March 14: Dick Lourie Features

Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery at 106 Prospect Street with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m. On March 14th, we welcome esteemed author and musician Dick Lourie.

Dick Lourie is a poet and blues saxophone player whose two professions drew him to the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. If the Delta Was the Sea, his eighth book of poems, explores the region’s rich heritage of music, history, and a diversity of cultures, particularly in the city of Clarksdale, long regarded as a center of Delta blues. The book results from Lourie’s frequent visits to the Delta over the past twelve years to play with lo...cal musicians and write about the area.

Dick Lourie’s poems have appeared widely for more than forty years, in such literary journals as ACM, Agni, The Arkansas Review, Exquisite Corpse, Lungfull!, The Massachusetts Review, Sun, Transfer, and Verse. Among his seven previous books are Stumbling (The Crossing Press) and Anima (Hanging Loose). His most recently published book, Ghost Radio, and Ghost Radio Blues, a companion CD, are both still available from Hanging Loose Press. Writing about Lourie’s poetry, Denise Levertov observed that his “voice speaks with a unique and convincing eloquence.”

“Dick Lourie has written a rich, spacious book. Observing the principles that ‘we are all embedded in history’ and that the individual ‘contains multitudes,’ these poems present a portrait of a place, Clarksdale, Mississippi, and its people, through a unique cultural and social perspective. Lourie has an impeccable ear for colloquial nuances and an acute eye . . . If the Delta Was the Sea is a genuine delight.”—Ha Jin

“Dick Lourie has something to say and he says it well. Here, in direct, clear, no-nonsense language, he tells the story of Clarksdale, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. The voices of the town ring true, from blues legend Robert Johnson to civil rights leader Aaron Henry to Lin “Pap” Pang, an elder in the Chinese community, all presented with irony, humor and honest insight. This is a poet who fully understands the burdens and the blessings of history, and knows that there is much to celebrate in the spirit of the survivors.”—Martín Espada