South Carolina Humanities believes that the humanities are a vital tool for navigating periods of distress or uncertainty. As the public health crisis concerning COVID-19 continues to unfold, we plan to deliver weekly emails with public humanities projects that are accessible for those of us practicing social distancing. April is National Poetry Month so this week we are offering digital humanities resources that celebrate poetry.

Poet, activist, and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina Ed Madden joins us this week to kick off National Poetry Month. Scroll down to see what Ed is reading right now and learn about one of his favorite South Carolina poets.
Book Drop with Ed Madden
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay
Right now I’m rereading Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (2015). I was really looking forward to hearing him read as part of the Open Book Series of visiting writers at USC this spring, and talking with the students in my poetry class about his work. But the virus cancelled the reading, as it has so many other things. He was to be here April 1, last night. So I picked up the book to read it again this week, a book about spring and generosity, about compost and community gardens and taking care of one another and, of course, gratitude. There’s so much to love in this book—his father’s ashes planted with a new plum tree, a cluster of strangers beneath a fig tree, “gleefully eating out of each other’s hands.” I spent the weekend gardening with my husband, planting tomatoes and peppers and sunflowers, trading flowers with a neighbor (at safe social distance), and learning that a friend had just died, the first person I know now taken by the virus. I read and reread Gay’s rambling title poem with its lists of so many things he’s thankful for, and that last stanza leaves me breathless and crying and grateful this week of all weeks. This is a book I need right now.
Superlative South Carolinians with Ed Madden
Susan Laughter Meyers
It’s hard to choose a favorite South Carolina poet, but let me say Susan Laughter Meyers , who passed away in 2017. Her work is full of small, quiet surprises—of the way beauty can surprise you. I think my favorite book of hers is My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass (2013). She was generous and kind to fellow writers, attentive to the small things that happen in human relationships, to the beauty of the world around her. 
Special thanks to Ed Madden for his participation!
Join the Watch Party!
On Thursday, April 9th at 12:00 PM, the SC Humanities Facebook page will host a Facebook Watch Party for The Ring People , a 30-minute documentary about ancient shell structures on the coast of South Carolina. SC Humanities supported The Ring People with a Major Grant. Special thanks to Koelker & Associates for making this happen!