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"Your Moments of Glad Grace"

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

A Letter from the President

Hello, November --- and may the leaves falling around the poets and poetry lovers of South Carolina be a witness to transition. Welcome to our new members! We're always changing, aren't we? As Yeats reminds us, sooner or later we'll be "old and gray and full of sleep." The young ones will rise up with us as they should. Season to season we go. October was a relatively quiet month compared to all the ones I've had since moving into the president's seat, but I did go about a bit. Of course, we had two marvelous poets for our monthly reading at the Charleston Library Society. I picked up Han Vanderhart at the airport and escorted her to lovely accommodations provided by the College of Charleston, then I walked around the corner to find us a place to eat while she unpacked. We ended up sitting outside at a bistro called Circe's Grotto, right at closing time, and enjoyed a meaningful conversation. She then put her whole self into her reading, as did Evelyn Berry, and we're the better for it. Cake all around, and Jim with his banker's hat and monacle -- it was a great night.

The seminar on Saturday was packed, and then we headed over to Buxton Books, where some of us stayed for at least a couple of hours. It's always hard to leave a good book store, but I had to scuttle home and tend to a new addition to the family, a nine-month old black lab that David found wandering the neighborhood with no chip, no collar, and a wound on her shoulder. We've named her Missy Mae, and this makes dog number three. As a preacher I once knew would say, "Well, Glory!" We'll just make more room at the table... or the dog bowl.

On the 18th, I did a poetry reading that was a bit unique, a Poet Redux event with Polish American poet John Guzlowski, hosted by Wm (Bill) Epes, a community partner who runs several poetry events on Facebook. We made our "duet" an actual duet by reading a sequence of poems we've done together on Twitter called "Dear Poetry/DearJohn," then followed that up with brief rounds of our own poems, continuing the conversational style. I actually like this type of reading better than traditional readings, so I'll be planning similar events at The Living Room (read on for more information) and elsewhere. Let me know if I should head in your direction!

On October 20, I drove Ann Humphries to the Pastides Center for the Governor's Awards in the Humanities Luncheon and Ceremony, where Len Lawson and others were recognized, and Ann and I explored ways to collaborate with several artists, poets, and community organizers including representatives of SC Humanities. I ran into Susan DuPlessis, my mentor for a past arts grant from the SC Arts Commission, and we shared ideas as well. Here's Ann with writer, educator, and leader Kasie Whitener, who engaged us in conversation at our table.

Yesterday, I met singer/songwriter Lang Owen at the newly christened event center called The Living Room (at Jubilee Circle in Columbia), which is also the home of the PSSC Columbia Hub. We made a brief video announcing Lang's concert on November 4, "Mother's Day in November," which also features other guest musicians (one on viola and one on piano) and Al Black on poetry with his Madonna poems. It will be Lang's birthday, and his idea is to celebrate his mother more than himself, and to give us the opportunity to do the same. It's $10.00 at the door, cash, PayPal, or Venmo, and it's going to be fabulous, so join us.

(Click on the image to see my video with Lang and details about the event).

The Living Room is available for rent to bands, dancers, yogis, artists, actors, and other kinds of creative folks as well as educational groups. We're all in this together, and the rentals help keep Jubilee Circle going for spirit and community. Speaking of community, my college, OCtech, sponsored the Carolinas Regional Leadership Conference for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society last weekend, and I was a primary organizer. I took the chance to feature the PSSC and our fall contests. It was an ideal time because I was also giving a talk to 90 students about Nota Bene, PTK's literary journal. Several students indicated their interest in joining the Society -- a boon to me because one of my goals is to grow our student membership.

I am asking your support in this area by sending students our way. This is also a way for you to earn points in our new rewards program, which is still under development and in the pilot stage. Earned points allow you to receive discounts on workshops and other types of recognition. We can also encourage students to bring someone along to a designated as Bring-a-Friend event at which we recognize our student members. Moments of glad grace -- let's have more of these. Please share the image below on social media. (End of Part 1 of my rambles -- have some coffee and continue on to Part 2 with Poetry Trails below the image). You're saying to yourself, goodness, how that woman goes on.

Part 2

We are having a run of bad luck with our Poetry Trails events -- you recall we had to cancel the October event due to the hurricane. Now our planned event for November will have to be canceled as well because Santee State Park has temporarily closed its trails for maintenance. However, the poetry contest we have going for that event will continue into December, and we hope all goes well. We will give away a second 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. If you submitted a poem for October or November, I will save those and include them in the December collection. Here's part of the Reverb description for our latest guitar prize:

"Fender hails the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and transports you back to 1967 with the introduction of the Elvis Kingman acoustic guitar-a sharp looking, rich-sounding, hip-swaying evocation of thefreewheeling Fender acoustic that Elvis Presley wielded with consummate cool in the ’67 cinematic romp Clambake."

And here's the guitar itself:

November 11 and 12, I'll meet you in Charleston for Jaki Shelton Green with opening reader Jammie Hunyh! You can now pay for the Saturday seminar at the PSSC website with the Join Us button, and I've added the Zoom links in several places. I hope the process works more smoothly. Finally, I'm in conversation with a young poet/student (and new member!) Love Lotus in Allendale about hosting a book launch and community open mic there, and Melanie McClellan-Hartnett (renewed member!) and I continue to plan a neighborhood gathering at the South Santee Community Center in McClellanville. Now, our member feature for November, provided by Jim Lundy:

Member Spotlight: Ruth Ellen Rambo

As a young child, Ruth Rambo’s most-repeated sentence was, “Read me a book!” She is the daughter of Marcus Milton Rambo, a middle-school principal, and Thelma Mitchell Rambo, a college professor. As the daughter of educators, she was taught, as Ruth puts it, “when you get information, you’re not supposed to hold onto it but share it… have it multiply.” Her maternal grandmother was also college educated. Her great grandmother, Lydia, was born enslaved.

When it came time to go to college herself, Ruth was given one choice: Fisk University, the school where her mother had been dean of women and on the board of trustees. While there she studied under poet Robert Hayden and was active in civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins. She earned a B.A. in English Literature. For her master’s degree, she chose Louisiana State University. This was the first year that Black students were allowed, by federal court order, to attend classes and it was a very difficult time for Ruth and the other two African American students who attended that year. Abuse came from other students and the professors tried everything in their power to fail them. Despite this, she earned an M.Ed. with a specialty in guidance counselling.

She eventually took a job with the Urban League in Newark, NJ, where she became one of the first female directors. In the early ‘70s, she won a fellowship to MIT, where she studied urban planning, including taking courses at Harvard. From there, she took a job with the AARP in Washington, D.C.

Around the time she was looking toward retirement, Ruth devised an itinerary to travel down the coast to shop around for a city to spend her retirement. She settled on Charleston, with Savannah coming in second. Once in Charleston, she discovered the Poetry Society of South Carolina through an ad in the Charleston City Paper. She first shows up as a member of the Poetry Society for the 1994-’95 calendar year and served on the board between 1996 and 1998. She was only the third African American to serve in that capacity. She became active in the Society’s Writers’ Group under Connie Pultz. She was also on the lookout for a book club to join, but finding none, started her own focusing on Black writers. This operated out of the Avery Research Center at 125 Bull St. She was invited to read at the Sundown Poetry Series for Piccolo Spoleto in 1998.

In 1999 she took a job again with the AARP, this time in Atlanta. There she formed another book club called “Reading Spirits,” which is still in existence. She was gone from Charleston for about a decade but moved back to retire for good and has been here ever since. She keeps busy as a volunteer for the Historic Charleston Foundation, a community activist, and she runs a reading circle called “Dark after Dark.” Ruth Rambo is a regular at PSSC monthly meetings and can often be found in the audience at Sundown Poetry Readings.

Still listening for your voices,

Tamara Miles



Please note a correction to the seminar time: 10-11:30 a.m. The CLS would like to lock its doors by 12 on Saturdays, please and thank you.

November 11 and 12: Jaki Shelton Green

Reading, 7:00 pm, Friday (Free and Open to the Public)

Seminar, 10:00 am, Saturday ($10 for members; $15 for non-members; Students and Zoom Attendees get in free).

Location: Charleston Library Society, 164 King St., Charleston, SC 29401. This will be simulcast via Zoom if you cannot attend in person.

A reception and book signing at Buxton Books follows the reading.Opened in 2016, Buxton Books is located on King Street, the main thoroughfare in downtown Charleston. The bookstore specializes in ticketed, dynamic, book-included events both in the bookstore and at many different venues in the city, and they are proud to be the official bookseller for the Poetry Society of South Carolina.

Simple directions to join on the night of the reading via Zoom: click on this link: ************************************** To attend the Saturday seminar on Zoom (observation only), use this link: Pay here: When: Nov 12, 2022 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Register in advance for this meeting: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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 February and March, all events will take place on the second Friday of the month at the Charleston Library Society. February and March locations are to be determined. 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: Raena Shirali May 2023: Glenis Redmond


Nov 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.


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.


April 14 and 15: Raena Shirali

Reading, Friday, 7 pm

Seminar, Saturday, 10 am

Raena Shirali is the author of two collections of poetry. Her first book, GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), won the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award, and her second, summonings (Black Lawrence Press, 2022), won the 2021 Hudson Prize. Winner of a Pushcart Prize & a former Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell University, Shirali is also the recipient of prizes and honors from VIDA, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, & Cosmonauts Avenue. Formerly a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Muzzle Magazine, Shirali now serves as Faculty Advisor for Folio—a literary magazine dedicated to publishing works by undergraduate students at the national level. She holds an MFA in Poetry from The Ohio State University and is an Assistant Professor of English at Holy Family University. The Indian American poet was raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and now lives in Philadelphia.


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 and Jane Zenger will be hosted by the Pat Conroy Literary Center on Tuesday, November 15, at 5 p.m. 601 Bladen Street). Libby is the author of House in Need of Mooring (Press 53) and Jane is the author of Night Bloomer (Muddy Ford Press). This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and signing. Seating is limited; please call to reserve your spot: 843-379-7025. Additional readings by Libby include:

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 Evelyn Berry and Elizabeth Robin will be featured at Poetry & Patrón Original Poetry Reading Series, Tio's Latin American Kitchen @ 6 PM on November 2. 40 Shelter Cove Ln #181 Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 *With Music from Martin Lesch Evelyn's poem "how to banish a ghost" appears in the latest issue of GASHER. Her poem "southern apocrypha smeared with duke's mayonnaise, 1974" was recently published in Identity Theory. Her book review of Nevada by Imogen Binnie appeared in the latest print issue of GIGANTIC SEQUINS. Glenis Redmond and Marlanda Dekine will be reading from their poetry at Sandies at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce (711 Bladen St.) on Friday, November 4, at 5:30 p.m. Hosted by the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, this event is free and open to the public. Sandies will be open for dine-in or take-out dinner that evening. Books will be available for sale and signing. Glenis was appointed Greenville's Inaugural Poet Laureate. Her post began October on 1st. It is a two year term. Also, the Upstate Mediation Center Annual Peacemaker Celebration honors Glenis Redmond as 2022 Peacemaker along with Judge Diane Smock, Extraordinary Achievement Award. Jim Lundy's short story Mr. Billodeaux appears in the latest edition of So It Goes, the literary journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. This edition is a celebration of Kurt Vonnegut's centennial year. Terri McCord has recent or forthcoming publications in Blue River Review, Lucky Jefferson, Thimble Literary Magazine, Comstock Review, Anti-Heroine Chic, Kakalak 2022, and Fall Lines Volume ix, Jasper. Yvette Murray has won the Susan Laughter Meyers Fellowship from North Carolina Poetry Society. Also, please note the several Poetry Society members whose work has been accepted for Fall Lines, Volume IX, Jasper Project and/or in the 2022 Kakalak!                                     And you? What are you up to? Send me word.


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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