On Saturday, March 14, the final night of three events (all free of charge) in Delta Mouth Literary Festival’s seventh annual installment featured excellent creative performers inside the captivating space of The Walls Project Art & Design Center. Personnel from The Healthcare Gallery were in the audience as the anticipatory magic in the air flowed into creative waves of starlit rainbows (quite literally, due to exceptional lighting).

Saturday night’s festivities, however, included literary nonfiction in addition to poetry/slam poetry by exceptional artists and world title practitioners from across the country. Run and organized by the top-ranked Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, Delta Mouth Literary Festival saw the likes of Maurice Ruffin, Mona Lisa Saloy, Corina Copp, Desirée Dallagiacomo and Buddy Wakefield take to the stage and wow us all. The enthusiastic and dedicated Raina Wirta and the many more great people in The Walls Project and their Art & Design Center in the South Chase Tower of Downtown Baton Rouge continue making serious waves locally and in breadth of hosting techniques by highlighting their truly mystic space quite marvelously again for artists and audiences Saturday. After earlier expertise in major museum curation and large-scale collaborations between poets, writers and art practitioners with the community, this night dazzled addressees with praise and wonder in perseverance for a month of lucid daydreams, healing, and communal memories.

Festival Co-Director, graduating MFA student and publishing poet Dylan Krieger has organized this week’s Delta Mouth Literary Festival with faculty advisement by Louisiana State University’s McElveen Professor in English and Director of Creative Writing Laura Mullen. Moreover, it is worth noting the Festival happens each year, too, with the generosity and support coming from the resilient LSU English faculty and gung ho students. The LSU English Department helps by fundraising through Kickstarter, much enthused event attendance and some incredible commitments of time, engagement and energy for helping host and welcome these prestigious visiting artists, in the midst of many more requests coming from behind the scenes.

It is important noting Saturday night included a small shortlist of work showcased by the Delta Mouth Literary Festival this week, which by a display of artistry standpoint has been nothing short of ‘first class.’ We hope you get the opportunity to join The Healthcare Gallery Blog for more updates on local events both earlier and after they occur!

Biographic material by showcased authors from Saturday’s historic reading (Thursday and Friday events notwithstanding) is here:

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Orleans. He has recently won two short story awards: the 2014 Iowa Review fiction award (for “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You”) and the 2014 Short Fiction Contest at So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art! (for “The Anchor Song”). His novel-in-progress, All of the Lights, won the gold medal for that category in the 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition, and an excerpt will appear in an upcoming issue of Callaloo. His writing has also appeared in The Knicknackery, Writing Tomorrow, Redivider Journal, 94 Creations, The Apalachee Review, Regarding Arts & Letters, and the University of New Orleans’s Ellipsis.

Mona Lisa Saloy is an author, folklorist, educator, and scholar. An award-winning author of contemporary Creole culture in poems about Black New Orleans before and after Katrina, Saloy documents sidewalk songs, jump-rope rhymes, and clap-hand games to discuss the importance of play. Her first book of poems, Red Beans & Ricely Yours, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award and tied for a third. Her new book, Second Line Home, is a refreshing collection of poems that captures the day-to-day New Orleans speech, contemplates family dynamics, and celebrates New Orleans—all in a way everyday people can enjoy.

Corina Copp is a writer and theater artist based in New York. She is the author of the chapbooks ALL STOCK MUST GO (Shit Valley Verlag, Cambridge, UK), Miracle Mare (Trafficker Press), and Pro Magenta/Be Met (Ugly Duckling Presse), among others. Recent work can be found in Cabinet, BOMB, Boston Review, Corrected Slogans: Reading and Writing Conceptualism (Triple Canopy), SFMOMA’s Open Space, and elsewhere. She is developing a three-part play entitled The Whole Tragedy of the Inability to Love, inspired by the successive forms of the work of Marguerite Duras. She is a curator at the Segue Foundation and a 2014 NYFA Fellow in Poetry. Her first book, The Green Ray, is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse this spring.

Desireé Dallagiacomo is a student at the University of New Orleans where she studies creative writing and women & gender. In October of 2014, She ranked 3rd at the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, the recipient of UNO’s Ryan Chigazola Poetry Scholarship, and, as a member of Slam New Orleans, ranked 3rd in the nation at the 2014 National Poetry Slam. She is a teaching artist for Forward Arts, The Recovery School District, and The Centre for the Arts. Her work has been featured on EverydayFeminism.com, The Huffington Post, Upworthy.com, in Tulane University’s production of The Vagina Monologues, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, Tandem Review, and Words Dance Literary Magazine. For more of her work, you can check out poemsbydes.tumblr.com.

Buddy Wakefield is a three-time world champion spoken word artist featured on the BBC, ABC Radio National, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, NPR, and most recently signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. In 2004 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals and then successfully defended that title at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands against the national champions of seven European countries. In 2005 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship again and has gone on to share the stage with nearly every notable performance poet in the world. Born in Shreveport, LA, mostly raised in Baytown, TX, and now claiming Seattle, WA as home, Buddy is an author at Write Bloody Publishing, a queer activist, and an original Board of Directors member with Youth Speaks Seattle. Wakefield, who is not concerned with what poetry is or is not, delivers raw, rounded, disarming performances of humor and heart.