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"Amid Heavenly Sounds"

Updated: May 4




A Letter from the President

 

Bzzzz. Hey, folks, grab your seed packets and watering can. April means opening the greenhouse, planting bulbs around the mailbox, and playing music for everything growing. Right now the birds are competing with Fleetwood Mac "running in the shadows" in the backyard where we've been cleaning up the dog's toys and stuff and fluff, gathering up seed pots and planters -- generally getting in the Spring mood. I just wrote a poem about bees. I've also been watching many live births of lambs and kids online at Dalscone Farm. Their baas and naas are heavenly sounds to me. The visual and auditory pleasures of spring abound, and I am finding Eugenio Montale's poem In the Greenhouse  evocative today. Consider this stanza:


The lemon bushes overflowed


with the patter of mole paws,


the scythe shined


in its rosary of cautious water drops.

 

It seems like the right time to share some exciting news. Here, I'll pull out the red wooden chair and pour you a cup of Carolina Mint from the Charleston Tea Plantation. This is going to be good. But first, I need to remind you of our April 12 reading with Tarfia Faizullah and Elizabeth Robin (opening reader) at Gage Hall, and the workshop to follow on Saturday (same location). Zoom links for both events are provided below the tribute to Oliver Bowman and the new prize information in the green box (scroll down). Also, please remember the May forum and workshop with John Hoppenthaler coming up!


Okay, the big news:


So ... we've been thinking for a while now about how to strengthen our Every Corner, Every County initiative --- how to light a match under it and spread the fire of poetry everywhere. And with the help of our new program chair, Jessy Hylton, we're about to take off. Welcome to the new reading series:


As you know, we've been adding supplemental events here and there in Columbia, Greenville, and in a variety of counties for Poetry Trails. I've visited many libraries. We're forming greater connections and networking our little hearts out. But the traditional/seasonal reading series has always been in Charleston. Now we are bursting out of the Low Country for a new state-wide series, and we're going to twelve months a year because summer can't wait around on us anymore!


In May, when we hold our traditional end of the year forum, we are also hosting a kick-off for the new Every Corner, Every County Reading Series, which will be held in four regions: the PeeDee, the Upstate, the Midlands, and the Low Country. And to mix it up even more, each region will be hosting poets from a different region. 


First up, the Pee Dee! On May 4, Kimberly Gibbs will kick things off by reading at the Georgetown Historical Museum, and our opening reader will be a student from Coastal Carolina University. We're still working on the workshop location, but there's a shift in that as well because we're doing the workshop and reading on the same day in this new series, (Saturdays) and hoping to do the workshop over lunch at a local restaurant or in the park. More on this soon. Please check the website and our social media regularly for updates, and reach out to jessicakhylton@gmail.com with any questions.


Next up, I'm going to show you March with gratitude and pleasure. 


Oh, speaking of gratitude and pleasure, we  always appreciate your donations to the annual budget, especially as we prepare to go to Every Corner, Every County!  Donate at the Join Us/Workshops link at the top right of the website. Scroll down to Donation to our Cause. Thank you.


Please reach out to Jim if you have any questions about membership: FlatBlueSky@hotmail.com.


Listen to the heavenly sounds of Spring, everybody. 




Before I met Tina and Cici at the park, I made a stop at the Williamsburg County Library and left a book and our good wishes. It was a rainy day going in at Kellahan, and the gate was locked, but we were not to be stopped. A kind policeman came and let us in. We had brought our "brollies" (Scottish for umbrellas), so it was nothing to make a short walk and gather under the gazebo, and smiling when the sun came out for us. We read from Kakalak and Illuminations journals, books by Libby Bernardin, Jane Zenger, Elizabeth Robin, and others. In the little free library just outside the park gate, I found a 1920 hymnal that delighted me and sang a few of the old tunes I grew up with. Cici climbed the gazebo (don't tell the popo), and I set poetry books swinging and photographed them in trees because poetry goes everywhere, and so do we. Then we decided on local food and crossed the railroad tracks to enjoy fresh seafood. A delightful day. Join us next time.



It was the same day as the big St. Patrick's Day fest in Columbia, but folks still came out to bear witness to what our poets and musicians had to share. To add to my joy, Ashley stayed at my home, and we visited Books on Broad in Camden together. At the big event, we all enjoyed the readings and the musical performance by Lang Owen, who shared some tunes from his new album. Finally, our Open Mic includes members Ruth Nicholson and Al Black as well as a second go-around with Robin, Ashley, and Curtis. My appreciation as always to Danny Sciortino, who set up the stage for me and stood by.





Those are Al's words: "When you find a couple of feral poets and take them to Arabesque on Devine, their behavior transforms" (or something like that). Incredibly good food and company. Lots of dreaming and sharing ideas. We're always open to meeting somewhere, folks.




Friends filled the coffee house to show their appreciation to a man who has spent many years developing the art of sharing poetry in the Midlands. He knows everybody.  If I recall correctly, it was at Mind Gravy that I read poetry in Columbia for the first time. Thank you, Al. Ed Madden was the featured reader, and several people lit up the Open Mic. The Poetry Society gave Al a leather journal.







Angelo spoke to us of living with grief as it is known in midst of the loss and beyond it. One of the best readings of the year. Miho's work, as always, rung with mystery and beauty. 


And those, friends, are the highlights of March. April is going to be hopping, so hang on! Meanwhile... check out what we've got going on. Thanks to Jim Lundy for doing the majority of the work on the events and member highlights section.




Please join us for the PSSC Writers' Group at

Bliss Spiritual Co-op

on the third Saturday of each month,

10:00 a.m., at 1163 Pleasant Oaks Dr, Mt Pleasant, SC.



Please consider a donation if you attend.

Support our efforts to keep the group going and growing.

PSSC member attendance is important.

Go... create... bring a friend. Thank you again!


 



 

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.



 


Tarfia Faizullah with Elizabeth Robin

April 12, 2024

7:00 P.M EST

Gage Hall

4 Archdale St.

Charleston, SC 29401

Tarfia Faizullah's writing has appeared widely in the US and abroad. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes, and other honors, Faizullah presents work at institutions and organizations worldwide, and has been featured at Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Fulbright Conference, the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Radcliffe Seminars, New York University, Barnard College, University of California Berkeley, the Poetry Foundation, the Clinton School of Public Service, Brac University, and elsewhere. In 2016, Harvard Law School included Faizullah in their list of 50 Women Inspiring Change.

Elizabeth Robin retired to Hilton Head Island after a 33-year career as a high school teacher to devote herself to writing.To My Dreamcatcher, Robin’s first full-length poetry collection, begins with a bird’s journey and winds through encounters with ghosts and dreamcatchers, trees and rushing falls, to a spiritual place inside a painting, the moon, a national park. She has two chapbooks through Finishing Line Press: Where Green Meets Blue (2018), an homage to her late husband and new Lowcountry home; and Silk Purses and Lemonade (2017), a story that finds hope inside a tangle of grief.  Robin emcees a monthly open mic and partners with arts groups to bring literary programs to Hilton Head Island.

If you're unable to attend in person, you can watch the proceedings in the comfort of your own home through Zoom. On the night of the event, simply click this link:


 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88647202643?pwd=bHFoQWI3b1NMYng3U3pTZlhxdEZHQT09

 

Workshop 4/13/24. Gage Hall, 10:00-noon. Also live Zoomed (see link below)

TO BE A LEAF: Poetry and the Environment by Tarfia Faizullah"Landscape and language aren't particularly easy to separate," says Camille T. Dungy. We'll look at how that idea may manifest by considering poems by Dungy herself, as well as poems by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, Solmaz Sharif, Natalie Diaz, Fatimah Asghar, Mai Der Vang, and Lucille Clifton, and others, and begin drafts of our own poems. To observe this workshop on Zoom, click the link below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84876028501?pwd=RFpKRlVDbGMwVnJsdEgveU9MbGZLUT09

 

Main (Traditional) Program for the remainder of the 2023-2024 Calendar Year

 

*Other events such as regional workshops, readings, etc. will be listed separately on our website and featured in the newsletter when possible.


Readings are at 7 p.m., on the 2nd Friday of each month with rare exceptions. They are free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Unless otherwise specified, events take place at the Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401 and are also Zoomed live. An alternative location referenced for some events is Gage Hall, part of the Unitarian Church, 4 Archdale Street, Charleston, SC. 


Workshops are at 10 a.m. on the following day after the guest reading (Saturday). They are $10 for members and $15 for non-members, with the exception of Zoom attendees (observation only) and students, who may attend free. Payments are made at the website using the Join Us (and Workshops) tab. Details are subject to change, so always consult our website for the most current information. Members have also received a complete program with your Yearbook.


April 12 and 13, 2024: Tarfia Faizullah with Elizabeth Robin


May 4: Kick-Off for the ECEC Reading Series with Kimberly Gibbs


May 10 and 11: May Forum with John Hoppenthaler


Join us as you can for any or all events! It's going to be a magnificent program. Thank you to Danielle DeTiberus, former Program Chair for lining up the main readers for us one more time, and to Jess Hylton, current Program Chair, for organizing our Opening Readers! 


 

Events Around the State

 

Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series: April 11, 10:00 a.m., Waccamaw Library, 41 St. Paul Place, Pawleys Island, SC 29585. Richard Allen Taylor will be the final reader for this, the 18th year of this series. He is the author of three poetry collections, including Armed and Luminous (Main Street Rag, 2016) and the recently published Letters to Karen Carpenter (Main Street Rag, 2023). His poems, articles, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, such as Rattle, Comstock Review, The Pedestal, and Litmosphere. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Taylor formerly served as review editor for The Main Street Rag and as coeditor of Kakalak, a journal featuring writers, artists and photographers of North and South Carolina. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he and his Kakalak coeditors received the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for service to the writing community. What a fine way to celebrate National Poetry Month. 


A staged reading of Eugene Platt's one-act play Believing Is Seeing will be presented Sunday, May 5, at 5:00 p.m. It will be at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Summerville (119 West Luke Avenue). The play is set in Jerusalem soon after the Resurrection. The cast includes Brad Erickson, Dick Latham, and others. Free admission. 


Katie Ellen Bowers shared the following opportunity:


The Lancaster County Council of the Arts is hosting a Literary Arts Festival! To round off an amazing day, there will be an open mic event at Daily Grind on Saturday the 13th at 5:00 p.m., and everyone is invited and encouraged to read their work and hear some local poetry and prose. This is such an amazing time to come together as a community to support the literary arts in Lancaster County while supporting a wonderful local coffee shop!


Cassie Premo Steele shared the following opportunity:


Dear Friends and Artisans:


We are seeking artisans of all types (musicians, painters, potters, poets, woodworkers, bakers, & more) to participate in the Richland County Ag + Art Tour on June 8-9, 2024, and we hope you can join us! Artisans will be stationed at 20 tour sites across the county—a site listing is in the below/attached media release. The release also includes links for artisan applicationsvolunteer registration, and a promotional video.


 Please share with your networks and on social media, with thanks. Can’t wait to see you all on the Tour…!



Best,

Chanda


CHANDA L. COOPER

Conservation Education Analyst

Community Planning & Development Department

803-576-2084


Chris Errol Maw and Readers & Writers shared the following:


April is National Poetry Month! So, who better to have as our speaker than Tamara Miles, President of the South Carolina Poetry Society. We will gather for lunch at 11:30 AM and Tamara will speak at 12:30 PM.


Wando Mt. Pleasant Library celebrates National Poetry Month on April 11, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., with Ed Gold discussing the role of humor in poetry. , 1400 Carolina Park Blvd, Mt. Pleasant, SC 28466. Free.


Upstate Poets at M. Judson: April 17, 5:30-7:30, M. Judson Booksellers, 130 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601. Join us for a poetry reading by these poets: Amy Randall, Arthur McMaster, Ashley Crout, Emmie Watson, Gil Allen, James Englehardt, Roxanne Cordonier, Sue Renault, Terri McCord, and Tamara Miles.


The poets for the April 20, 6 p.m. Poets on Stage event at Good Life Cafe, 1216 Taylor Street, Columbia 29201, are Michal Rubin, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Jesus Redondo Menendez.  


Poetry Trails: April 27, Edisto Beach State Park Campground, 10:00 a.m. to noon. Come along with The Poetry Society of South Carolina to share poetry with us on the beach. See flier below.


On April 30, the Upstate Poets and the PSSC will host an event at The Tasting Room, 164 S. Main St., Suite C, Travelers Rest, SC 29690. For details, contact Amy Randall at amypowellrandall@gmail.com.


Poetry Editor of Chapin Magazine, Randy Spenser, is looking for more poets who've written poems about lake life that I could consider for publication. Would also consider poems that would seem to be about country living. Prefer poets from MIdlands. POEMS MUST BE UNPUBLISHED. The magazine comes out 6 times a year and the poem is overprinted on a painting with a matching theme by a local artist. Send poems to Randy's email, hrspencer@gmail.com. Recently he has published Poetry Society members Debbie Daniel, Susan Craig, and Cindi Boiter. 


It's time for another Poetry Trails event, and there's a contest involved! Danny Sciortino has donated another guitar, so if you'd like to win it, please send me your nature poem at everycornereverycounty@gmail.com by April 25! Event flyer below.




Tina Baumis has also shared the following events:



and Cypress Gardens kicks off their submission period for poem entries for their Poetry Walk.  The flyer below has all the details:



and from Kim Blum Hyclak, an invitation to submit:




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


 

Members in the News


Christina Baumis's poem “Cantaloupe” has been awarded second place in the North Carolina Poetry Society's 2024 Jean Williams Poetry of Disability, Disease, and Healing contest. 


Tina has also shared the news that Society members and judges are featured in


Richard Allen Taylor's poetry has been published in Bill Griffin's latest "Verse and Image."

 

James Island, SC, City Council announced that longtime PSSC member Eugene Platt has been made their Poet Laureate with this press release:

   "The Town Council duly assembled on January 18th voted unanimously to appoint Eugene Platt as Poet Laureate for the Town of James Island. As Poet Laureate, Mr. Platt will represent the Town at cultural affairs by sharing new and his renowned poetry. Mr. Platt served in this capacity in the Town in 2002 by sharing his vast knowledge and love of poetry. We are excited about Mr. Platt’s experience in working with young and old alike; not only reading poetry but also in writing and literacy."


“Offering,” a poem by Jacquelyn Markham of Beaufort is now live at Caracol, the giant red spiral outdoor sculpture behind Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island as part of the HHI Poetry Trail. Many thanks to Elizabeth Robin for initiating the HHI Poetry Trail and including this poem! Jacquelyn has also had two poems selected for inclusion in Fall Lines Volume X, releasing in spring 2024. Many thanks to Fall Lines’ editors Ed Madden and Cindi Boiter.

 

Longtime member Terri McCord was interviewed for a feature in Pinhole Poetry. You can read it online by clicking this link: McCord Interview.


Tamara Miles and The Poetry Society are featured in Holy City Sinner (thank you Della Watson, for a wonderful interview!)


Debra Daniel has made the shortlist for our 2024 Micro Fiction Competition.


Glenis Redmond's book, The Song of Everything (A Poet's Exploration of South Carolina State Parks) is out! Edited by Ashley Crout. Foreword by Tamara Miles. Also wanted to let you know the book is on Goodreads. If you have an account there and are willing to leave a review, we’d love for you to share your thoughts there! To keep up with Glenis's poetry news, please sign up for her newsletter at www.glenisredmond.com


From Lawrence Rhu

Pre-owned Odyssey & Rented Rooms, my poetry collection, is due to be released later this year by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. In the meantime, readers have a chance to order a copy at a significantly reduced price before it appears in print. Once it is available, it will sell for $15 + shipping, but you can get it for $9+ by placing an advance discount order at the MSR Online Bookstore before it goes to press. Here’s a link directly to my author’s page, and below that, a link to a video of yours truly describing the book briefly and reading a couple of poems from it:




 

And... we're still looking for guest housing for our program poets, so let me know if you can help! 


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.


The winner of the March contest: "The Hospice Clock," by James Myers of Oconee County!


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


This brief poem is a marvelous capture of the heightened tension at the last stage of a loved one's life ... or of one's own. Bravo.


The Hospice Clock


Three callous lacquered scythes,

Reap heartless on the hospice clock--

The pit versus the pendulum--

My ticks shred into tocks.


(Congratulations, James!)


This month's prompt is "heavenly sounds" or some derivative of that idea.  Alternatives  could be "spring" or "April." 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, which is actually going to be in your mailbox again in the latter part of April. 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. 


Send the poems to everycornereverycounty@gmail.com, and let me know which county you are in! 


May we all live "amid heavenly sounds,/ amid childish drums,/ amid suspended globes of lightning,"


Tamara


 

Copyright © 2023 The Poetry Society of South Carolina, All rights reserved.


Photo credit: unknown

Editor: Tamara Miles


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Charleston, SC 29402


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