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I Did it My Way


A Letter from the President

I wake up most mornings with a random song in my head. Sometimes it is relevant to what is happening that day, sometimes it reflects my mood, and, more often than not, it seems to be just a random song. This morning I woke up with the iconic Frank Sinatra song “My Way” stuck in my mind’s jukebox. As I sit down to write this, the last “Letter from the President” of my term at the helm of the oldest state poetry society in the country, it occurs to me that this is the perfect song for the occasion. Not only is it my final curtain, but it I really did run things my way over the last three years. For many of you, I am the only president of the PSSC you have ever known. I have stayed in touch with you through these Newsletters, and many of you have stayed in touch with me through email. I have enjoyed it; this job has enriched my life. My successor, Tamara Miles, begins her term on July 1. I think you’re going to love her, even if you got used to the way I do things. Tamara’s upcoming presidency is historic: of the 38 individuals who have been president over the last 102 years of the Society’s existence, she is the first one who does not live in the Charleston metro area; she lives in Elgin, South Carolina, northeast of Columbia. While purporting ourselves to be a state poetry society, we have in fact done very little for areas that are outside of Charleston. Part of that is because our membership was concentrated in Charleston with no critical mass of membership in any other city in the state. But part of that was inertia and lack of will for really working at building the membership around South Carolina. Tamara is a dreamer and a doer, which is exactly what the PSSC needs at this time. She has turned out to be a very interested in the rich history of our organization [see her series of videos on the early years here], but by studying the past she has realized that the PSSC has been forever changing with the personalities, visions, and initiatives of the volunteers who have run it since 1920. In short, the Poetry Society can be anything we want it to be. I believe Tamara will turn out to be a major innovator for the PSSC. For any of you who have given up on the idea that you will ever see a time when interesting readings and workshops will be available to you in your city, the way they are in Charleston, you are going to be witness to a new era of the Poetry Society. I hope that many of you will also want to play a role in the change that is to come. We will need volunteers to help with this; Tamara cannot do it by herself. If you are interested in being on a committee or helping her in a small or large way, contact Tamara directly at tamaramilessc@gmail.com. As for me, I’m signing off and looking forward to keeping the books for the PSSC for the foreseeable future. I'll leave you with a bit of "My Way:" Regrets, I've had a few But then again too few to mention I did what I had to do I saw it through without exemption I planned each charted course Each careful step along the byway And more, much, much more I did it my way Jim Lundy Immediate Past President starting 7/1/2022

 

The first Poetry Trails was held at Cypress Gardens in conjunction with their Poetry Walk. Cypress Gardens displayed the poems in the Camellia Garden areas and paths. The Poetry Society had several members who submitted a poem for the Poetry Walk including but not in any particular order Jonathan Sanchez, Yvette Murray, Charles Watts, Tina Baumis, Evelyn Berry, Traci Neal, & Lisa Hase-Jackson.The Poetry Trails participants walked together reading the poems and sharing personal ones with one another. We included a historical PSSC poem from a yearbook to be our final poem of the trail. Our next Poetry Trails event tentatively scheduled for June 25th at Congaree National Park at 10 am. Hope to see you soon on the trails!

 

Sundown Poetry Series


After some confusion about the true starting time of the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series, the official start time of each reading has now been definitively established. These readings begin at 6:00 pm and last 45 minutes. The previous Sundown update that was sent out on the 27th erroneously had the start time as 6:30. The location is the courtyard of the Gibbes Museum, 135 Meeting St., Charleston 29401. In the event of rain, the reading will take place inside the museum, so the readings take place rain or shine. Please also note that the reader on June 3 is now Gary Jackson.

 

May 31: Laurel Blossom

6:00 pm


Prize-winning poet Laurel Blossom's latest book, a chapbook entitled Un-, has just been published (March, 2020) by Finishing Line Press. Formerly a resident of South Carolina, she now makes Los Angeles her home.


 

June 1: Ed Gold

6:00 pm


Ed Gold is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and taught for many years at the University of Maryland. He has one chapbook, Owl, and poems in the Ekphrastic Review, Petigrue Review, New Verse News, Think, New York Quarterly, Kakalak, and others. For many years he served on the board of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, and continues to run the Skylark Prize for the PSSC. He lives in Charleston with is wife Amy and their dog Edie.

 

June 2: Lisa Hase-Jackson

6:00 pm


Short Bio: Lisa Hase-Jackson is author of Flint and Fire, (The Word Works, 2019)She holds an MFA in poetry from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a MA in English from Kansas State University. A full-time writer and Writing Coach, Lisa is Editor in Chief of South 85 Journal and founding editor of Zingara Poetry Review.

 

June 3: Gary Jackson 6:00 pm

Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Gary Jackson is the author of origin story (University of New Mexico, 2021) and Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf, 2010), which received the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He’s also co-editor of The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry (Blair, 2021). His poems have appeared in numerous journals including Callaloo, The Sun, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Copper Nickel. He’s an associate professor of English and creative writing in the MFA program and Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

June 7: Chrys Tobey

6:00 pm


Chrys Tobey is a queer poet and writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including the minnesota review, Rattle, New Ohio Review, Ploughshares, Smartish Pace and The Cincinnati Review. Her poetry has also been nominated for the Pushcart, Best of the Net, and featured in Verse Daily. Her first book of poetry, A Woman is a Woman is a Woman is a Woman, was published in 2017 from Steel Toe Books. Chrys lives in Portland, Oregon, with her Canis familiaris and imaginary goat.

 

June 8: Richard Garcia

6:00 pm


Poet and writer Richard Garcia was born in San Francisco and started writing in his teenage years. Since then, he has authored various books of poetry, including The Flying Garcias (1991), Rancho Notorious (2001), and The Persistence of Objects (2006). Garcia’s most recent work is a chapbook of prose poems entitled Chickenhead (2009). The recipient of many prizes and awards, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Cohen Award from Ploughshares, a Pushcart Prize, and the Georgetown Review Poetry Prize, Garcia’s poems have also appeared in Crazyhorse, Best American Poetry and various anthologies. A former instructor at the College of Charleston, Garcia has also taught creative writing in the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA Program.

 

June 9: Yvette R. Murray

6:00 pm


Yvette R. Murray received her B.A. in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been published in Fall Lines, The Petigru Review,Catfish Stew, GenesisScience Fiction magazines and online. Presently, she is working on her first collection of poetry and a children’s book series. She serves on the board of the Poetry Society of South Carolina.

 

June 10: Lawrence Rhu

6:00 pm Lawrence Rhu, Todd Professor of the Italian Renaissance emeritus at University of South Carolina, has published books and essays about the American and European Renaissances. He received the Faulkner-Wisdom single poem award for “Reading Romance with a Lady Killer,” and his collection, Pre-owned Odyssey and Rented Rooms, was runner-up for the Marble Faun Award from the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. His poems have appeared in Poetry, NDQ, Innisfree, Two Rivers, Dark Horse, Pinesong, PSSC Yearbook, Fall/lines, Quorum, etc.

 

Eugene Platt

Reading June 2, 6:00 pm

Charleston County Public Library main branch

68 Calhoun St., Charleston 29401

Eugene Platt, a native Charlestonian, longtime member of the PSSC, and widely published poet, will give a 50-minute reading of his work. He will read poems included in his 2020 collection Nuda Veritas (available for borrowing at CCPL) as well as several occasioned by the startling results of a DNA test taken in 2021. After serving in the Army, he earned degrees at the University of South Carolina and Clarion University of Pennsylvania as well as a Diploma in Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin. He lives in Charleston with his wife Judith, corgi Bess, and cats Finnegan and Maeve. See full details here.

 

Members in the News

For the current exhibition at Columbia Museum of Art, Rodin: Contemplation in Dreams, host Ray McManus returned to talk with CMA's Curator of Education, Glenna Barlow, before hitting the galleries to check out the new museum touch tours. After the break Ray is joined by poet Ann Chadwell-Humphries to talk about her process, inspiration, and senses as she navigates the world as a person with a visual disability. Listen on Apple Podcasts:https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cmas-binder-podcast/id1579561857?i=1000559458122


Eugene Platt's poem "The Light of Life" has been re-printed in Carolina Grace (an occasional publication of Grace Church Cathedral).

Eugene Platt has six poems appearing in A New Ulster, a journal based in Northern Ireland. Two of the poems are re-printed from his book Nuda Veritas. A New Ulster 114 by Amos Greig - Issuu

Gilbert Allen's "Driving to the Blackberry Valley Transfer Station on Inauguration Day" was featured on the South 85 blog on April 19: http://www.south85journal.com/2022/04/driving-to-the-blackberry-valley-transfer-station-on-inauguration-day/ . His "Burgerdammerung" appears in the new issue of Light: https://lightpoetrymagazine.com/gilbert-allen-winter-22/ . You can hear him read another snarky little poem on the Smartish Pace website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjX54uLxkoE . Mary O'Keefe Brady's poem, "Dog Days of Truth" has been accepted for publication by Redheaded Stepchild and will appear in their next issue. Evelyn Berry is performing alongside Cory Stegelin & Jammie Huynh at the Pride Poetry event on June 2nd at 7pm. The reading will take place at Commonhouse Aleworks in North Charleston, SC and will be followed by a brief open mic. Find more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/3066625496888087 Evelyn Berry's poem "the first time my nipples" was published in Powders Press, a UK-based literary journal for LGBTQ+ writers. Her visual poem "david holding goliath's head" appeared in Litro Magazine, an experimental poetry project. An interview with Evelyn Berry was featured on the Confessions of a Working Writer Podcast in mid-May. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/allowing-yourself-room-to-create-with-evelyn-berry/id1465174533?i=1000561556585


All the best-dressed people will be wearing PSSC t-shirts and hoodies this summer, and cooling down with ice-cold drinks from their PSSC insulated mugs. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Poetry Society. You can look sporty and support the important work of the Poetry Society with each purchase. Click here to visit the website.


 

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 May Poetry Prompt Contest asked you to write a poem or piece of flash fiction on goodbyes, endings, and beginnings. This proved to be very unpopular, or, perhaps, perhaps everybody is thinking about their summer plans already. We had only two entries: Eugene Platt's "Slaughter of the Innocents," and Ellen Jenks sent her poem "The Memory Files."


The winner was "The Memory Files," which is included below.


The Prompt Contest will take a hiatus until further notice.


 

The Memory Files

By Ellen Jenks


She wasn't there when he died.

She only heard of it; she never cried.

She went instead to the vault

where she had stored

Thousands of files of memories

And found at last the drawer

Containing the memories of him

Far up on the top tier---

But she could not get in.

Then she saw a message appear:


"Why would you even want to open me?

Don't you recall? You threw away the key

And left these memories behind.

DO NOT OPEN

This is the file where you stored

Only folders that contain

Tears, fears and pain.

The tears that here you have cried

By better memories

Have long since been dried."


She turned, and visited instead the files

Of other, more recent happier times----

And, oh, the difference that is making

To her continued peace of mind!


 

Copyright © 2022 The Poetry Society of South Carolina, All rights reserved.


Photo credit: unknown

Editor: Jim Lundy


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