The Poetry Society of South Carolina
Monthly Programs

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General Information

All programs, except as noted, are held monthly in downtown Charleston at:

  Second Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall
  342 Meeting Street (at Ashmead)  [map]
  Charleston, SC
  7 p.m.

Readings are free and open to the public. A book signing and reception follow the program.

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September 12
Phebe Davidson and Ed Madden

Phebe Davidson is the author of several published collections of poems, most recently Fat Moon Rising, released this year by Main Street Rag. She is the founding editor of Palanquin Press, a staff writer for The Asheville Poetry Review, and Reviews Editor of Yemassee. Her poems and reviews appear in a wide range of print and electronic venues. She received both the Erica F. Wiest poetry award from Cream City Review and The Blue Earth Review’s flash fiction award in 2007. Self-described as ‘a recovering academic,’ she lives in Westminster, SC, with her husband Steve and their cat Fripp.

Ed Madden’s first book, Signals, was selected by Afaa Weaver as the third annual winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. Madden teaches English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina and is writer in residence at the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens. He is the author of Tiresian Poetics and coeditor of Geographies and Genders in Irish Studies. His essays on politics and Southern culture have appeared in many newspapers and journals and been featured on NPR. Madden was selected by editor Natasha Trethewey for inclusion in the anthology Best New Poets 2007.

October 10
Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley is the author of a half-red sea (2006) and The Gorgon Goddess (2001), both published by Carolina Wren Press, and her poetry and criticism appear in numerous journals and anthologies, recently including PMS: poemmemoirstory, Center, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, No Tell Motel, and The Southern Review. She is currently a guest-editor of jubilat; in 2007, she guest-edited a special issue of MiPOesias featuring the work of contemporary African American poets. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, Shockley is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where she teaches African American literature and creative writing.

November 14
Laurel Blossom and Linda Lee Harper

Laurel Blossom’s book-length narrative prose poem, Degrees of Latitude, was published by Four Way Books in 2007. Earlier books include Wednesday: New and Selected Poems, The Papers Said, What’s Wrong, and Any Minute. Her work appears in 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day and in journals including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Pequod, The Paris Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Deadsnake Apotheosis, Many Mountains Moving, Seneca Review, and Harper’s. Blossom received fellowships from the NEA, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and Harris Manchester College. She lives in rural South Carolina.

Linda Lee Harper has received four Pushcart nominations and three Yaddo fellowships, and produced six collections of poetry, including most recently Blue Flute (Adastra Press) and Kiss Kiss, winner of the 2007 Open Competition from Cleveland State University Press. Her work has appeared in over 80 literary journals in the U.S., Europe and Canada, including The Georgia Review, Nimrod, Rattle, and Southern Humanities Review, where she won the Hoepfner Award for Best Poem of the Year. She resides in Batesburg-Leesville, SC, and Augusta, GA, where she never plays golf.

December 12
Christmas Party

January 9
Open Mic with Kurt Lamkin

Poet Kurt Lamkin plays the kora, a 21-string African instrument, and has performed internationally at festivals, concerts halls, prisons, and universities, as well as on radio and television shows. He was one of the featured poets on Bill Moyers’s “Fooling With Words” television special, and his animated poem “The Foxes Manifesto” was aired for two years on PBS. He is currently touring with his latest CDs, Magic Yams and String Massage. His poetry has been featured in several publications, including Paterson Literary Review, Crazy Horse, Black American Literature Forum, and Elements of Literature.

February 13
Lola Haskins

Lola Haskins’s poetry advice book, Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner’s Guide to the Poetic Life, appeared in 2007, as did a collection of her fables about women, with images by Maggie Taylor, entitled Solutions Beginning with A. Her most recent of eight books of poems is Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems. Haskins’s awards include three Pulitzer nominations, two NEA fellowships, four Florida state fellowships, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and The Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. She retired in 2005 from teaching Computer Science at the University of Florida and is now on the faculty of the Rainier Writers Workshop.

March 13
Alan Michael Parker

Alan Michael Parker is the author of five books of poems, including Elephants & Butterflies (BOA, 2008). He also authored a novel entitled Cry Uncle (Mississippi, 2005) and edited The Imaginary Poets (Tupelo, 2005), among other scholarly volumes. His essays and reviews appear widely in journals including the Believer, the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He directs the creative writing program at Davidson College and is a core faculty member in the Queens University low-residency M.F.A. program. Mr. Parker will give a seminar on March 14. Please click here for details.

April 10
Carol Frost

Carol Frost's books from Northwestern University Press include The Queen's Desertion (2006), I Will Say Beauty (2003), Love and Scorn: New and Selected Poems (2000), and Pure (1996). She has received four Pushcart Prizes for her poems, which appear regularly in such places as Kenyon Review, New England Review, and Poetry. Presently, she is the Theodore Bruce and Barbara Lawrence Alfond Chair in Creative Writing at Rollins College, where she directs Winter with the Writers. Ms. Frost will give a seminar on April 11. Please click here for details.

May 8
Annual Forum with Claire Bateman

Claire Bateman's books are The Bicycle Slow Race (Wesleyan, 1991), Friction (Eighth Mountain, 1998), At the Funeral of the Ether (Ninety-Six Press, 1998), Clumsy (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2003), and Leap (New Issues, 2005). She has been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission, as well as a Surdna Fellowship. She lives in Greenville, SC.

September 13
Poetry Seminar with Ed Madden
“Leaps, Shifts, and Turns: Exploring Poetic Structures”
For bio, please see September 12 reading
10:00 a.m. to noon
Arts Council of Beaufort County
2127 Beaufort Town Center, Beaufort
(Shopping Mall with a K-Mart on Route 21 into town)
$10 PSSC members, $15 non-members
For registration form click here

In 1972, Robert Bly called for “leaping poetry,” and more recently Michael Theune has suggested that poets think about poetic structures that are distinct from poetic forms—dialectical, descriptive-meditative, and ironic, for example, rather than sonnet, villanelle, or blank verse.  When Alice Quinn stepped down as poetry editor of the New Yorker, she noted that there seems to be a lot more “leaping” in contemporary poetry.  In this workshop, we will explore ideas of structure—the leaps, shifts, and turns that may animate and inform our own writing processes.

October 11
Poetry Seminar
Evie Shockley, “A Sound Foundation for Poetry”

For bio, please see October 10 reading
10:00 a.m. to noon
The College of Charleston, 104 Maybank (Calhoun at St. Philips)
For registration form click here

This seminar reminds us of poetry's origins in the oral and its long historical relationship with the lyric by focusing on the music of language, as well as considering other ways of bringing music into (and into conversation with) our poems.  We will look at (and listen to) ways that sound, when not taken for granted, can become an important foundational part of the formal structure, emotional resonance, and/or intellectual pleasure of the poems we create.

March 14
Poetry Seminar
Alan Michael Parker, “Poetry and Sex”

For bio, please see March 13 reading
10:00 a.m. to noon
$10 PSSC members, $15 non-members
The College of Charleston
Education Center, ECTR 102
For registration form, click here

In this seminar, we will consider the relationship between the text of the poem and the reader's body, how expectation and desire are produced by the work of art. The seminar will be “hands on,” that is, we'll do a writing exercise or two, so please bring supplies. Healthy erotic imaginations are of course welcome.

April 11
Poetry Seminar on Syntax
Carol Frost, “Rivers the like soul my grown has deep”

For bio, please see April 10 reading
10:00 a.m. to noon
$10 PSSC members, $15 non-members
The College of Charleston
Education Center, ECTR 102
For registration form, click here

How far can we pull language? What ambiguities and potentials exist for the poet in dislocation, elision, repetition, qualification, and delay? Looking at various examples of syntactic symmetry and surprise in poems by John Milton, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Berryman, Donald Justice, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, and Jay Hopler we’ll think about the poet’s premeditated and rote placements of words (and ideas) in sentences and across lines; about the extra force of a surprising order; about degrees of obscurity and syntactic freedom.

May 2
Poetry Workshop at Debordieu
Lavonne Adams
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Debordieu Beach Club, Georgetown
$45 for PSSC and NCPS members, $55 for others
For reservations, please email Denny Stiles or phone him at (843)452-0798
The Poetry Society has hosted writers groups regularly since the early 1920s.  Poetry Society members are invited to attend free of charge for support and critique of their poetry.

Mt. Pleasant
Constance Pultz, Moderator
2:00 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month. Open to PSSC members only. For more information, contact PSSC.

Richard Garcia, Moderator
7:30 p.m. on alternate Wednesdays, at Circular Congregational Church. For more information, email Richard Garcia.