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"I'll Catch Your Shadow Soon"

Updated: Mar 6

A Letter from the President

Hello, folks. It's February: a time for hearts and histories and our reading with Maya Marshall (opening reader, Richard Allen Taylor). More information and Zoom links for those who can't attend in person are provided just under the gold "Membership Renewal" area below.

It's the month of love. We should have a date at Nickelodeon, which is featuring Black History Month and a Jewish Film Festival. 

Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first influential Black poets in American literature, offers an "Invitation to Love"

Come to my heart and bring it to rest 

As the bird flies home to its welcome nest. 

Come when my heart is full of grief 

Or when my heart is merry; 

Come with the falling of the leaf 

Or with the redd’ning cherry. 

I'm remembering my friend Judih this morning. Judih Weinstein Haggai, lover of singing bowls, peace, and poetry; Haiku writer, fellow contributor to The Cenacle, published by Raymond Soulard. Judih, whose story lives on in the memories of those who cherished her.

My beautiful friend was murdered by Hamas, along with her husband, while out for their regular morning walk near their kibbutz called Nir Oz. But she still walks with us in her poems.

wait for me, i'll catch your shadow soonin friendship and in parting

I've started this letter on a sad note, but with a reminder that what we write has long-lasting power to bring us back to our loved ones, friends, and descendants. Our words could make us alive to strangers. More importantly, we can help others be remembered by writing about them and sharing their work. Shakespeare said it in his famous Sonnet 18: "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Speaking of sonnets, I have a word about one of our board members, (our grants coordinator), Ashley Crout, who is teaching a course in poetry forms at Furman. Ashley has written a hundred sonnets, some of which have been published in Eunoia Review, including "Foreign Wars," which speaks deeply to me today. I hope we see them soon in a published collection. As someone who has read several of them, I can vouch that they are superb, and they are unique in that they are unrhymed. A hundred years from now, people may be talking about the Croutian Sonnet.

What form or un-form are you putting your name and style on? 

If anyone has a style uniquely her own, it's our newly elected vice president, Glenis Redmond. I'll come back around to Glenis in the month's review of activities, but I can tell you that we are charged up and ready to support our program coordinator Jessy Hylton's exciting plan for our main programs in the 2024-2025 season. And... we now have Loli Molina Munoz officially on board as Recording Secretary. 

As I mentioned last month, it is your membership fees that keep us strong, and now is the right time to renew because there are thirteen more days left to submit to the Spring Contests! We also always appreciate your donations to this year's budget. If we have more, we can do more! 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:, and to Charles Watts if you have questions about the contests:

Now I'll show you what January looked like for all things Poetry Society, filming backward as I often do.

Have I told you that about once a week, I meet with our Columbia outreach coordinator, Al Black, for coffee at the Starbucks on Garners Ferry Road in Columbia? Feel free to join us anytime. Typically, it's a Tuesday around 7:30 a.m. We share the latest in what's happening in poetry around the state, much of which he tells me because he's involved in a lot of it. Sometimes he looks at me in complete bewilderment -- for example, when I was talking in hipster slang after having read and studied Straight from the Fridge, Dad on the four planes I took going to Denver and back.

 "Let me pad your skull," I said.

We met onJanuary 30and tried to write a haiku sonnet on the spot together. We didn't get the couplets right -- should be seven syllables in each line, and we had eight. But it was so fun to collaborate.

In March, we will celebrate Al's1,000th poetry event-- and I mean 1,000 events that HE has hosted. This is huge, and I'm hoping to gather as many people as I can to honor this incredible accomplishment. One celebration will be at Cool Beans Coffee in Columbia, the space in which Al has hosted Mind Gravy every Wednesday night for years.

I'll tell you the details on Facebook, on the website, and in the March newsletter. If you can't attend, I'd love it if you would write him a note of congratulations and either e-mail it to him or send it to me. I'll be happy to collect them at

"Gentle up my drink. We can both get our eyes wet."

On January 27, we had another fabulous Poetry Trails event at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter County. This adds another county to my growing list of visited counties in the Every Corner, Every County initiative! Thanks so much to Board Member at Large, Tina Baumis, who created and helps organize every event. This time, she provided us with adorable Poetry Trails buttons. It was wonderful to have our new member Cici with us, and another community member who just walked up to hear Danny's music and then shared his images of baby swans.

"We had a rad brainstorming sesh."

"Peel your ears."

On January 20, we hosted the first Poets on Stage event at Good Life Cafe in Columbia. Charles Watts, Fran Cardwell, and Loli Molina

Munoz were our first trio of poets seated on stage in cozy chairs, interacting with stories, memories, poems, and shared experiences. Then we had an Open Mic, and it was wonderful to see both familiar and new faces at the mic. David Lemieux and Danny Sciortino were a huge help to me setting everything up, and I played a little bit on the keyboard. Since then, Danny's given me a serious upgrade of keyboard, and I'll be doing a bit more experimental music. And Danny entertained us with his guitar. There was a big turnout -- Good Life said it's the biggest poetry turnout they've had! Exciting. And it will get better as we learn the ropes of carrying this off as an interactive performance.

Fabulous night -- and we've got another one coming up on February 17! 6 p.m. Join us!

On January 12, we had our traditional Members' Open Mic at Gage Hall, hosted by our treasurer, Jim Lundy. Here are some of our poets bringing their best:

A meeting of the minds with Glenis Redmond, Amy Randall  (Greenville Outreach Coordinator), and Ashley Crout. Fabulous brunch and meaningful conversation. We dreamed and schemed for Every Corner, Every County. Plus, I got to visit Ashley and see a big poster with her poem on it as well as the world-famous dog poet Stella, immortalized in the painting.

And that's a quick wrap-up of January! Now for my regular reminders and requests.

"Know your groceries."

Please join us for the PSSC Writers' Group at

the third Saturday of each month,

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


Maya Marshall with Richard Allen Taylor

February 23, 2024

7:00 P.M EST

Charleston Library Society

164 King St.

Charleston, SC 29401

 Please note change in date from our normal 2nd-Friday schedule

    Maya Marshall is a poet, essayist, and scholar. She is the author of the debut full-length poetry collection All the Blood Involved in Love (2022) and the chapbook Secondhand (2016). She is a cofounder of underbelly, the journal on the practical magic of poetic revision.   

Marshall, an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Adelphi University, has taught at Emory University and Northwestern University. She holds fellowships from MacDowell, Cave Canem, Vermont Studio Center and elsewhere. Her writing has been published in Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. She works as an editor for Haymarket Books

     Marshall was raised in Texas and Georgia, earned her MFA from the University of South Carolina, and made a home in Chicago for nearly twenty years. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    Richard Allen Taylor has authored one poetry chapbook and three full-length collections, all published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. His most recent, Letters to Karen Carpenter and Other Poems (September, 2023) combines poems about the life, death, and career of the famed singer with poems of grief, gratitude, and recovery following the death of Taylor’s wife, who succumbed to leukemia in 2019. 

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:

 Workshop 2/24/24. Charleston Library Society, 10:00-noon. Also live Zoomed (see link below)

"Inviting Wonder: Approaching the Familiar from the Opposite Side"

In this 90-minute generative workshop we will read and discuss poems that bend our understanding of composition. Then we’ll begin to write our own using a diction and image exercise that may spark for you a new way to see the practice of making poems.

To join us for the workshop on 2/24, simply click this link: 

 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.

February 23 and 24, 2024: Maya Marshall with Richard A. Taylor

March 8 and 9, 2024: Angelo Geter with Miho Kinnas

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

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 Jessy Hylton, current Program Chair, for organizing our Opening Readers! 


Events Around the State

 Jessica K. Hylton  will read for the 2024 Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series on February 15 at 10:00 a.m. Her reading will be followed by an open mic, so bring a poem. This takes place at Waccamaw Library, 41 St. Paul Place, Pawleys Island 29585. It is free and open to the public. 

The Poetry Society's Spring Contests submission period is open until February 15. For a list of prizes and details for submitting click here: Contests.

PSSC member Miho Kinnas and Natasha Akery will lead a workshop, "Linked Poetry: Traditional and New Approaches," at the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort on February 19, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. For full details on this and other events by this organization, click on this link: Pat Conroy Center.

The Poetry Society welcomes Maya Marshall and Richard Allen Taylor for our official meeting on Friday 2/23/24. See the full details in this Newsletter above. Watch on Zoom live with this link: Zoom Reading.

Workshop by Maya Marshall 2/24/24. "Inviting Wonder: Approaching the Familiar from the Opposite Side." See full description in newsletter above. Charleston Library Society, 10:00-noon. Also live Zoomed using this link: Workshop.

The South Carolina Academy of Authors is accepting submissions for prizes in poetry, short fiction, and fiction until February 29. Their Boatwright Coker Fellowship in Poetry prize awards $1,250. There is also a student prize in poetry. Submissions are being handled on the Hub City Submittable page which can be accessed with this link: Hub City.

from Randy Spencer, an invitation to submit:

As Poetry Editor of Chapin Magazine, I'm 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 my email, Recently I've published Debbie Daniel, Susan Craig, and Cindi Boiter. 

and from Kim Blum Hyclak, an invitation to submit:

Our next Poetry Trails is at Kellahan Park in Kingstree, SC on March 23, 2024.

To keep up with Glenis Redmond's poetry news, please sign up for her newsletter at

Join Evelyn Berry for a workshop:

Al Black's Mind Gravy presents The Bard of Cedar Creek, Jane Zenger, and Camden's Own Doc Snow (Kevin McKinney), Wednesday, February 7, 7-9 p.m.


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

Tina Baumis was the featured reader for the Funky Fish Camp Reading Series in Georgetown, SC on January 30. 

Elizabeth Robin was the featured reader for the Island Writers' Network Reading Series in Hilton Head Island, SC on January 30. These are held the last Tuesday of every month at Tio's in Shelter Cove.

Al Black features Jesus Redondo Menendez in the current Poetry of the People.


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 January contest: "Unsurvivable," by Jim Lundy.

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

"This poem is rich in vivid imagery and subtle in its reference to the prompt, while at the same time fully encompassing the prompt's broader implications."




They say no animal that spends most of its time in

the treetops can be housetrained – monkeys, birds,

squirrels – too many eons of devil-may-care

defecation have woven into their DNA – and

laboring for weeks on a ladder at a height known to

be unsurvivable in terms of a fall, I am feeling my

simian roots, letting gravity remove rotted boards,

rusted nails, and snowstorms of paint chips from

my sight as I prepare a three story house for

painting, feeling only the freedom of life in the

jungle’s canopy.


From this height I can see that the world is a sad,

sad surface.  This is something we apes learn.  My

carbide scraper survives the fall, gently and

beautifully turning end over end on its way down,

but does not survive the impact with the ground,

where it shatters.  The earth is where things go to

die, where ashes are scattered, and graves are dug. 

Only living things can resist gravity, can watch

other creatures from overhead the way I watch cars

drive past and carriage tours clomp by.    


Today I’m writing a poem in my head as I brush

thick, white primer onto new boards – my tabula

rasa that will be someone else’s snowstorm of paint

chips someday, on a future generation’s board that

will splinter to pieces when it hits the pavement

below.  But right now I’m in heaven – or forty feet

closer to it – far above the pavement and far away

from the future, claiming my primate heritage,

pitying the creatures that must crawl the earth.

(Congratulations, Jim!)

This month's prompt, in keeping with the theme of this newsletter, is "shadow." Alternatives could be "love" or "history" or some combination. 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 March.

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

"Plant you now and dig you later,"




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

Photo credit: unknown

Editor: Tamara Miles

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The Poetry Society of South Carolina

P.O. Box 1090

Charleston, SC 29402

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