Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
(just before Queen)
7:00 p.m.

General Information

Readings, free and open to the public, are on the second Friday of the month in downtown Charleston. Book signing and reception follow the program.

Parking is available at metered spaces on King Street. The city garage ($3) is right around the corner on Queen, just past the Mills House Hotel, on the left.

Seminars are also held at The Charleston Library Society, unless otherwise stated, and run from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Members $10, College of Charleston students free, all others $15.
Click here to join.

Click here to visit us on Facebook. Be sure to check out our state-wide poetry calendar to find events in your area!

Programs 2017-2018

7:00 p.m., Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street, Charleston.
Free and open to the public. Reception and book signing follow the reading.
Click here for a printable calendar.

September 8
Chen Chen with Brandon Rushton

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr., Poetry Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, The Best American Poetry, Bettering American Poetry, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. A Kundiman fellow, Chen is pursuing a Ph.D. in English and creative writing at Texas Tech University.

Brandon Rushton’s poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Passages North, and Verse Daily. In 2016, he was the winner of both the Gulf Coast Prize and the Ninth Letter Award for poetry. He co-founded the poetry outfit Oxidant | Engine and teaches writing at the College of Charleston.

September 9
Poetry Seminar
Chen Chen, "The Art of Telling"

Typically, "show, don’t tell" is sound advice for writers aiming to evoke and enact complicated emotion, to surprise through imagery and sensory detail, and not explain a theme or tell the reader exactly what to feel. In this seminar, though, we’ll talk about how we might use "telling" in beautiful, unexpected ways. We’ll examine modes and moods of "telling," like the discursive, meditative, and conversational, and forms of "telling," like aphorism, paradox and subverted cliché. We’ll discuss abstract poems and those that magically persuade us to read the abstract as imagistic, and consider how a fresh combination of abstract and concrete can create new, startling connections. We’ll do short writing experiments between discussions.

October 13
Emma Bolden with Miho Kinnas

Emma Bolden is the author of medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013). Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry and The Best Small Fictions. She received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA and serves as Senior Reviews Editor for Tupelo Quarterly.

Miho Kinnas is a Japanese poet. Her book of poems is Today, Fish Only (Math Paper Press 2015). Her poems appeared in Quixoteca: Poems East of La Mancha (Chameleon Press 2016) and The Classical Gardens of Shanghai (HKU Press 2016). She holds an MFA from City University of Hong Kong.

October 14
Poetry Seminar
Emma Bolden, "Breaking the Block: How Playing By the Rules Can Get You Back in the Game"

Writer’s block: every writer faces it, no matter where they are in their career. Sometimes, it’s the fear that overcomes you at the sight of that blank page; sometimes, it’s the blank that happens when you try to perfect your piece. We’ll explore ways to break through writer’s block at every point in the process through language games that can help you play your way into a solution to even the most difficult the puzzles of poetry.

November 10
Eugenia Leigh with Melissa Slayton

Eugenia Leigh is the author of Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books), the winner of the 2015 Debut-litzer Prize in Poetry. The recipient of fellowships and awards from Poets & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, The Frost Place, Rattle, and Asian American Literary Review, Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Melissa Slayton’s writing can be found in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, San Pedro River Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Apalachee Review, and others. She attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and the Hub City Writing-in-Place Conference as the recipient of PSSC’s Summer Scholarship.

November 11
Poetry Seminar
Eugenia Leigh, "Telling the Truth, but Telling It Slant"

This seminar—part conversation and part workshop—will excavate the power behind poems that draw from personal or collective experiences that are "true." In Emily Dickinson’s poem with the famous first line, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant," Dickinson also insists "The Truth must dazzle gradually." How does a poem manage to tell its truths by not only dazzling, but by also dazzling gradually? What craft elements can a poem employ to slant its truths? The study of contemporary poems by living, truth-telling poets who master the Art of the Gradual Dazzle will help us answer these questions and steer us to create our own Dickinson-approved poems.

December 8
Holiday Party, for members only.
Details will appear in the newsletter.
Click here to join.

January 12
Annual Open Mic in memory of Susan Laughter Meyers

Susan Laughter Meyers’s last release, My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass, won the inaugural Cider Press Review Editors Prize, and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and the Robert Dana Anhinga Poetry Prize. She was the 2013 recipient of The SC Academy of Authors’ Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship. Her poems appear in Prairie Schooner, NC Literary Review, Poemeleon, and Rabbit.

A longtime PSSC officer, as well as co-coordinator of Litchfield Tea and Poetry and the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series, Meyers passed away suddenly last June. We will take this open mic to remember and read poems by and in memory of our dear friend.

February 9
Emilia Phillips with Angela Pilson

Emilia Phillips is the author of three poetry collections from U. of Akron Press, Signaletics (2013), Groundspeed (2016), and Empty Clip (due Spring 2018), and three chapbooks, most recently Beneath the Ice Fish Like Souls Look Alike (Bull City Press, 2015). Her poems and lyric essays appear in Agni, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English at UNC Greensboro.

Angela Pilson is a second-year MFA student at the College of Charleston, where she is also a graduate assistant for Crazyhorse. She has a Master of Arts in Writing and a Master of Arts in Teaching English from Coastal Carolina University. Pilson’s work appears in North American Review.

February 10
Poetry Seminar
Emilia Phillips, "I Am Trying to Be Marvelous: The Poetics of Body Positivity"

The title of our course comes from Chen Chen’s "Winter," a poem that candidly describes the body’s excretions while celebrating its beauty, sexuality, and humanity. In this course, we will examine the poetries that have arisen alongside the body positivity movement, paying special attention to poets of color, poets with disabilities, female poets, and LGBTQ+ poets. Through our discussion and attendant workshop, we’ll discover ways in which we can break down misconceptions and prejudices related to our bodies, and we will draft our own work so as to consciously embody body positivity. In doing so, we might find that our approach and usage of language changes, and that the forms of our poems reflect bodily acceptance.

March 9
Jonathan Brown with Ann Herlong-Bodman

Jonathan Brown holds a BA in Communication from the College of Charleston, an MA in Writing and Consciousness from New College of California, and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. In 2013, he earned the John Woods Scholarship to study in Prague. His poems have been published in the Worcester Review, The Nashville Review, and Indiefeed.

Ann Herlong-Bodman is author of Loose in Far-away Places (2017, Press 53) and her poems appear in Atlanta Review, The Cortland Review, and The South Carolina Review. After receiving degrees from Columbia College and the University of South Carolina, she taught at the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications and at Lander University. After the Berlin Wall fell, she taught in Eastern Europe under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State.

March 10
Poetry Seminar
Jonathan Brown,
"The Poem’s Speaker"

Is the speaker of your poem you? A little or a lot? Always or never? Can you ever really step outside of your own voice and inhabit someone else’s perspective? And if so, what would be the purpose of doing so? In this workshop we’ll discuss these questions and more. How (and maybe more importantly why) would a writer leave his or her own voice behind in favor of someone else’s?

April 13
Bruce Weigl with Catherine McCullough

Bruce Weigl, distinguished professor at Lorain County Community College, has published over a dozen award-winning poetry collections, most recently the forthcoming Poulin award-winner from BOA Editions. His has received awards from the American Academy of Poets, Pushcart, Patterson Poetry, Yaddo Foundation, Bread Loaf, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Song of Napalm was a 1988 Pulitzer nominee. Many of his poems are inspired by his time in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

Catherine McCullough holds a BA from Middlebury College, an MA in English Literature from the University of South Carolina, and is a current candidate for the MFA in Poetry at the College of Charleston. She has attended both the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference. Before beginning her MFA, Catherine worked for twenty years as a non-profit fundraiser. She lives in Mt Pleasant with her husband and two children.

April 14, 10 a.m. - noon
Poetry Seminar at the Library Society
Bruce Weigl, "Writing at the Juncture of Memory and Imagination."
We’ll discuss two short essays and then talk about this notion as it relates to finding the poems that are already inside of us.

April 14, 2 - 3:15 p.m.
College of Charleston, Tate Center (9 Liberty St) Room 202
Special Appearance, Bridging Between
Some of Bruce Weigl’s award-winning poems involve his experiences in the Viet Nam War. PSSC is pleased to host him for a special visit to Bridging Between, an informal group that meets at the College of Charleston North Campus to explore the literature of soldiering. This reading with Q&A is free and open to the public. Click here to read ”Song of Napalm“.

This project is supported by South Arts in partnership with the SC Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department.

May 11
Annual Forum with Len Lawson

Len Lawson is the author of the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press) and editor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race (Muddy Ford Press). He is a Ph.D. student in English Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He won the 2016 Jasper Magazine Artist of the Year Award in Literary Arts. He received a poetry fellowship from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and a poetry residency from Vermont Studio Center.

May 12
Poetry Seminar
Len Lawson, "Poet at Work: Shaping the 21st Century Poet"

With modern technology, knowledge of past literary periods, and the wealth of poets writing and influencing the world, the barriers to entering the craft of poetry remain few and nonthreatening. However, for anyone who calls themselves a poet or accepts the call to poetry, this workshop will sift and shake those calls to harness the poets’ profession into a clear purpose. Strategies will include researching views of poets throughout history, investigating how poets view themselves, and exploring innovative poetry forms.

The Forum Seminar concludes PSSC’s program year. To hear more great poetry in Charleston in the coming weeks, visit the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series and Poetry at McLeod. Have a great summer, and don’t forget to write!

thanks to our sponsors

This series is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Funding comes to PSSC through generous grants from the John and Susan Bennett Foundation of the Coastal Community Foundation, and the Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund.