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    Posted November 6, 2009 by
    Oxford, Mississippi
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Neal Moore canoes the Mississippi

    More from nealmoore

    Illiteracy to Literature in the Enlightened South - II


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     nealmoore has been traveling the Mississippi River for several months and told me, 'I think that folks around the country take for granted the fact that many of our own citizenry cannot read. As such, I found it an interesting prospect to document both the first step necessary to conquer this stigma as well as the next step - the bold and brash idea that if given the time and resources, one can both read and in fact write fine literature.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    Illiteracy to Literature in the Enlightened South - Part II






    From the basic grasp of consonants to the next step up the ladder of literacy - actually craving the concept of literature - I found the idea of introducing a literary mantra in the epicenter of what some folks refer to as the “Enlightened South” an interesting prospect.


    David Swider and Michael Bible are affable and giddy and very much sincere about literature. I joined the duo for a beer at the Square’s greasy spoon, Ajax, to talk shop about the region before sitting down for an interview back on their work-turf of Square Books. Their energy plays off each other when they talk, turning every conversation into a brainstorming session of what would be cool or what could work out literary-wise for the literary journal, Kitty Snacks. At ages 25 and 28, respectively, David and Michael are relatively young to undertake the launch of a literary magazine – but this is their point. They want to make the rather daunting idea of literature a possibility for folks of all ages by offering it to the public as bite sized snacks.


    According to Michael Bible, Mississippi “is the fattest, poorest, dumbest state in the country – that is full of geniuses. You have people that can’t read right next to people that win Nobel Prizes – and it’s this weird kind of dichotomy that works to both illuminate that kind of difference but also recently, bring it together.”


    “The book is kind of a hard commodity right now,” explains Wayne Andrews, Executive Director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, who immediately saw the potential for the journal and helped to get it published. While “publishers [are] not taking risks on new authors [nor] publishing diverse works, we’re finding new ways to do it.” According to Mr. Andrews, quarterly publications like Kitty Snacks are “leading [people] down the path to discover a magazine and then hopefully discover a book.”




    Check out Part I of this report by clicking here: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-351049




    Photographs by Neal Moore.  You can view the attached photos by clicking on the corresponding numbers located underneath the video box:


    #2) Michael Bible and David Swider, founders of Kitty Snacks.  Photographed at Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi.


    #3) Jonathan Scott, News Editor of the local daily paper, the Oxford Eagle.  Photographed next to his printing press, Oxford, Mississippi.


    #4) Former City of Oxford Mayor and founder of Square Books, Richard Howorth.  Mr. Howorth encourages people at every opportunity to support independent bookstores and independent enterprise of other kinds as well.  Photographed in his office at Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi.


    #5) Marker of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's residence in Oxford, Mississippi. 


    #6) Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's residence in Oxford, Mississippi.



    Follow the journey…


    Blog: http://www.flashriversafari.com


    Foundation: http://www.creativevisions.org


    iReport: http://www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=321427


    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mooreneal



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