THE POST-SIGNAL / Desiray Seaux
Former Louisiana Poet Laureate Dr. Darrel Bourque, left, was the guest speaker at the Crowley Rotary Club meeting earlier this week. Jay Domingue, right, was the vocational speaker at the meeting.
Poet Laureate tells Rotarians, ‘You work for your community’
Dr. Darrel Bourque , former Louisiana Poet Laureate, said food, culture and music help to shape the identity of who you are.
Speaking to the Rotary Club of Crowley, Bourque explained that, as a writer, you don’t only work for yourself, but for your community.
“Then, you are able to come into your community and realize that is where your work begins,” he said.
It is from the idea of working for your community that Bourque began to write poems about historical Cajun/Creole figures in Acadiana.
He also read select poems to the club.
Bourque is professor emeritus in English at University at Louisana Lafayette where he served as the first Friends of the Humanities Honor Professor. He is the former Louisiana Poet Laureate in 2007-2008 and 2009-2011.
He is the 2014 recipient of the Writer Award from the Louisiana Festival of the Book. His books include:
• In Ordinary Light, Conversations in Verse (with Jack B. Bedell)
• Where I Waited, Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie
• From the Other Side: Henriette Delille (Yellow Flag Press)
His most recent work, Migraré, will be released later this year by UL press.
He is also the recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities 2019 Humanist of the Year Award and was recently named the Dr. James Oliver-Monsignor Sigur Award by the Louisiana Council on Human Relations for his work in the areas of social justice and inclusion for minorities and marginalized.
His poetry work is described as imaginative poems of days past based on true historical characters that are significant in Cajun/Creole music.
Novelist Colum McCann writes of Bourque’s 2013 collection Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie, “I hear Seamus Heaney here. I hear Wendell Berry. I hear the waters of Louisiana. I hear every Acadia there has ever been.
“This is the wood and steel, the string and the pluck of a true life, written down and allowed to become music. Darrell Bourque has a unique voice that is all at once plain and melodic.
“These poems begin in the everyday and end in the infinite. He takes the mysterious and strips it raw. Then, somehow, he makes hope and legend and rhyme. What a wonderful American poet.”
And, it can be said that Bourque, a Louisiana native, has mastered the art of using Louisiana culture to create poetry. Throughout his poetry one can easily see his connection to the people and places he is writing about.