Mid/South Contributors: Jack B. Bedell
Learn more about one of the Poets Laureate who contributed to our first anthology
I’ve admired Jack’s work for a while, so when we decided to start this press I was lucky twice over—first to receive some original poems from Jack for our inaugural Mid/South Anthology, and then to get the chance to publish his latest chapbook, All the Woods’ Wild: The Swamp Witch of Maurepas. To celebrate the release of Jack’s chap today, we’re sharing a little more about his work below.
Name: Jack B. Bedell
Current Location: Hammond, LA
Bio: Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in HAD, Rejection Letters, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Cotton Xenomorph, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo Review, and other journals. His most recent collection is Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks (Mercer University Press, 2022). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.
1. How would you describe your work overall? Do you have other publications you’d like us to highlight?
My most recent work focuses on ecology, folklore, and culture in South Louisiana. I released a new collection of poetry at Mercer University Press in October, Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks, and have another slated for publication at Mercer in Spring 2024, Ghost Forest. My current projects include a book-length series of ecopoems written from the POV of the DC Comics character Swamp Thing and a series of poems based on the life of John Ruskin.
2. How does the Mid-South and/or larger Southern region influence your perspective?
Since I started writing decades ago, my goal has always been to honor and celebrate South Louisiana for its people, landscape, ecology, culture, and folklore. I am as much a product of South Lousiana as anyone could possibly be. It’s my home and I owe the region a tremendous debt, one I’ve tried to repay with every poem I’ve written.
3. What do you wish more people knew about this area?
Two things I wish everyone knew about South Louisiana:
How truly diverse our community is and how unique a mix of cultures South Louisiana boasts
How fragile and how important our ecology is, especially our wetlands and coastal regions
We’re grateful for all the support Jack brings to our community and hope you’ll pick up a copy of his fantastic chapbook.
And be sure to join us on Thursday, 3/30 at 7pm Central for our virtual finale reading with Jack and our other chapbook authors! Sign up here at the Zoom link and order the series so you can read along.
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