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In the Spirit of Questioning

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

A Letter from the President

Hello again, South Carolina poets and poetry lovers --- and also those folks who have joined us from around the world. I've been reading a book by Warren Berger called A More Beautiful Question. The basic concept is that we would all benefit from being more curious, from asking more questions. Questions allow us to consider evidence, viewpoint, connection, conjecture and relevance. For example, we might ask, "What is poetry for?" or "How is poetry changing?" or (your question here, please?). I've been asking, "What if we tried to make poetry accessible to more people?" and "How can we best carry out our mission and vision at the Poetry Society of South Carolina?" Our vision: Every Corner, Every County. I've updated the mobile app with an Event Carousel, Blog Carousel, and Gallery, so if this is something you'd like to use, you can join at the website. Look under "Recent Readings" for an easy sign-up via Spaces by WIX. Also, please note our new QR code, provided by board member Danielle Verwers, which will take visitors to the membership page. You can help grow our membership by saving the image below and sharing.

As we continue to build the Poetry Society of the next hundred years, we're considering non-traditional venues and ways of gathering for poetry. On a recent trip to Newberry County, I visited the Enoree Winery, which has a remarkable space indoors and outdoors for music and open mics. I was full of dreams and visions for a poetry and music event and enjoyed talking with the owner about possibilities, planting a seed of an idea.

We've been having fun with our Poetry Trails events as well. On September 17, we'll be at Sesquicentennial State Park, sharing poems and snacks and walking in the woods. We've got a poetry contest going for that event and will give away a guitar, generously donated by Danny Sciortino -- so please get your nature/music poems into me at, and I'll tuck them away for a judge to read. At our recent board meeting, Poetry Trails organizer Tina Baumis reflected on the special June event:

"On June 25th, we joined the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park’s Dunbar 150 project sharing Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poetry while we were hiking and sharing music at Congaree. The tandem PSSC event with two National Parks will be archived as one of the Dunbar 150 projects. Official Dunbar 150 National Park passport cancellation stamps were given to the guests and members in attendance as Tina secured those in person from park ranger Angela Stewart from the Dayton Ohio site. Park ranger Kari Sinclair at Congaree invited the PSSC to a future arts event to be held at Congaree. Ranger Stewart offered to provide a zoom meeting and/or meeting with the PSSC to share Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poems and history." As you can see, these are memorable experiences that are helping to build relationships. Join us on September 17!

In late July and early August, I was traveling a lot for work and vacation, so the weekday morning Curious Poets gatherings were postponed, and we haven't been able to pick them back up yet due to my intense teaching schedule this fall. Maybe soon we can get it going again.

September is going to be busy; on Saturday the 3rd, I'm heading to Greenville to work with board member Ashley Crout on getting grants to support our grand ideas and goals. For the solstice, I'm reading at the McClellanville Arts Center with artist/poet Jack Tracey, and I've been graciously invited by the St. James-Santee Episcopal Church to stay at the Morrison House. The following day, I'll be at The Center for Lifelong Learning in Aiken for a book fair, talking up the PSSC and sharing stories from Jim Lundy's History of its first hundred years. The link here is an audio recording I made of the first eight pages of the book. On the 25th, I'll be joining member Janet Kozachek at Stormwater Studios for her art exhibit and accompanying events and will again have a chance to share the past and present of the Society. Al Black will be hosting an ekphrastic reading with poets from Mind Gravy. In between, I'm sure I'll be filling the days with other poetry adventures.

By now you've all received your PSSC 2022 Yearbook, and isn't it gorgeous? The opening poem by Beth... the extravagance of pears... the art of being fruitful in more than one way... so poignant.

I also want to thank you your RSVP's to our upcoming program, which begins September 9! Keep them coming at the website. It helps us plan. Much gratitude goes to our Program Chair, Danielle DeTiberus. She works hard all year to coordinate with poets, organize housing, and advertise events.

I love getting your e-mails and other forms of correspondence. This week I've heard from Columbia's Poet Laureate, Ed Madden, who has some special requests for poetry including the bus poetry project (Poems on the Comet), Poetry Prescriptions, What We Wore and When We Wore It, Haircuts, Gender Identity, and On the Menu. The call for each of these projects is provided in detail in the "Members in the News" section of this newsletter, so please take a look and submit soon -- he needs some of these right away! (By the way, Tina Baumis has been one of the featured Poems on the Comet poets in the past with her poem "Crunch Time" and tells me it's a lot of fun to participate.) Now, our member feature for September, provided by Jim Lundy:

Member Spotlight: Ann Herlong-Bodman

Ann Herlong-Bodman came to poetry later in life than most people. A native South Carolinian, she attended Columbia College and earned a master’s degree from USC. She taught at USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and then at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. As she puts it, “I have always worked with words.”

From 1987 to 1989 she lived on a boat with her husband in Charleston while she worked for the National Writing Project. It was then she made a strong connection to the Civil War and its aftermath, which “came alive” to her from the stories of African American teachers with whom she worked. This was the inspiration for her 2004 novel, Voices Over Water, the story of a woman of the elite planter class who risks her life to start a school for freed slaves.

At the end of the Cold War, once the Wall came down in 1989, the U.S. State Department was looking for educators to send to Eastern Europe. She took leave from Lander U. and ended up in Czechoslovakia for a memorable assignment instructing new teachers of English as a second language.

After retirement and the loss of her first husband, she decided to move to Charleston, where she remarried in 1994 to Bob Herlong, a retired engineer, who had also lost his spouse. They remained happily married until he passed away in December 2018 at the age of ninety.

Ann became interested in poetry after her novel was behind her. She was made aware of the Poetry Society of South Carolina in 2006 and was convinced to serve on the board by then-president Susan Meyers, and remained on the board for four years. She became active in the PSSC’s Writers’ Group to perfect her craft and since then has published three chapbooks and a poetry travelogue, Loose in Far-away Places. Ann is also an outstanding reader of her own work and has made appearances before the Poetry Society, the Sundown Poetry Series of Piccolo Spoleto, Free Verse, and Monday Night Poetry & Music. She has recently formed a writers’ critique group in the requirement community where she lives in Mt. Pleasant. In October, she will celebrate her ninety-first birthday and is as active as ever in writing.

You can read Ann's poem "Found in Translation" here in the Cortland Review. She describes the difficulties of verbal communication between people who are speaking different languages, but also the warmth of other ways of communicating: through shelter, food, and efforts to understand as we keep company and learn one word at a time. When we are learning, we need to ask a lot of questions.

In the spirit of questioning,

Tamara Miles



September 9 and 10: Melissa Crowe

Reading, 7:00 pm, Friday

Seminar, 10:00 am, Saturday

Free and Open to the Public

Location: Charleston Library Society, 164 King St., Charleston, SC 29401

A reception and book signing follows the reading.

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. You can save and share the image below, and it would help us pack the room for this wonderful poet. Thank you.

Simple directions to join on the night of the meeting: click on this link: Melissa Crowe ************************************** Detailed information on the meeting is as follows: Topic: Melissa Crowe Poetry Reading Time: Sep 9, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 847 5997 2828 Passcode: 070747 One tap mobile +16469313860,,84759972828#,,,,*070747# US +19292056099,,84759972828#,,,,*070747# US (New York) Dial by your location +1 646 931 3860 US +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 309 205 3325 US +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 386 347 5053 US +1 564 217 2000 US +1 669 444 9171 US +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 719 359 4580 US +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 847 5997 2828 Passcode: 070747

Find your local number:

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 17: Poetry Trails at Sesquicentennial State Park

Time & Location Sep 17, 10:00 AM Sesquicentennial State Park, 9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223, USA About the Event We've had two of these events so far -- one at Cypress Gardens, and one at Congaree National Park, and they've been truly meaningful. I hope you'll join us. Judge for the contest to be decided... working on that now. Send them to me, and I'll tuck them away for the judge, with identifying information removed. Questions: 803-446-2526 or


Figures Painted in Spots of Time Janet Kozachek’s solo exhibition a rendering of soliloquies

September 25, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 P.m.

11:30 to noon: An ekphrastic Reading by Mind Gravy Poetry, hosted by Al Black

Stormwater Studios, 413 Pendleton St, Columbia, SC 29201, USA

About the Event

Special Events:

  • 11:30 a.m. – Noon: An Ekphrastic Reading by Mind Gravy Poetry, hosted by Al Black.

  • 12:30 – 12:15: A Demonstration of the Sounds of Sculpture; Ocarinas, Rattles by Janet Kozachek

  • 1:00 PM: A Presentation by the Poetry Society of South Carolina, hosted by Tamara Miles, President.

Book Signing: Ongoing throughout the Exhibition


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


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

Kim-Blum Hyclak has shared a monthly reading and open mic, Afternoon of Poetry and Prose. The gatherings are held the second Sunday of the month, August through April, 2:00 - 4:00, at The Mercantile. This event begins with a Feature Reader and end with open mic. Because they are so close to Charlotte, NC, they have Features from both North and South Carolina. 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 From Ed Madden, several opportunities: CALL FOR BUS POEMS! POEMS ON THE COMET 2022 OPENINGS Again this year we are putting poems on the Comet, the Midlands regional transit system buses. Our theme: OPENINGS! As our new mayor Daniel Rickenmann took office, he emphasized two priorities. Columbia is open for business, he said, and Columbia is a city with open arms for all. What do these phrases mean to you—open for business, open arms? How have the last two years changed what these phrases mean to you? Opening up. Open doors. Open invitation. Open 24/7. Open hearts and minds. Open to the possibilities.Open sesame! Submit to for consideration. · Use the subject line POEMS ON THE COMET 2022. · Poems should be 10 lines or fewer. (They have to fit the bus cards and be legible.) · Include your city of residence. If you are a young writer, please include your school. · Deadline extended to Sept 23. POETRY PRESCRIPTIONS If you could write a poetry prescription for someone, what would it say? How can words offer health and healing? How would you format it? WHAT WE WORE AND WHEN WE WORE IT Poems about clothing and memory. You dad's jacket. Your mom's sweater. A wedding dress. A first suit. That hand-me-down leather jacket. Short enough to go on/with a receipt. HAIRCUTS! Poems about going to the barber or the salon. That first haircut. Bangs. Mohawks. Perms. Blowouts. Color accidents. Where you went with that cut, what you did. GENDER IDENTITY Working with a student intern, we are looking for poems about what it feels like to be a trans or gender-nonconforming person in today's world. Positive, revolutionary, brave. Feeling comfortable in your own skin. Breaking away from traditions. Poems of inspiration, comfort, transformation. For trans-affirming spaces. And: ON THE MENU? I also need VERY SOON 2-3 really good really short poems that might fit on a restaurant menu! For all of these projects, please send to for consideration. Put the project in the email subject line (Poems on the Comet, Prescriptions, Clothing, Haircuts, Gender, Menu). Deadline Sept 23. Ann Humphries will be at the Pat Conroy Literary Center on September 22 for an event related to Julia Mood Peterkin."JMP was member of PSSC back in 1920s and kept company with Dubose Heyward plus Carl Sandburg, Katherine Hepburn, Walter White, lots of NNACP and other celebrity ties, including Dorothy Dandridge. She was fascinating and frustrating." Learn more about the event here at Gamechanger. Mark Waldrop has created The Poetry Porch, where he shares his poetry. Marlanda Dekine will have a virtual workshop on September 11 for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Folks: "Reposted from @genderbenders1 Together, we will consider how our individual origin stories influence our being. We will tap into past, present, and future timelines, allowing our familial and land ancestries to speak more than we do. We have the opportunity to reciprocate nourishment through speculation, giving ourselves permission, and presuming abundance. Through messy memory work, recalling stories, and simply listening, nature is nourishing. Generative writing, breathwork, movement & meditation will be a part of our time together." Register here or at link in bio: #writing #poetry #breathwork #movement #meditation #speculation #imagination Also, Curtis Derrick has shared a resource: "Garstang does a ranking each year using data he culls from the Pushcart anthologies. Here's the link to his 2021 Ranking of Poetry Journals": And you? What are you up to? Send me word.


You can see that I was wearing my PSSC t-shirt in the photo above -- and I love my PSSC mug for sipping espresso prepared with our newly donated Nespresso machine at the Columbia hub (thank you, Danny Sciortino!) Take a look at what else is available. 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. 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 Prompt Contest will take a hiatus until further notice. Stay tuned..


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Editor: Tamara Miles

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