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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Local poet publishes first novel

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Veita Jo Hampton
(Submitted photo)
Local poet and writing teacher Veita Jo Hampton has self-published her first novel, "August In Defiance: A Perfect Burial," which is now available for Nook and Kindle e-readers and which will be available starting Nov. 15 in print from vendors including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Hampton will hold her first book-signing for the novel Nov. 11 near its real-life setting in Missouri, hosted by several of her students from the 1970s.

Hampton, 73, is the author, co-author or editor of 13 books since 1989. She's taught journalism, photography and media writing at the University of Missouri and at Middle Tennessee State University and taught journalism and language arts for 16 years in Missouri high schools. Her book "Windows to Vietnam: A Journey in Pictures and Verse," featuring Hampton's poetry with photography by Scott C. Clarkson, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, "among the 150-plus poets who did not win." she said. She has, however, won awards for editing, design, speaking and teaching.

Her first novel is set during the Great Flood of 1993 on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers near Defiance, Mo., and depicts how a family deals with both flood and disease. A funeral home is destroyed, sending the casket of Maddy Locke floating downstream and revealing much about Locke's family. Daughter Am heads to Missouri from her home in South Dakota, talking to her stuffed frog en route. Her father keeps a secret from the family, while her brother fights the flood and searches for Maddy's casket. Two other sisters prepare for the visitation.

Hampton credits local funeral director Bill Doak with helping her research details of death an burial.

What made Hampton decide to try her hand at a novel?

"Because I must write....that is what I do," she said. "Have since age nine."

The book names some real-life people.

"Many enjoyed it," she said. "Some were critical of the Halloweeny nature of the story, and details regarding disease. Others have yet to say what they think."

Hampton has also self-published "Light Travels II," a volume of poetry and photographs which is still in circulation and is used as a text for workshops and seminars on visual literacy. She can be reached at hamvjo@gmail.com.

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