Robert Penn Warren, an American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. Warren, born in Guthrie, Ky., which is very near the Tennessee-Kentucky border, was the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry, one for All the King's Men 91946) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979.
Warren was the focus of Ivan Potter's welcome address during Hickman County's Annual Writers Day Celebration held Tuesday, April 26 held at the Hickman County Memorial Library. The Hickman County Arts Council, working in conjunction with Librarian Laura Poole, recognized and honored writers and authors from Hickman County.
Writers often draw inspiration from the works of their imagination, devoting their lives to creating a parallel world from their imaginations. Author Micah Gardner, one of the writers recognized during the event, draws her inspiration and ideas from landscape. "By day I am a biology teacher and at night, on weekends and whenever I can find the time, I write." Gardner first began with poetry and short stories, taking two years to write her first novel.
"That very first one is tucked away under my bed and only those closest to me read it," she said with a smile. Since that first novel, Gardner has gone on to write others that have been published, including Souls of the South, the end second in a series.
"Writing is my happy place," she said. "Ideas and concepts for Souls of the South came after visiting the Battle of Franklin from the Civil War."
LaDonna Latham, known for penning history books, recently compiled a book on many of the Clinton and Hickman County businesses originating around 1910. "Did you know that in 1910, Clinton's population was 4,000?" she aced. "I also discovered that there was a bookstore in Clinton in 1910."
Jenna Moore, Leanna Wilkerson and Sherry Roberts all shared poems that they have written. Moore's and Wilkerson's poems, titled "Where I am From", were winners in the Virginia Jewell contest.
"Writing is a way to stir the emotions of people," noted Roberts while addressing the young female writers in the crowd. "Don't every let someone tell you that it can't be done." Roberts' poem, Capturing Her, read aloud by Roberts is filled with emotions and is one that she doesn't share with many people.
Mary Potter, another Hickman County, writer and published author, shared her children's books of No Count Dog and No Count Dog to the Rescue. "The first book was written from the dog's perspective and the second one from a cat's," explained Potter. "One tip I will pass along to all writers is to read it out loud. You will find so much from just speaking those written words out loud, even if it is to yourself in a mirror."
Another genre of writing is those who compose songs. Sonny Brazzell and Robert Armbruster echoed the need for reading your works out loud. Brazzel emphasized writing about what you know. While Armbruster agreed with that sentiment and also suggested writing about what interests you.
Writing can be done any where, any time and any place. Many books, songs, poems, etc. originated on a napkin, a scratch peace of paper or a used envelope. "I wrote the lyrics to a song while I was riding on a lawnmower," noted Armbruster.
At one time, newspaper editors where confined to a desk with a heavy typewriter. Now they can cover a meeting, write a human interest story or detail how the softball or baseball game was won or lost, all on a laptop or tablet from the comfort of their couch and office chair. "Everything has gone digital," noted Gaye Bencini. "I never thought that one day I would use a computer for everything.
"Yes, we use computers all the time now for everything," added Charlotte Smith. "I miss the layout tables. For me, using those blue lined layout pages was visual aid for putting my eight puzzle pieces together. Now it is the same way, but it is all accomplished on a computer screen."
No matter what genre of writing one belongs to, writers are compelled to share their thoughts, feelings and dreams. By doing so, they document events, history, and so much more by putting pen to paper or in some cases, fingers to a keyboard.
Here's a salute to Hickman County's writers, who are working to help secure a future for Hickman County. Hickman Library Laura Poole and the Arts Council will continue to work together to put on similar events as they look to bring more tourism to this county which is rich in history.