Sunday, February 21, 2016

Deckle Edge

Lots of Poetry, Some Fiction

This weekend I spent much of Saturday and Sunday at Deckle Edge, a book festival replacing the SC Book Festival. Saturday’s events, perhaps because of the sunny weather and the nearby Soda City street market, had more traffic. The revised format of the book festival is a refreshing departure from the convention center and conference rooms. Organizers cashed in on venues on Main Street with nearby restaurants and Mast General Store (of course I stopped and shopped between presentations).
Events were held in less formal settings.
By the way, the Saturday morning Soda City market is worth a trip downtown. The block of Main Street between Taylor and Hampton is blocked off to traffic and filled with tents of vendors selling everything from jewelry to meat pies to goat cheese. Individual musicians stage themselves along the median and add a cheerful rhythm to the noisy and crowded street.

You wouldn’t know it walking down Main Street, but the Agape building has a large, open room in the rear, accessed through the alley, which sounds like an unpleasant entry but it’s actually clean, neat, and appealing. This back room served as the exhibition hall where local publishers displayed books for sale and where some of the events were scheduled. One I enjoyed was a poetry reading by Samuel Amadon, Dan Albergotti, Hastings Hensel, and one other, but I didn’t get her name. There was standing room only.
Samuel Amadon is reading. Hensel and Albergotti to the right.

My favorite event was the interview of Mary Alice Monroe. Her devotion to the Lowcountry and its natural habitat figures prominently in her writing. In fact, she credits dolphins as the inspiration for a series she wrote. Her novel The Beach House will be made into a movie with Andie MacDowell. After listening to Mary Alice talk about her approach to writing, I was inspired to get to my computer and work on an idea that’s been floating around in my head. 
Mary Alice Monroe with microphone.
It was a treat to see fellow writer Nancy Brock reading from her short story on a panel at the Art Museum along with Josephine Humphreys and George Singleton. This panel was moderated by the irrepressible Aida Rogers.
Nancy Brock is reading.
Like every such venture, Deckle Edge had its highlights and low lights. There was a surfeit of poetry and mystery writers, some of them more adept at entertaining than others. Of the events I attended, only a couple of readers degenerated into a monotone. 

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