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"Turn Kind to Clocks"

Updated: Apr 9


A Letter from the President

 

TikTok: it's March, and the clock never stops. Even while we're reveling in all the fall contest winners and their beautiful work, we're back with more events and exhortations, starting with a traditional reading at the Charleston Library Society. Angelo Geter will read to us on March 8, following the opening reader, Miho Kinnas. (Zoom links for the readings and for Angelo's workshop are provided in this letter just under the gold "Membership Renewal" area below.)


 It's also Women's History Month, and a good time to raise a glass to all the women in our membership and the female poets around the world, past and present. I recommend Lucille Clifton's "Won't You Celebrate with Me?" from that collection linked above, and a poem called "Clocks" by Annie Davison. It's also a month devoted to the development of better treatments and better living with Multiple Sclerosis. My sweet, beatuiful mother, Sylvia, died of M.S. complications in March of 2007, so it is a sad and memorable time for me. Let's honor her and others by doing what we can. Let's turn back the clock for a happier view of Mama and me.











I've been busy setting up more social media for the Society. I've also created a Link in Bio page that allows quick access to our new accounts on Instagram, TikTok, X, and Threads. We're traveling at the pace of the modern clock, on roads and crossroads around the internet.


I like this stanza from Wilfred Owen, war poet, as he reflects on travel and time in "The Roads Also."


The roads also have their wistful rest,

When the weathercocks perch still and roost,

And the looks of men turn kind to clocks

And the trams go empty to their drome.

The streets also dream their dream.


We've made a commitment to taking our programming to the dreaming streets of four regions: Lowcountry, Midlands, Upstate, and PeeDee in the 2024-2025 season. More on this to come! We also love detours, so who knows where we'll end up with our supplemental events. We are pacing ourselves, but steadily planning. 


When we are racing against the clock, we often lose. Therapist Lauren O'Connell has shared what she sees as the signs of an unhealthy relationship with time:


Obsessive fantasies of success or failure


Dreading birthdays and other milestones which are reminders of the passage of time


Huge reaction to the success of peers ("why not me?")


Feelings of scarcity


Feeling overwhelmed and like a tiny blip in a vast universe of people


Hypersensitivity to feedback and criticism


Can you relate? O'Connell has some recommendations for facing these challenges, including 1) gratitude without a guilt trip, 2) being instead of doing, 3) investing in something that has no goal (i.e. for the pleasure of doing it), 4) considering the context, 5) acceptance, 6) therapy, and 7) stopping the game of Goal Whack-a-Mole.


I'm definitely a regular player of the Goal Whack-a-Mole, but I believe I am developing a better frame for this game. The big GOAL doesn't have to be accomplished for me to mark my success and milestones along the way. That's why I always celebrate every single activity The Poetry Society of South Carolina is involved with. That's the reason for all the documentary videos and narratives. I'm always trying to capture the beauty of what we are doing.


Every meaningful conversation, reading, open-mic, or chance to congratulate a contest winner: whack! and so on.


Another recommendation for the Whack-a-Mole habit comes from Scott Miker: we shouldn't assume we can do everything all at once. Instead, we can tackle our problems or new opportunities in a systematic way. "This will allow you to build a foundation. Then you can build on top of that foundation rather than starting over from the bottom at each pass." I'm a big believer in this idea. I call it the crumb to cake approach. We don't always get served with a whole cake, or even a piece of cake, when we're trying to achieve something. Sometimes we just get a crumb, or a foot in the door. But that tiny start is as important as anything else we do.


Finally, we can practice the four freedoms described by Michael Hyatt:


The freedom to focus—where all the important work is done 

 

The freedom to be present—instead of thinking about work or other things when you’re with your family.


The freedom to be spontaneous—to have room on your calendar for the fun and interesting opportunities that crop up.


The freedom to do nothing—to shrug off the unrelenting busy-ness of life and just be.


Next up, I'm going to show you February 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.


Today, may you know dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing.




Al and I were delighted to have Curtis Derrick join us for coffee at the Starbucks on Garners Ferry Road. There was laughter, debate about genres of poetry and the best publications, and an all around good time. Join the coffee club!



On Friday the 23rd, I picked up Maya from her Johns Island AirBnb and took her to dinner at my favorite restaurant around the corner from the Library Society, Eli's Table. We shared a salad and pimento cheese friend green tomatoes as appetizers, and she told me stories of life in Chicago and Brooklyn. Then we made our way to the Library Society for a night of fabulous readings. The fall contest winners were announced to heart applause from those present and those on Zoom. We're working on getting the list of winners and their poems posted to the website, so thank you for your patience. On Saturday, we had a great roundtable of poets attending Maya's workshop, in which we learned to play with opposites in our poetry language. Thank you, John Byrne and Tina Baumis, who represented the board and helped me set up. Also, I'd like to recognize our Zoom attendees, Susan Finch Stevens, Ruth Nicholson, and Gail Dawson. It's so fun to have you with us. 



In Act 2, we hosted Monifa Lemons, Katie Ellen Bowers, and Lawrence Rhu, accompanied by Josh McGill on guitar. Everyone enjoyed the variety in their work as well as their shared themes. We are figuring out how to make the stage easy to set up for everyone, and except for a few foibles, everything went well. Our Open Mic included Kelley Lannigan, Al Black, and Coretta "Solfege" Little, who is eager to get more involved with us.  I'm getting braver at playing around on the keyboard. Thank you to everyone who came out -- another well-attended event. Also, Katie lost her mother recently, so send a kind word if you have a minute.


Next one -- March 16, 6 p.m. Join us for Ashley Crout, Elizabeth Robin, and Curtis Derrick!



My students in English 101 and I celebrated not only Valentine's Day, but Black History Month and African-American Read-In Day. I was delighted to see and hear them read from Rita Dove's poetry collection American Smooth. My paper responding to the collection will appear in a book by Cambridge Scholars Publishing next year. A recent essay of mine in response to Morgan Jerkins' book This Will be My Undoing was included in Gynocritics and the Traversals of Women's Writing.




On the first Tuesday of every month, Al Black hosts a poetry reading and music event at the Friends Meeting House in Columbia. It's always a joy. The featured reader was Stephen Wing. At the meeting, we also learned about the Peace Pole projects organized by the Friends. There's a new one going up soon. Join Al and Friends next month!






 

Angelo Geter with Miho Kinnas

March 8, 2024

7:00 P.M EST

Charleston Library Society

164 King St.

Charleston, SC 29401

 

Angelo Geter is a poet and performance artist also known in the spoken word world as "EyeAmBic." He is a National Poetry Slam champion, Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam finalist, Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam finalist, and a 2019 All-America City winner. He has performed at venues and competitions across the country, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Watering Hole, an organization dedicated to holding spaces for poets of color in the oral and written traditions of poetry. He also works as the Director of Campus Programming at Winthrop University, and he is the poet laureate of Rock Hill, South Carolina.

 

Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Miho Kinnas is a writer, translator, and poet. She is the author of three poetry collections: Today, Fish Only (2014), Move Over Bird (2019) from Math Paper Press, and Waiting for Sunset to Bury Red Camellias (2023) from Free Verse Press. Elaine Equi selected her poem, Three Shrimp Boats on The Horizon, for Best American Poetry 2023. Also, in 2023, a book of poems in collaboration with E. Ethelbert Miller was published by Pinyon Publishing. She leads poetry workshops based on short Japanese poetic forms at various organizations, including Writers.com, New York Writers Workshop, Pat Conroy Literary Center, and local schools. She lives on Hilton Head Island, where she swims in the ocean and the rivers and operates a pop-up bookshop, An Island Bookshelf.


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 3/9/24. Charleston Library Society, 10:00-noon. Also live Zoomed (see link below)

Sticks & Stones: Turning Grief Into Verse

The saying "sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a phrase that has been used for countless years to illustrate the idea that words don't hurt. However,  we all know that words have a large impact. The key is how we use them, particularly when it comes to grief and loss.

This workshop will explore how poetry can transform our relationship with grief by using elegies, language and imagery to relinquish pain, give power and honor our losses.


 

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.


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


Poetry Society board member Charles Watts is the featured poet on Tuesday, March 5, 7:00 pm at the Funky Fish Camp Reading Series. An open mic follows. This takes place at Between the Antlers, 100 Wood St, Georgetown, SC 29440.


PSSC board member Glenis Redmond will give a reading at the main branch of the Laurens County Library, 1017 W Main St, Laurens, SC, 29360 on March 7, 5:00 pm. Details.


The Poetry Society welcomes Angelo Geter for our official meeting on Friday 3/8/24. See the full details in this Newsletter above. Watch on Zoom live with this link: Zoom Reading.


Hastings Hensel  will read for the 2024 Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series on March 14 at 10:00 a.m. His 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. 

 

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. 


Our next Poetry Trails is at Kellahan Park in Kingstree, SC on March 23, 2024. 101 Kelly St. Kingstree, SC 29556. 10:00 a.m. to noon. 



Cypress Gardenskicks 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


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."


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


PSSC board member Jessica J. Hylton was featured at the February reading of the 18th annual Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series.


Three of Tina Baumis's haiku entries have been published on the California Urban Forest Council Instagram and Facebook social media during their 2023 Haiku annual themed collection. To read them click on these three links: Haiku #1, Haiku #2, Haiku #3.


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


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


 

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 February contest: "Unsurvivable," by Paula Appling, from Pickens County.


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


"The sounds in this poem are wonderful for reading aloud, and the outreached hand seems to invite all of us to accept it in friendship and security."

 

Joined 


Shadows of the night

fade

ray by faint ray.

Nothingness –

save for him –

surrounds.


A hand reaches out,

finds mine,

fingers grasp, squeeze, play …

entwine …

communicate

a lifetime of warmth, comfort, ease …

a lifeline. 


(Congratulations, Paula!)


This month's prompt, in keeping with the theme of this newsletter, is "clock." Alternatives could be "mole" or "goal" 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 April.


Send the poems to everycornereverycounty@gmail.com, and let me know which county you are in! And here's what I have to say to that ol' clock.


Clock, bear your burden,

at least as well as I bear mine.

You know the minutes I have left,

now sing – sing! until it’s time.



Tamara

 

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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Thank you for sharing this beautiful image of you and your mom.

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