At first I told myself I was putting off writing about co-directing this year’s Delta Mouth Literary Festival because my spring semester was wrapping up and there was so much to do. Then I got to California where I’m visiting my family for the summer and helping my parents move, and two months later, I still haven’t sat down to do the thing. Writing about it feels so final—a reflective letting go—and I’m really sad to admit (to myself) that my tenure as co-director of Delta Mouth has come to a close.
For those who don’t know, Delta Mouth is an international literary festival that has been bringing together nationally acclaimed writers and performers since 2009. A flagship event for Baton Rouge and LSU’s MFA program, this year we hosted a free three-day public event that included readings and panels.
Directing Delta Mouth 2018, which largely involved resurrecting the festival after its year off, was deeply fulfilling. As someone who wasn’t yet at LSU during the previous festival, figuring out not only how to run the festival, but also what the festival was while working on it, was like opening one delicious present after another. Admittedly, not every present was that perfect sweater one hopes for—a few were more closely resembled weird Auntie gifts where sometimes you only really appreciate their value until later (shout-out to my Aunt Linda, who bought me that anatomically correct barbie doll when I was a kiddo). We even got some pretty cool press in the school’s newspaper, The Daily Reveille, “Delta Mouth Literary Festival shows diversity in writing, poetry.”
I wish I had a nifty plug-in so that I could share a ridiculous amount of my own photos of all of the beautiful people who participated, but we will have to settle for a handful.
And, of course, everyone else not pictured here also killed it. Kiese Laymon‘s reading was fantastic, and I really wish we had a transcript of all the wonderfully useful and brilliant things he shared during our “First Books” panel. The teens of WordCrew were a true testament to the artistic talent born and raised in Baton Rouge, and similarly, Anne Gisleson repped New Orleans. I’m going to hold off on sharing any photos of Dylan Krieger for now, as we’ve got something in the works at cahoodaloodaling, but she also rocked our socks our final night. But the short of it is: everyone was lovely. Besides being wicked talents, they are all very, very lovely in person.
I’m not sure what Delta Mouth’s 10th year will bring in 2019, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure next year’s director(s) will continue to up the ante.