‘Picture with Me’ — Local author plans book signing

Published 11:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2022

The book Penney Blackwell recently published was a labor of love for her.

A graduate of Jackson State University with a degree in human resources, Blackwell is a postal worker who loves to write poetry — especially if it is encouraging to others.

The Bogue Chitto author said she got the idea to write “Picture with Me as I Take This Journey” after several poems she wrote and posted on social media got good responses.

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“People said, ‘You ought to put them in a book.’ So I did,” Blackwell said.

“What really inspired me was a lady told me she wasn’t going to her mother’s funeral, until she read (one of my) poems, about how they transition and are at peace,” she said. “That brought joy to me.”

Blackwell will sign copies of her book this Sunday 2-4 p.m. at Uptown Mall in McComb.

Though she’s written poetry for years, her mother’s death inspired her to take a new direction. She wrote a poem about her mother’s life and passing, and began to focus her poetry on the lives and deaths of other individuals.

As a graduate of Bogue Chitto High School and native to the area, the 2017 deaths of several community residents lost in a violent rampage moved her to write “The Big Game,” one of the book’s entries. Told as a glimpse into a heavenly football game, the poetic prose aims to offer encouragement to the reader who remembers and misses these individuals, or others close to their hearts.

“After the game, William Durr, Barbara Faye, Toccara, Brenda, Shelia, Feral, Austin and Jordan all held hands, looked down toward Earth, and said, ‘We have made it over. We’re alright now,’” Blackwell wrote.

Other entries that stand out to the author as personally special are “Sweet Tooth,” about Brookhaven’s Teegie Hargro; “Heaven News at 6,” about reporter Mike Sand; and “Pharmaceutical,” because of a cousin who lost his battle with cancer.

“I try to do encouraging words, but it’s basically a poem about them,” Blackwell said.

“Picture with Me” will be available for purchase at the book signing, and is also available through Amazon.