The Charleston County School of the Arts and Academic Magnet High School will host the 19th annual Robinson Jeffers Association Conference, a nonprofit devoted to the work of poet Robinson Jeffers.
John Cusatis, an English teacher at SOA and executive director of RJA, said Jeffers’ reputation has undergone a revival in recent years.
“He has something increasingly important to say to 21st century readers, and his poems are powerful without being unnecessarily difficult,” Cusatis said.
The conference, scheduled for Feb. 15-17, will feature literary and other scholars, and SOA and Academic Magnet students and faculty will be among those presenting academic talks.
The weekend’s events kick off with a poetry reading at 7:30 p.m. Friday in SOA’s Rose Maree Myers Theater, featuring National Book Award winner and South Carolina native Nikky Finney. Others slated to read are Charleston poets Marjory Wentworth and Brian Penberthy. The SOA Jazz Band will start things off and urban-jazz violinist and SOA graduate Daniel D. will perform at the end of the evening. Admission to Friday’s reading is $5 for students and $10 for adults.
The academic portion of the program will take place in the Academic Magnet Lecture Hall at 9 a.m. Saturday. Finney will give a keynote address followed by several talks and discussion on various aspects of Jeffers’ work.
The public is welcome to attend this session at no cost. Conference attendees can sign up for a harbor cruise on The Explorer Saturday afternoon with naturalist Ian Sanchez.
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Rose Maree Myers Theater, SOA will present “The Astonishing Beauty of Things: A Celebration of Robinson Jeffers through the Arts,” featuring adaptations and interpretations of Jeffers’ work by SOA dancers, actors, musicians, vocalists, visual artists and creative writers. This event is free to the public.
The conference will resume at 9 a.m. Sunday with more panel discussions and lectures, also open and free to the public.
The event is sponsored by the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, Blue Bicycle Books, and the Coastal Conservation League.