Poetry to the People: Darrell Bourque

Written by Erin Cox

Posted on May 30, 2019

Filed Under: Blog

Darrell Bourque is the former poet laureate of Louisiana and professor emeritus of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he held positions as the Director of Creative Writing, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Humanities program, and Head of the English Department. Darrell has served as the Friends of the Humanities Board of Regents Endowed Professor, the President of the National Association for Humanities Education, and on the board for the Ernest J. Gaines Center. He is the recipient of several academic awards including the University of Louisiana College Education Centennial Recognition Medal for Distinguished Achievement and The Acadiana Arts Council award for Outstanding Artist of the Year. He is the author of several poetry collections, including Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie (2013) and “if you abandon me, comment je vas faire: An Amede Ardoin Songbook” (2014). He is the recipient of the 2014 Louisiana Book Festival Writer of the Year Award.

On June 20, he will participate in events at the NUNU Collective in Arnaudville and the Ernest J. Gaines Center in Lafayette as part of our Poetry to the People book truck tour with Narrative 4. This 10-day, 10-city, 1800-mile journey from New York to New Orleans, will feature stops along the way to give away free books, highlight and celebrate local writers, and promote literacy and literary organizations. To support the trip, please visit our fundraising page here.

1) Please tell us about your most recent project.

After many individual poems in journals my first book Plainsongs was published by Cross Cultural Communications of Merrick NY. Editor, Stanley Barkan. 

2) Where do you get your inspiration?
Nature, social justice issues, collaborations with other artists and musicians, history, memory. 
3) What is earliest memory of reading or writing?
Being read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’s adventures aloud in rest period after lunch in elementary school. Reader: Mrs. Eleanor Forrester Gonsoulin who grew up a few miles from the great American river.
4) What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write write write until you begin to find your authentic voice/voices, until you find the themes that are true to your essential self, to your imaginative powers. 

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