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I Take My Poetry To Go

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Hello, poets and poetry lovers of South Carolina. The first month of my service as president has been exciting! You've been gracious with your invitations and ideas. I've already managed to visit several counties, meeting librarians, poets, and even one winery owner who has a fantastic venue for poetry and music. Several people have expressed interest in joining my travels, including Anne Chadwell-Humphries and Libby Bernardin, and I'll be reporting on those collaborations as we move along. Libby hosted me at her beautiful home in Georgetown, where we gathered with her brilliant Phil, Susan Finch-Stevens, Marlanda Dekine, and Linda Ketron, and enjoyed a "poetry in the round." I've also been meeting people via messages to our website and burning up social media. It was great to chat with new member Sandra Bergman (we're planning a lunch visit in Charleston, so join us!). I also like looking over the guest list for our upcoming readings; people have started checking in for Melissa Crowe's reading and seminar (September 9 -- see below) and for Jaki Shelton Green's events in November! In my July newsletter, I mentioned that musician Lang Owen wants to join our Every Corner, Every County project by coming along when he can, guitar in hand. We're thinking libraries will be important hosts for us. For instance, the Fort Mill branch of the York County Libraries has expressed interest, along with other county libraries including Edgefield and Aiken. Even when I was traveling on days that libraries were closed, I left a book and card. Every little touch can strike a spark, and that's what I'm counting on. New member Lee McEachern traveled with me over to Greenwood and Newberry Counties, where we dropped by the Ninety-Six Library and the Greenwood County Library. I want to post photos and videos, but I haven't gotten the hang of this platform yet, and I keep having to ask Jim Lundy for help, so look for a portfolio/photoessay and diary at some point. What an adventure I'm having! Adventure is a jasmine vine, Curling up an ancient wall. In seasons of prosperity, She blooms and brags her beauty, Saying here — look at my flowers. (Abby Druckenmiller, USC Student) We have a little haitus from the Poetry Trails events just because of my crazy schedule, but we will be having one at Sesquicentennial Park soon. The two we've had -- at Cypress Gardens and at Congaree National Park, were exceptional. Thank you, Tina Baumis, for getting it all started. At the next one, friends, Danny Sciortino is going to give away a guitar! We'll either have a poetry contest or a drawing. So generous, Danny! At the new office in Columbia at Jubilee Circle (a Center for Spirituality and the Arts), I've been honored by visits from former board member Curtis Derrick, who offered tremendous help with grant funding, and Arthur Turfa from the SC Writers Association as well as PSSC member Fran Cardwell. Fran, Danielle Verwers and her daughter, William Epes, and Al Black have taken part in The Curious Poets of Columbia, who gather at Curiosity Coffee Bar on Tuesday mornings at 8 a.m. Once recent prompt: "The City." The PSSC 2022 Yearbook has been mailed to all members of the 2021-2022 calendar year, so you should be receiving that shortly! (Thank you, Jim Lundy, for putting it together brilliantly, and to Eugene Platt, for editing and proofreading). Jim has also provided the Member Spotlight for this month:

Member Spotlight: Jerri Chaplin

Longtime PSSC member Jerri Chaplin has deep roots in Charleston. Her great grandfather immigrated to Charleston from Poland in the aftermath of the Civil War to open a store at 416 King St. Jerri’s parents were living in New Jersey leading up to her birth, but they had agreed—at her mother’s insistence—that the child must be born in Charleston when the time came so she could be considered a "true" Charlestonian. They made it to Charleston in time, and Jerri was born downtown at Roper Hospital. She spent the first five weeks of her life in Charleston but grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1995, she and her husband, Peter, moved to Charleston. Knowing only relatives in the city, Jerri decided to follow her passions to make like-minded friends. One night, she met Lee Robinson and Marjory Wentworth at a party and found out about the Poetry Society of South Carolina through them. Within the PSSC, she found an instant community of friends. She began to give poetry therapy sessions in 1996, earning her final certification in 2001. She has given two readings for the Sundown Poetry Series of Piccolo Spoleto and has three books of poetry in print: Pictures of Change (2010), Vertically Coastal (2011), and Third Person Singular (2022). Jerri and her husband Peter spend half of every year in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts and half in Charleston. They have two sons and two grandsons. She belongs to the International Academy of Poetry Therapy and spends her time writing and taking dance classes—at least one, but sometimes two a day. Jerri has been a member of the Poetry Society for 27 years.

It's time for the annual membership renewal! Please contact Jim Lundy at if you have questions.

You can renew online at the PSSC website. Thank you!As I write this, I'm in St. Joseph, Missouri with my father, where we've met some of his biological family for the first time -- he was adopted in 1942. He has a family again now at 80 years old. It's never too late.

You are my poetry family.

See you in September,

Tamara Miles



2022-2023 Program For those who are new: the Poetry Society's official calendar runs from September to May. The traditional program of readings for this year is provided below. Scroll down for more information on individual poets and visit the PSSC website for greater detail and to RSVP. The events are the second Friday of the month and the Saturday that follows it. Each poet presents a reading and seminar. With the exception of March, all events will take place at the Charleston Library Society. Jill McDonough will give her reading and seminar at Gage Hall. September 2022: Melissa Crowe October 2022: Han VanderHart November 2022: Jaki Shelton Green December 2022: Holiday Party January 2023: Member's Open Mic February 2023: Tarfia Faizullah March 2023: Jill McDonough April 2023: Yalie Saweda May 2023: Glenis Redmond

September 9 and 10: Melissa Crowe

Reading, 7:00 pm, Friday

Seminar, 10:00 am, Saturday

Melissa Crowe is the author of Dear Terror, Dear Splendor (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). Her work has appeared recently in Four Way Review, New England Review, Poetry, and Poetry Northwest, and she was the 2021 winner of the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She coordinates the MFA program at UNCW, where she teaches poetry and publishing.


October 14 and 15: Han VanderHart

Reading, 7:00 p.m., Friday

Seminar, 10:00 a.m., Saturday

Han VanderHart is a genderqueer Southern writer living in Durham, North Carolina. In 2019, Han received their PhD in English from Duke University and defended the dissertation Gender and Collaboration in Seventeenth-Century English Poetry.They have poetry and essays published in The Boston Globe, Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, The Rumpus, AGNI and elsewhere.


November 11 and 12: Jaki Shelton Green

Reading, Friday 7 p.m.

Seminar, Saturday 10 a.m.

Jaki Shelton Green, ninth Poet Laureate of North Carolina appointed in 2018, is the first African American and third woman to be appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate and reappointed in 2021 for a second term by Governor Roy Cooper. She is a 2019 Academy of American Poet Laureate Fellow, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate appointment, 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature.


February 10 and 11: Tarfia Faizullah Reading, Friday, 7 pm Seminar, Saturday, 10 am

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (Graywolf, 2018) and SEAM (SIU, 2014). Tarfia’s writing appears widely in the U.S. and abroad in the Daily Star, Hindu Business Line, BuzzFeed, PBS News Hour, Huffington Post, Poetry Magazine, and many more.


March 10 and 11: Jill McDonough

Reading, Friday, 7 pm

Seminar, Saturday, 10 am

Three-time Pushcart prize winner Jill McDonough is the recipient of Lannan, NEA, Cullman Center, and Stegner fellowships. Her most recent book is Here All Night (Alice James, 2019). She teaches in the MFA program at UMass-Boston and offers College Reading and Writing in Boston jails. Please note that this reading and seminar will be held at Gage Hall (the Unitarian Church in Charleston), 4 Archdale Street.


April 14 and 15: Yalie Saweda Kamara

Reading, Friday, 7 pm

Seminar, Saturday, 10 am

Yalie Saweda Kamara is a Sierra Leonean-American writer, educator, and researcher from Oakland, California. Selected as the 2022-2023 Cincinnati and Mercantile Library Poet Laureate (2-year term), she is the author of A Brief Biography of My Name (2018) and When the Living Sing (2017).


May 12 and 13: Glennis Redmond

Reading, Friday 7 pm

Seminar, Saturday 10 am

Glenis Redmond is a performance poet, a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, and a Cave Canem alumni. She is the author of three books of poetry: Backbone (Underground Epics, 2000), Under the Sun (Main Street Rag, 2002), and What My Hand Say (Press 53, 2016). She will have three more books published in 2022: Listening Skin (Four Way Books), Three Harriets & Others (Finishing Line Press), and Praise Songs for Dave the Potter, Art by Jonathan Green, and Poetry by Glenis Redmond (University of Georgia Press). She is presently working on a seventh collection, Port Cities: Portals of the Second (Domestic) Middle Passage.


Members in the News

Libby Bernardin will be giving readings when her new book House in Need of Mooring comes out in late September or early October. If any are near you, I hope you will attend.

October 2 Buxton Books Charleston 4pm October 11 Movable Feast at Café Piccolo 11am Pawleys Island November 10 Stormwater Studios Columbia 5.30pm November 15 Pat Conroy Studio Beaufort 5:00pm Her book will be available to purchase at these venues and by order at Press Charles Watt has had two poems published in The Welch mag "Seventh Quarry" -- "Lonely Road" and "When I Grow" -- (but please note that by mistake he has been relocated to England!) Janet Kozachek has an exhibition, poetry reading and book signing coming soon to Stormwater Studios. The event is scheduled for September 20 - 25 in Columbia and I've linked to it here: Janet Kozachek – Stormwater Studios Numerous members are featured in the recent edition of Kakalak:


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 Prompt Contest will take a hiatus until further notice. Stay tuned.


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

Photo credit: unknown

Editor: Tamara Miles

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