Updated: Sep 1, 2021
A Letter from the President
There were times when it seemed like I would never be able to announce this, but my book about the history of the Poetry Society of South Carolina is finished. It has been a long slog. I began the actual writing process in January 2020, at the tail end of those long-ago, mask-less, hand-shaking, hugging, pre-COVID times that seem like a lifetime ago. Since then, like many during the quiet limbo of the COVID shutdown, I experienced a dilation of time when working on the book. While I was reading the letters written by people like DuBose Heyward, Robert Frost, and Jean Toomer, they came alive to me. But I also knew their past and future—how they would die and how long they had left at any particular moment. When a historical life exists as a strange amalgam of past, present, and future—all of which are vividly alive in your mind simultaneously—time becomes an almost meaningless concept. Meanwhile, during COVID, without the need to attach meaning to the days of the week, dates, or the hour of day or night, the days and months bled into each other. The last year has been a blur, but when the final printer's proof of the paperback edition arrived yesterday, it was like snapping out of a dream. It is nice to hold the book in my hands and feel the texture of the cover and the weight and heft of its 370 pages. It has become real. Of course I’m biased, but I think you’re going to love it. I tried to make the book interesting and fun. It’s loaded with useless trivia, salacious gossip, morbidity, humor, scandal, heartbreak, intrigue, embezzlement, drama, backstabbing, and irony. It’s so fun to read that you won’t notice it’s an encyclopedic account of every one of the 690 meetings of the PSSC from the first one on January 15, 1921, to the last one of last season, May 14, 2021. If you’ve been active in the Poetry Society, you probably appear in the book. This may well be the only book I ever write, so I want to have a hardcover edition of it standing on my bookshelf to show off. I also want anyone else who thinks the book is an important enough addition to their library to have a hardcover. But I don’t want to be in the book repository business, so I am taking pre-orders for the hardcovers to avoid having boxes and boxes of unsold inventory taking up space. If you would like to pre-order signed copies of the hardcover—a true smyth-sewn, acid-free, archival-quality hardcover with dust jacket—please send me an email to get your name on the list. They will cost $42.50. If you want an unsigned copy, it will cost extra—it will take a lot of self-restraint for me to keep from signing every single one. There is a 3-week lead time for the hardcover run. If you want to know if your name appears in the book before you order one, send me an email and I’ll tell you. I will not think it vain. The paperback edition will come through Kindle Direct Publishing via their print-on-demand service and it will be available starting September 1. Hopefully, I will have a book release party for it around that time, but it’s too early to know. The paperback, which is also very high quality and tips the scales at 1-1/2 lbs., will run $25. I will supply the link to order it in September. Once ordered, they print it and send it out directly to you in a matter of a day or two, so it will not be signed, but I can sign it later. I have never felt more like I’m living in the future than when I upload the latest draft of the book into the KindleDirect website and receive a bound copy two days later. They are really nice, as nice as any paperback you will find in the book store. In fact, I think a lot of small publishers use the service. While all this was going on, it turns out that time really does exist, and our new season is looming large on the horizon. I hope you're as excited about it as I am. Jim Lundy President, PSSC
The Poetry Society is supported by South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization; inspiring, engaging, and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture, and heritage.
The first of our Regional Workshops for the 2021-2022 calendar year has been finalized. This will be an in-person event. This special free workshop held at Pat Conroy Literary Center introduces the PSSC specifically to Lowcountry's poets and poetry lovers. We will be able to plan events regularly once we have a good membership base in the area.
When: Saturday, September 11, 2021, 9:30 - noon
Where: Pat Conroy Literary Center (601 Bladen St, Beaufort, SC 29902)
Seats: Limited to 20
Registration and Questions:miho.Kinnas@gmail.com
Workshop Topic: "Poetry and the Syntax of Cinema" Poetry and cinema have cross-pollinated for over 100 years. Their relationship stems from their use of the same building blocks—sight and sound, human voices affecting language, and the compression of space/time. This seminar will use the "language" of film—its rules, techniques, and components—to examine poems by Pound, Bishop, Kunitz, Merwin, William Carlos Williams and more. Its aim is to both increase technical understanding and provide new approaches to verse composition and revision.
Instructor: Curtis Derrick For the last decade and a half, he taught English and film at Midlands Technical College. In the 1990s, as poetry tutor for Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth, he designed the Center's first online poetry tutorial. He has won fellowships from the SC Arts Commission and the SC Academy of Authors. His poems have appeared in many journals, such as Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal, Natural Bridge, and Tupelo Quarterly.
New Contest Announcements
Our call for sponsors of new contests has continued to bring in confirmed contests and interested but as yet unconfirmed contest sponsors. Last month we announced the Stephanie Siler Memorial Prize sponsored by Ellen Jenks. The latest new contests that will be running in the upcoming season are:
The Perception Prize, sponsored by Ann-Chadwell Humphries for $75. This prize will be awarded to the best poem relating to how we encounter the world through our senses.
The Meter, Rhyme, and Structure Prizes. Two prizes, one for the Fall Contests and one for the Spring, funded by an anonymous donor for $250. These prizes are for the best poems written in a structured form or in a rhyme scheme. The spring contest emphasizes using rhyme and/or meter to have fun.
The Scotty Davis Watson Prize sponsored by Debra Daniel for $100. This prize is named for the cousin of Debra Daniel, who died at the age of eighteen. This prize is for the best poem about finding tiny moments of joy.
The Poetry Society of South Carolina's website, PoetrySocietySC.org needs your help. We are seeking a volunteer to help maintain and update our events, contest information, and coordinate with society leadership to help promote and extend PSSC's digital reach. Experience isn't necessary, but familiarity with Microsoft Office products will help. Please reach out to Ethan Fugate at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or are interested in learning more.
Arthur McMaster, our current PSSC Vice President, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida in 2004. His His poems have appeared in such distinguished journals as North American Review, Southwest Review, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Rattle, and Rhino, with one Pushcart Prize nomination. Arthur’s poem “The Girl with the Just Pretend Jump Rope” won our 2017 DuBose and Dorothy Heyward Society Prize. His most recent volume of poetry, and this his third, is The Whole Picture Show, published (2021) by Revival Press, in Ireland. For a chance to win this book, see the "Prompt Contest" information at the bottom of the Newsletter. He also has work in the 2018 anthology of South Carolina poets, Archive. A retired Converse College English professor, he teaches in the Continuing Education Department (OLLI) at Furman University. See web page: https://awmc25.wixsite.com/mysite
In praise of this poet, Stuart Dischell writes: “Just when I despaired that new volumes of poetry had lost all shapeliness and music, along comes Arthur McMaster’s superb The Whole Picture Show, a panopticon of familial, social, and aesthetic experiences. I hear subtle notes of poets like Wallace Stevens and Donald Justice in certain phrasings and stanzaic arrangements—yet also a reverent irreverence for the subjects McMaster encounters that are his own lyric gift.”
David Kirby writes, “These beautifully restrained poems seem to have been written by a poet in a toga and laurel leaves with an energy drink in one hand and a skateboard in the other, a quester about to go out, see everything and return to his fireside to write. Music, cocktails, photographs, friends, relatives, books, even a pistol or two: everything is in these poems. I wish that I had written them.”
MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
Terri McCord has poems in upcoming issues of Jasper Writes, Main Street Rag, Twelve Mile Review, and Kakalak 2021. Ann-Chadwell Humphries has been accepted for SC Humanities Speakers Bureau: Humanities Out Loud. The article written about her by the University of SC was reprinted in Prairie Schooner Newsletter.
Ethan Fugate reviews Plastic: An Autobiography in the latest issue of Boog City. Plastic: An Autobiography is the latest book by the November 2021 featured reader, Allison Cobb. Mary O'Keefe Brady's poem, "Pressed in Time" has been accepted for publication in the summer/fall 2021 issue of the Naugatuck River Review. Pat Riviere-Seel announces that Main Street Rag Publishing Company will publish her book When There Were Horses in the fall, and it will sell for $14 + shipping. But you can get it for the special presale price of $8.50 + by placing an advance discount order at the MSR Online Bookstore before it goes to press. Pre-order a copy with this direct link: Preorder. Derek Berry's poem "what you mean when you say regret" was published in Sledgehammer Lit. Derek Berry will perform on August 7th at 9pm at Pexcho's Dime Museum in Augusta, GA. Lisa Hase-Jackson's poem "Finding Mom" will appear in the October issue of Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts. J. Stephen Rhodes newest poetry collection, Was That You Boss, has just been released by Wipf and Stock. Gervais Hagerty's debut novel IN POLITE COMPANY comes out in six weeks! The book has made recommended summer reading lists in The Post & Courier, Country Living, PopSugar, and MSN. Members, please send poetry-related news to: Flatbluesky@hotmail.com
Poetry Prompt Newsletter Contest
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. August's winner gets a signed copy of Arthur McMaster's book The Whole Picture Show. The July Poetry Prompt Contest was to write a poem or piece of flash fiction on the topic of Heat. This prompt proved very popular. I was glad to receive entries from Ruth Nicholson, who sent "Open Carry;" Ellen Jenks wrote a delightful limerick called "Consequences;" Emory Jones submitted "Summer Haiku;" Ann-Chadwell Humphries entered "Heat Index 6.26.18;" Ed Madden entered "What It's Like;" Eugene Platt contributed "Dresden's Frauenkirche Weeps for Notre-Dame de Paris," Joye Lane-Hill entered "Tin Roof Summers," and Beth Dillenkoffer sent "Mom." The winner will receive a signed copy of Notwithstanding by Brit Washburn, who was also the judge for this contest. She selected Ed Madden's poem, which appears below. Here is the August prompt: In keeping with the theme of dilation of time of the Newsletter, write a poem or piece of flash fiction on the general theme of Time. This is as broad and exciting as any prompt thus far. Where will you take it? Time travel, wasting time, lost time, time to burn, time is money, time waits for no one, a stitch in time, time marches on, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," time flies, time will tell, time to move, time to burn, time to spare, Good-time Charlie, time zones, time to hit the road, etc. I hope you have time to write a poem for the contest. The deadline will be here in no time! August's winner will receive a signed copy of Arthur McMaster's brand new book, The Whole Picture Show . Send your submissions to FlatBlueSky@hotmail.com on or before August 31. The winner of the July Prompt Contest:
What It’s Like
It’s only morning and already the air feels like a sauna. That’s what we say, as if it’s just a simile when it’s really not. It’s that hot. I say I’m sweating like a pig, but pigs don’t sweat, can’t. Smelted ore’s too hot to touch until it sweats. Pigs sit in mud to cool. I would too. A storm blows up at 4 and then it’s gone, the pavement dark and wet for just a bit, until the sun cooks it off, dry as bone, the sprinklers on. -Ed Madden