholar. [News Release]

- Photos by Bradley Smith


Slam poet Taylor Mali captivated students and guests with performance poetry in motion on April 6 in the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center. A pioneer of the slam poetry movement, Mali was one of the original poets on the HBO series, Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry. Mali was also the “Armani-clad villain” of Paul Devlin’s 1997 documentary film SlamNation. He has written two books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are and What Learning Leaves. [TCC Video] [Daily Press Video, go to bottom right of page.]



Pulitzer-Prize winner Charles Wright spoke at the Chesapeake Campus about his writing career which began when he was stationed in Italy with the U.S. Army, and his roots in Tennessee. His path to success included a writer’s workshop at University of Iowa, where he later earning a master’s degree. Widely published, Wright received a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1998 for Black Zodiac and a National Book Award in 1983 for Country Music: Selected Early Poems. He is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the Souder Family Professor of English at the University of Virginia.


Considered a treasure of Virginia, Nikki Giovanni spoke at the Virginia Beach and Portsmouth campuses, noting public topics of the day while reflecting on life, love and the amazing human spirit. One of the most widely-read American poets, Giovanni maintains a prominent place as a strong voice of the African-American community. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea were honored with NAACP Image Awards. Blues: For All the Changes reached No. 4 on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list, a rare achievement for a book of poems. The author of some 30 books for adults and children, Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. [TCC Video]

Photo by Nikko Knapp-Castillo Photo by Nikko Knapp-Castillo
Photo by Nikko Knapp-Castillo


Photo by Nikko Knapp-Castillo