GSCC English instructors featured in poetry anthology

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Gadsden State English instructors Tabitha Bozeman and Rachel Houghton were recently selected to feature their poetic works.

A platform for literary exploration and cultural dialogue, “The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume X: Alabama” was released on Feb. 29.

“I have been writing for as long as I can remember,” said Bozeman. “I fell in love with it during graduate school because I realized I could share stories and put work out there that also had a sense of privacy about it.”

Houghton was a first-generation student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham working on a bachelor’s degree when she started writing on a regular basis.

“I went back to school and thought that if I’m going to work hard to get a degree, I’m going to do something I love,” said Houghton.

“The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume X: Alabama” a Texas Review Press publication, showcases literary talents across the southern region and has chosen poems that highlight the deep and diverse literary contributions of the writers’ observational experiences in Alabama.

One of Houghton’s published works is “Wading in the Little Cahaba River,” which she was inspired to write after attending a workshop at the Cahaba River.

“I literally stood in the water with fellow writers,” said Houghton. “It was really a cool experience.”

Having the poem included in the anthology is special for Houghton because some of the other published poets were also at the river that day.

“It reminds me of how we are all connected to each other and the world around us,” she said.

Houghton’s second piece, “Burn,” was the first poem she wrote when she realized she could mix fiction with poetry.

“I am more comfortable in the fiction realm of writing,” she said. “Some of the emotions I tried to access with this poem are grief, determination and hope.”

Bozeman’s poems are titled “Meth Adaptation” and “Sanatoria.” Both poems examine the aspects of the darker side of living in Southern Appalachia.

“These poems examine the impact substance abuse and mental health challenges can have on those we love,” she said. “They balance between the ordinary challenges of our lives and how they can be tied to impactful and formative experiences.”

Bozeman has made it a goal to capture emotions or a moment and dig into it.

“When there’s a hard situation or a beautiful moment, I really try to capture that in a piece of poetry and turn it into a story,” she said.

The instructors regularly submit their literary works and encourage their students to do so as well.

“I like to practice what I preach,” Bozeman said. “Our themes are each unique in their own ways based on both of our observations and experiences in the south. We hope people enjoy reading our stories and poems.”

Houghton graduated in 2022 from the University of Alabama Birmingham with a master’s degree in English. Her poetry has appeared in Aura and the Vulcan Historical Review. er fiction can be found in The Great Lakes Review.

Bozeman earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Jacksonville State University and a Master of Arts in English from UAB. Her work has been published in the Birmingham Arts Journal, Southern Women’s Review, Mud Season Review and HERE Poetry Journal. She writes a weekly column for The Messenger in Gadsden

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