Tennesseans are preparing to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of poet, writer, and critic James Agee. The Knoxville-born author is the subject of an upcoming art exhibition at the Nashville Public Library, and will also be feted with a three-day festival at the Knox County Library.
The Nashville Public Library Art Gallery is hosting an Agee-inspired exhibition by visual artist DeLoss McGraw until September 27. McGraw’s series focuses on Agee’s poetry and his 1935 prose piece “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” (famously adapted for voice and orchestra in 1947 by Samuel Barber). In Knoxville, the public library has partnered with the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound for a celebration of Agee’s film work. The series, to run from October 23 to 25, is to include a screening of the rarely seen Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (1952), which Agee wrote and acted in.
Agee, who partnered with photographer Walker Evans to produce Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for his autobiographical novel A Death in the Family. That book, first published two years after the author’s early death in 1955, was reissued two years ago in an edition that preserves portions of Agee’s original manuscript.