News Release

Southeastern's Alison Pelegrin publishes new poetry collection focusing on post-Katrina Louisiana

Contact: Christina Chapple


Click on thumbnail for high resolution photo (photo: Johnny Chauvin)

Alison Pelegrin

     HAMMOND – Big Muddy River of Stars, a new book of poetry by Alison Pelegrin, an award-wining member of the Southeastern Louisiana University English faculty, has been published by the University of Akron Press.

     Pelegrin's second full-length poetry collection, the book continues her celebration of characters of south Louisiana, tempered by the devastations of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

     The University of Akron Press said, “These sassy poems come on like a carnival parade, with boisterous shout-outs to sleepy rivers and Big Shot soda, crawfish and trailer trash and those ‘git-r-dones’ who rebuild homes ravaged by hurricane and high water. Presiding over the book is the spirit of Chinese poet Li Po, Pelegrin’s prodigal mentor and drinking buddy. With lines that laugh and rage and slur in the piquant tongue of her native Louisiana, Pelegrin knows how to play the blues in a bold and irreverent key.”

     A resident of Covington, Pelegrin also is the author of The Zydeco Tablets (Word Press, 2002), as well as three chapbooks, Squeezers (Concrete Wolf, 2005), Voodoo Lips (Poems and Plays, 2002), and Dancing with the One-Armed Man (Slipsteam, 2000). Her poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Writer's Almanac, and in dozens of literary journals.

     She is a recipient of fellowships from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers' Conference.

     Big Muddy River of Stars was the winner of the 2006 Akron Poetry Prize and is the latest release in the Akron Series in Poetry.

     Poetry prize judge B.H. Fairchild said, “With Li Po as her muse, and a subject matter ranging from homewreckers, honkytonks, and jackalopes to post-Katrina tragedy and survival, I’m afraid I’m stumped to find a fitting figure for the utterly unique voice of Alison Pelegrin …Words fail me, but certainly not Pelegrin, who writes some of the jazziest, high-velocity, funny, serious and entertaining poetry I have read in a long time. For those who hate poetry, try this book. For those who love poetry, this is your lucky day.”

     The book is available in paperback through the University of Akron Press,, 1-877-UAPRESS.

More News...