In previous years, we’ve hosted such literary standouts as Carmen Maria Machado, Ben Marcus, Lily Hoang, Douglas Kearney, Jami Attenberg, and Wayne Koestenbaum. Our readers have been finalists for the National Book Award, Pushcart Prize winners, Guggenheim fellows, and recipients of the prestigious Whiting Award.
Read on to learn more about the rich history of our fast-growing festival.
To contact us, email deltamouthfestival [at] gmail [dot] com.
Delta Mouth History By Year
In its tenth year, Delta Mouth was directed by Cassie Grillon. Stephan Viau supported the festival as the assistant director. We would like to extend our thanks to the other members of the Delta Mouth team including Zita Hüsing, Jason Buch and Rebekah Frumkin!
We were proud to host an impressive lineup of writers including Jos Charles, Tia Clark, Jerika Marchan, Megan McDowell, Carrie Messenger, Thirii Myint, Dennis James Sweeney, Laura Theobald and Jeannie Vanasco.
Jos Charles is a trans poet, translator, editor, and author of feeld, a National Book Award long-listed finalist and winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series, selected by Fady Joudah (Milkweed Editions) and Safe Space (Ahsahta Press). Charles has poetry published with POETRY, Poem-a-Day, PEN, Washington Square Review, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. In 2016 she received the Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship through the Poetry Foundation. Jos Charles has an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is a PhD student at UC Irvine and currently resides in Long Beach, CA.
Tia Clark‘s fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, The Offing,
Epiphany, Fourteen Hills, and elsewhere. She has received support and fellowships from the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Lambda Literary Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. A graduate of Indiana University’s MFA program, she lives in New Orleans.
Jerika Marchan was born in Manila, Philippines and raised in the American South. A graduate of Louisiana State University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she lives in New Orleans. Her debut collection SWOLE (Futurepoem, 2018) was the June 2018 poetry best seller on Small Press Distribution and was named a Must-Read Race and Culture Book of the Summer by Colorlines magazine.
Megan McDowell is a Spanish language literary translator. She focuses on contemporary Latin American authors, and her translations include works by Alejandro Zambra, Samanta Schweblin, Mariana Enriquez, Lina Meruane, Diego Zuñiga, and Carlos Fonseca. Her short story translations have been featured in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Granta, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. Her translation of Alejandro Zambra’s novel Ways of Going Home won the 2013 English PEN award for writing in translation, and her English version of Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin, was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. She has been awarded residencies by the Banff International Translation Center (Canada), Looren Translation House (Switzerland), and Art Omi (USA). She has a Master’s in Humanities with a focus on literary translation from the University of Dallas at Texas, is a former managing editor of Asymptote, and was once a publishing fellow at Dalkey Archive Press. She has lived in Portugal and Switzerland, and currently lives in Santiago, Chile.
Carrie Messenger earned her B.A. from Yale, her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Republic of Moldova and received a Fulbright grant to Romania. She has presented conference papers on teaching translation, translating contemporary Romanian writing, Bollywood cinema, and the Romanian New Wave. Her work has appeared in literary magazines including Crab Orchard Review, Ecotone, Fairy Tale Review, Pleiades, and Witness. Her translations from the Romanian of poetry and prose have appeared in literary magazines including Circumference, Salmagundi, and Words Without Borders. She is an Associate Fiction Editor for West Branch. She was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2014 and 2016 and at the MacDowell Colony in 2017. Her short story collection In the Amber Chamber won the Brighthorse Prize in Short Fiction in 2017 and was published by Brighthorse Books in 2018. She teaches at Shepherd University and lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint is the author of the lyric novel The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven (Noemi Press, 2018) and the family history project Zat Lun, which won the 2018 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2021. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing at the University of Denver, the associate editor of Denver Quarterly, and an instructor at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she teaches hybrid/experimental forms.
Dennis James Sweeney’s writing has appeared in Crazyhorse, Five Points, The Southern Review, and Witness among others. He is a Small Press Editor of Entropy, an Assistant Editor of Denver Quarterly, the recipient of an MFA from Oregon State University, and a recent Fulbright fellow in Malta. Originally from Cincinnati, he lives in Colorado, where he is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Denver.
Laura Theobald is a poet from the Florida Keys living in the South. She is the author of
the full-length poetry collections What My Hair Says About You and Kokomo (forthcoming), plus three chapbooks. She has an MFA from Louisiana State University, and has served as an editor for a number of small press publishers. She creates covers and book layouts for OOMPH! and BOAAT, and works as a freelance graphic designer. Her poems were recently included in the anthologies Poetry of the #MeToo Movement and Women of Resistance.
Jeannie Vanasco is the author of The Glass Eye: A Memoir. Featured by Poets & Writers as one of the five best literary nonfiction debuts of 2017, The Glass Eye was also selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, an Indies Introduce Pick, and an Indie Next Pick. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Believer, the New York Times Modern Love section, the Times Literary Supplement, Tin House, and on NewYorker.com. Her poetry honors include an Emerging Poets Fellowship from Poets House and an Amy Award from Poets & Writers. She lives in Baltimore and is an assistant professor of English at Towson University. Her second book, Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl, will be published by Tin House Books in the fall of 2019.
After a year break, 2018’s Delta Mouth was directed by Jason Christian and Raquel Thorne. We would like to thank the Delta Mouth 2018 Crew including Garrett Hazelwood, Cassie Grillon, Stephan Viau, Elizabeth Kolenda, Monterica Sade Neil, Alex Turissini, Maria Anna Zazzarino, Lara Glenum and Joshua Wheeler!
Poets and writers from Delta Mouth 2018:
Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which was longlisted for a National Book Award. His work has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, New York Times Magazine, The Best American Poetry, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He was featured in Poets & Writers as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World” and lives in Rochester, NY with his partner and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles.
Lydia Conklin was the 2015-2017 Creative Writing Fellow in fiction at Emory College. She has received two Pushcart prizes; fellowships from Princeton, MacDowell, and Yaddo; and has been published in Tin House, The Southern Review, Narrative Magazine, and in a compilation of the best of the last twenty-five years of the Pushcart Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Siaara Freeman is from Cleveland Ohio. She’s been published in Glass, Pinch, Texas Borderline Review, Black Napkin Press, and the Bettering American Poetry anthology. She has toured internationally, been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and named a finalist for the 2017 Button Poetry chapbook contest. Siaara is a four-year PinkDoor Fellow, co-coach of the 2017 BNV Detroit team, founder of Wusgood.Black, and a reader for Tinderbox.
Anne Gisleson is the author of The Futilitarians. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, Oxford American, The Believer, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She coedited and cowrote How to Rebuild a City: Field Guide from a Work in Progress and wrote the accompanying essays for photographer Michel Varisco’s Shifting. She teaches at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and is cofounder of the arts non-profit Antenna.
Brandon Hobson is the author of Where the Dead Sit Talking, as well as two previous novels, Deep Ellum and Desolation of Avenues Untold. He is the winner of a Pushcart Prize, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Believer, The Paris Review Daily, Conjunctions, NOON, and Narrative Magazine. He holds a PhD from Oklahoma State University and teaches at Northern Oklahoma College.
Dylan Krieger is an automatic meaning generator in south Louisiana, where she earned her MFA, twice directed the Delta Mouth Lit Fest, and now sunlights as a trade magazine editor. Her debut collection, Giving Godhead, was one of three books of poetry to appear on the New York Times Book Review list of “100 Notable Books” for 2017. She is also the author of dreamland trash, The Mother Wart, and the forthcoming collection no ledge left to love.
R. O. Kwon’s first novel, The Incendiaries, is forthcoming from Riverhead in July of 2018. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, NOON, Playboy, and San Francisco Chronicle. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. Born in South Korea, she has mostly lived in the United States.
Kiese Laymon is a black writer from Jackson, Mississippi, who teaches at the University of Mississippi and the University of Iowa. Author of Long Division and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, his work has appeared in Esquire, New York Times, The Guardian, The FADER, and The Best American series. He is a contributing editor of Oxford American and has two books, Heavy and And So On, forthcoming from Scribner in 2018.
M. Mack is a genderqueer poet, editor, and fiber artist in Virginia. Ze is the author of Theater of Parts and the chapbooks Mine, Imaginary Kansas, and Traveling. Hir work has appeared in cream city review, Cloud Rodeo, Rogue Agent, Menacing Hedge, and The Queer South. Mack is a founding coeditor of Gazing Grain Press, an assistant editor for Cider Press Review, and the monster maker behind What is Reality Plushies.
Emily Nemens’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, n+1, and The Iowa Review; and she has two chapbooks, including the hybrid project Butcher Papers. Her illustrations have been featured in The New Yorker and in Studs Terkel’s Working: A Graphic Adaptation. She was born in Seattle, educated at Brown University and Louisiana State University, and since 2013 has served as coeditor and prose editor of The Southern Review.
Donney Rose is a poet, teaching artist, and community activist from Baton Rouge where he works for the arts-based non-profit, Forward Arts Inc. Donney is the author of The Crying Buck. His work appears in Atlanta Black Star, Blavity, Button Poetry, All Def Digital, Slam Find, 225 Magazine, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, and Gris Gris. He was mostly recently named as a 2018-2019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow.
Delta Mouth 2018 was sponsored by
Along with LSU’s English Graduate Student Association, Women & Gender Studies, The Ogden Honors College, Philip Webb, Joseph Kronick, Femi Euba, James Butts, Emily Nemens, Eta Nurulhady, Rachel Howatt, Ian Schoultz, Ashley Matskevich, Rachel Nix, Rick Godden, Ankita Rathour, Preety Sidhu, The Greene Family, Mari Kornhauser, James Wilcox, Ronlyn Domingue, Mary B. Sellers, Annie & Lee Thorne, Kevin McGuirk, Madora Sellers, Lara Glenum, Alicia Ortega, Suzanne Webb, Jason Buch, Josef Horacek, Alexandra Chiasson, Lindsey Gay, Elsie Michie, Ian Schoultz, Rick Blackwood, Chris Barrett, Jennifer S. Davis, Douglas Scully.
Katie Boland & M.K. Brake directed Delta Mouth, which included a “Writing and Publishing the Short Story” panel with Carmen Maria Machado and Alexander Lumans; a “Poetry, Performance, and Activism” panel with Tracie Morris, Monica McClure, Rodrigo Toscano; and readings by Jami Attenberg, Peter Cooley, Carmen Maria Machado, Tracie Morris, Monica McClure, Baton Rouge’s WordCrew, Rodrigo Toscano, Alexander Lumans, and Ben Fama.
Dylan Krieger directed the three day festival, inviting Brooke Champagne, Brock Guthrie, Angus Woodward, Mel Coyle, Maurice Ruffin, Mona Lisa Saloy, Corina Copp, Jenn Marie Nunes, Brad Richard, Megan Volpert, Desiree Dallagiacomo, and Buddy Wakefield to read locations throughout in Baton Rouge.
Anna Wilson directed the Festival, extending the experience from three to four days and inviting16 readers, making for the biggest Delta Mouth Literary Festival so far. This year’s experience included international musicians, performance artists/poets, academics, nonfiction anthologists and two former alumni of LSU’s creative writing program. The initiatives for fundraising, included a massive Scrabble Tournament over four nights. Kickstarter’s nationwide blog was used (as it had been in 2013). Performers included cris cheek, Olivia Cronk, Donald Dunbar, Rachel Springer Dunbar, Irakli Kakabadze, Wayne Koestenbaum, Dorthea Lasky, Paul Legault, Ben Marcus, Alissa Nutting, Abe Smith, Shelly Taylor, and Jenny Zhang.
Jackie Kari & Min Kang were the first organizers to create t-shirts and banners to heighten publicity, to host several fundraising events, and seek other means of support in what were especially lean years. Their Delta Mouth brought Harmony Holiday, Cathy Park Hong, Aaron Kunin, Hoa Nguyen, Feng Sun Chen, Jai Arun Ravine, Abe Smith, Jennifer A. Howard, Ben Kopel, Monica Mody, and LSU alum and previous Co-Coordinator Kim Vodika to LSU to perform their creative work.
Adam Atkinson & Kim Vodika became Co-Coordinators, the first combined directorship in the history of Delta Mouth Literary Festival. Top priority for invitations to perform at the Festival this year, in the words of Atkinson, “centered on well-regarded, virtuoso readers.” The linup for this particular year included Lilian-Yvonne Bertram, Christian Bök, Lonely Christopher, Kate Durbin, Lily Hoang, Douglas Kearney, Paul Killebrew, Selah Saterstrom, Chris Shipman, and LSU alum and former Festival Director Jennifer Tamayo.
Under John David Harding, the most performance-based Festival in the history of Delta Mouth: Cara Blue Adams, Kate Bernheimer, Blake Butler, Frank Giampietro, Johannes Göransson, Jen McClanaghan, Joyelle McSweeney, and Ronaldo V. Wilson.
This Delta Mouth Literary Festival, directed by Jennifer Tamayo, broadened the scope from four readers to eight in total, with artists at 2010’s Festival including Laurie Drummond, Akilah Oliver, Chancellor “Xero” Skidmore, Andrew Ervin, Marthe Reed, Peggy Shiner, Susana Chaves-Silverman, and Ariana Reines.
Founded by LSU M.F.A. alumnus Benjamin Lowenkron, Delta Mouth Literary Festival began as a way for New Delta Review, Louisiana State University’s literary publication, to become more involved locally in Baton Rouge. The readers for the one day event included four in total: Joseph Riippii, Megan Volpert, David Madden, and Chancellor Xero Skidmore. As founder and first organizer, Benjamin Lowenkron is honored as the visionary who saw the need for the festival and who has been important to the continued development of Delta Mouth Literary Festival over the past seven years.