Poets Showcase Work at Writers Harvest 2023

Writers Harvest 2023 Banner. Photo via Facebook.

ABAC hosted the campus’s first Writers Harvest in ten years. The event featured poets Mac Gay, Al Maginnes and Sean Sexton. The poets read their work in a round-robin style and offered a question-and-answer session. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase the poets’ books they read from. 

“They’re [Gay, Maginnes, Sexton] all just sort of old souls and they’re wonderful guys,” Dr. Jeff Newberry said. “You know, I think their work is accessible, but also intellectual. I think it’s interesting, but also not off putting. And so that’s why I wanted to bring them here.” 

Mac Gay is a professor at Perimeter College and the author of two poetry collections: “Ghost Hunt,” “Our Fatherlessness,” and four chapbooks. According to the Orchard Street Press, Gay received runner-up for the 2018 Robert Phillips Poetry Prize for his chapbook “Farm Alarm.” “Ghost Hunt” received runner-up for Eyewear Publishing’s 2017 Beverly Prize. His poems have appeared in the “Atlanta Review,” “Crosswinds,” “Cutbank,” and “The American Journal of Poetry.” 

Al Maginnes has degrees in English and writing from East Carolina University and University of Arkansas. Maginnes lives in North Carolina and teaches at Wake Technical Community College. His full-length collection, “Music from Small Towns,” is the winner of the Jacar Press poetry competition. Maginnes released his most recent poetry collection, “Fellow Survivors.” 

Maginnes’s poems have appeared in several journals and magazines such as “Poetry,” “The New England Review,” “The Georgia Review,” “The Antioch Review,” “Shenandoah,” and “The Quarterly West.” 

Sean Sexton is the author of “Blood Writing: Poems,” “May Darkness Restore: Poems,” and his most recent full poetry collection, “Portals: Poems.” Sexton has performed at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Lone Star Cowboy Gathering, the Miami Book Fair International, and the High Road Festival of Poetry and Short Fiction. 

Sexton is a board member of the Laura Riding Jackson Foundation, founding event chair of the Annual Poetry and Barbeque, and he co-founded a Poetry and Organ Advent and Lenten Concert Series at Community Church in Vero Beach, Florida. 

There is speculation that, hopefully, ABAC will continue the tradition of an annual Writer’s Harvest yet again. The wonderful thing about the event is anyone is welcome. 

“I certainly hope that next year we can bring in some poets. I hope to bring in some more diverse poets next year. Maybe some writers of color, some women writers would be great,” Dr. Jeff Newberry said, “but I’d like to resurrect it [Writers Harvest] and bring it back.” 

The night was dedicated to fighting hunger in the area. Attendees were asked to bring a nonperishable food item, and it would be donated to the ABAC food pantry at Town Hall. There were several bags filled to the brim with goods by the end of the night. 

All ABAC students, faculty, and staff are eligible to receive goods from the pantry if needed. In addition to nonperishable food items, the pantry offers necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. 

The process of receiving items from the pantry is completely confidential. If interested in receiving any pantry resources, contact Naomi Chance (naomi.chance@abac.edu) or Sarai Mapp (sarai.mapp@abac.edu) for more information about the pantry.  

Anslee James is a junior double majoring in History & Government and Writing & Communication. She is also a part of the Campus Activities Board Executive Board, Vice President of Judiciary Law Club, Vice President of Communications for Phi Theta Kappa, and works part-time at Kumon Tifton as Chief Assistant. She enjoys playing with her dog and watching Grey's Anatomy in her free time. Her post-graduation plans are going to law school.

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