The W celebrated the publishing of “Barrier Island Suite” by Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg with a launch party and reception at the Puckett House on March 29.
Dunkelberg serves as the director of Creative Writing, the director of the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium and a professor of English at The W. “Barrier Island Suite: Poems Inspired by The Life and Art of Walter Inglis Anderson” is the third book of poetry written by Dunkelberg, who said he was inspired by a reading of Anderson’s bibliography at the Eudora Welty Symposium in 2002.
“The first poem was written 14 years ago. Christopher Mauer read a section of Anderson’s biography that inspired me to write the poems,” said Dunkelberg as he addressed the group.
Dr. Gloria Bunnell, also a professor of English at The W, called the poems “lovely.”
“I love all the nature references that [Anderson] used, and Ocean Springs and the museum is a special place. [Dunkelberg’s poems] are very indicative, and bring forth the pictures of the barrier island,” said Bunnell.
Dunkelberg said he was intrigued by the genius of a man who suffered from mental illness and survived the treatments. One of the poems read at the event was “Asylum Rose,” which described the nature, seasons and feelings that passed by Anderson during his struggles with mental illness and the different roads he took in an effort to combat them.
Dr. Erin Kempker, an associate professor of history at The W, shared Dunkelberg’s interest in Anderson.
“After visiting the museum in Ocean Springs, and I saw how much Walter Anderson loved nature, I connected to those things, and Anderson shows it in a different way. He shows the essence and beauty of things, like the bark of a pine tree, and the long sleek legs of a cat,” said Kempker.
“Barrier Island Suite” is available for purchase through the Texas Book Consortium, IndieBound and certain independent bookstores. More information on Dunkelberg and his other works can be found at www.kendalldunkelberg.com.