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"A Thousand Blended Notes"

A Letter from the President

Hello, everyone. I know it's still spring, but it feels like summer, and I've started swimming to jazz and blues. Today, I decided on 1920's music. This is my favorite time of year. Everything in me brightens. In the pool, I breathe easier than any other time. I hear, like Wordsworth, "a thousand blended notes." And as I listen, I think of all the South Carolina poets and poetry readers whose blended voices represent the "society" of us. As I meet more and more of them, my appreciation deepens for the collective sound. A few weeks ago, I visited Pickens County for the first time, and encountered some dynamic leaders in the arts field, and realized again that we need to be in alignment with them so we can all achieve more in the world of non-profits.

The first event in the Every Corner, Every County reading series is behind us, and I am grateful to Sharon at the Georgetown County Museum for helping us settle in there for the summer. I hope you will join us for Evelyn Berry's reading on June 1 (tomorrow!)  to hear another distinctive voice.

Zoom links are provided below in the Every Corner, Every County section of this newsletter.

Next up, I'll provide a recap of May, but let me ask you to renew your membership if you have not done so. Please reach out to Jim if you have any questions about membership:

Great night with poets Coretta "Solfege" Little, Brittany Porcher, and Tamell Bailey ("Big Bailey") as well as pianist MarQuel Landy and all of our Open Mic participants. Check the website for information on our next Poets on Stage!

I got involved with the Ag & Art Tour because Cassie Premo Steele shared the invitation with me, so thank you Cassie! I had no idea what a meaningful experience it would be. I met leaders in the creative arts community, experienced Pickens County for the first time, and ran into an old friend, Susan DuPlessis, from the South Carolina Arts Commission. She brought along her beau, Bob, and we enjoyed deep conversation about ways to keep growing the arts in Every Corner, Every County. I set up a table with many books by South Carolina poets, played around on the keyboard, and held a community open mic. It was wonderful when some people happily took part in the experiment! 

This event was made even better by having a young woman stroll in and say, "I heard there was a workshop today, so I hope it's okay if I attend." Yes! Stroll in, folks. Bring your friends for a shared learning experience. 

Prize winners! An audience-decided forum winner. Shares from Ed Gold and Kit Loney, and a lovely reading by John Hoppenthaler. New board members elected: Amy Allen, Al Black, Chris Blackmon, and Katie Ellen Bowers. A review of the jam-packed year. All in all, a perfect way to end the "traditional season." A reception at Buxton Books, too!

This was our first reading in the Every Corner, Every County Reading Series --- and the first of three readings to be held at the Georgetown County Museum. We enjoyed hearing Kimberly Simms and Brittany Porcher!

And that wraps up May!


The Oliver Bowman Memorial Prize


When Oliver Bowman passed away at the age of 92 on July 25, 2023, the Poetry Society of South Carolina suffered the loss of one of our finest, most beloved central figures. Generations of PSSC members have experienced his friendship and graciousness, from

 his first appearance before the group in 1963 right up to the time of his unexpected death.

To honor Oliver, we are raising funds for the Oliver Bowman Memorial Prize that will begin this coming calendar year and continue for at least 10 years, if we can raise sufficient funds. If you would like to contribute to this collective, "The Friends of Oliver Bowman," send a check for any amount you're comfortable with to PSSC, P.O. Box 1090, Charleston, SC 29402. Make check payable to "PSSC." Please indicate that your donation is for the "Oliver Bowman Memorial Prize." Your donation is tax deductible to the full extent of the law and will be acknowledged with an official letter for tax purposes.


Every Corner, Every County

Evelyn Berry Reading

Georgetown Historical Museum

June 1, 2024, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Georgetown County Museum, 120 Broad St, Georgetown, SC 29440, USA

Unable to attend in person? Use this link to attend via Zoom on the night of the reading: 

Workshop with Evelyn, Saturday, June 1, 1:00 p.m., Pawleys Tap House and Grill, 13089 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island, SC 29585


June 8 and 9, Tamara Miles will join Cassie Premo Steele for the Richland County Ag & Art Tour at Living Wright Foundation's Farm at Senate's End. Drop by, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

While you're at it, visit some of the other folks on Ag & Art tour! Here's more information and a map.


If you would like to add an event to future newsletters, email the information to before the first of the month.


Members in the News

Frances Pearce received second place for one of her poems in this year’s Porter Fleming Literary Awards! 

Charles Watts's poem ("Of That Which We Cannot Speak") was just published online by the Center for's a bit of a trip into the spiritual realm. Here's a link.

Tina Baumis has gathered young poets to read at Hurricane Coffee in Ladson (Berkeley County) on June 22 at 6 p.m.! Come and see Zachery Williams and D.L. Mack, Jr.

Richard Allen Taylor has shared the following:

I have a new blog post in the "What They Taught Me About Poetry" series. This installment features Sally Keith. Just click on the active link "Richard Allen Taylor, Poet" below if you'd like to access the new post. 

Here's the info on the readings: 

Sunday, June 9, 2:30 p.m., FLYLEAF SECOND SUNDAY READING SERIES, Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC. (I'll be sharing the stage with Anne Myles, author of Late Epistle, winner of Sappho's Prize in Poetry.

Friday, June 21, 6:00 p.m., VINO & POESIA, VAPA Center, 700 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC. Open mic follows the featured reader. 

Hope to see some of you there! 


Richard Allen Taylor


Check out my new website: Richard Allen Taylor, Poet

Find Society merchandise below, followed by the Poetry Prompt Contest.


You can look sporty and support the important work of the Poetry Society with each purchase. Click here to visit the website.

You can also pick up a copy of The History of the Poetry Society of South Carolina from Amazon --- and if you enjoy it, please leave a review.



The Poetry Prompt Contest is a monthly contest where we encourage you to submit a piece inspired by the new prompt found below. The winning poem or flash fiction is published in the following month's newsletter. We also offer the winner the opportunity to record a video of him or herself reading the poem to be posted to the Poetry Society's YouTube channel. There is no obligation to record the video, it is only there as an offer if the winner feels comfortable doing so.

Thank you to those who entered our Poetry Prompt Contest for May!  

Our April judge is Ashley Crout, and Susan Finch Steven's prose poem is the winner! Susan is from Charleston County.

Here are some thoughts from the judge, followed by the complete poem:

The poem’s end made me catch my breath because I was so delightfully stunned by where the poet landed us. We took a mythical journey through childhood rhyme that brought us to such a deep, serious truth of the northern white rhinoceros and the ghost it is becoming.

The Elephant, the Mouse, and the Rhinoceros

The elephant, the mouse, and the rhinoceros do not walk into a bar. The elephant is in the room. The elephant never forgets. The elephant never really left tracks in the Jello. The elephant is not really afraid of the mouse. The mouse is afraid of the farmer’s wife. The mouse is afraid of her carving knife. The mouse and its cohorts are blind. The men who are asked to describe the elephant are blind. They have never seen such a sight in their lives. The men do not see that both the elephant and the mouse are gray. If a Northern white rhinoceros were in the room, the men would not see that it is not actually white. It is barely a rhinoceros now. The men are blind. They do not see that the Northern white rhinoceros is fading into memory. The elephant never forgets. The elephant is in the room.

(Congratulations, Susan!)

This month's prompt is "blended" or "to blend" or some derivative of that idea such as a collective voice, musical performance, etc. An alternative could be "June." Submit a poem or a piece of flash fiction related to one or both of these themes. Take this in any direction you want. We'll announce the winner in the next newsletter. I know I said last month, "We're shifting the newsletter's arrival to keep you better informed of the new reading series events, which are on the first Saturday of each month," but it didn't happen that way this month. We'll see.

Send the poems to, and let me know which county you are in! 

For a thousand blended notes,



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Editor: Tamara Miles

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