The Poetry Society of South Carolina
Monthly Programs

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General Information

All programs, except as noted, are held on the second Friday of the month in downtown Charleston at:

  The Charleston Library Society
  164 King Street (just before Queen)  
  7:00 p.m.

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

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September 10
Atsuro Riley

Atsuro Riley, author of Romey’s Order (U. of Chicago Press, 2010), has won the Kate Tufts Discovery, The Believer Poetry, the Witter Bynner Awards,and the Whiting Writers’ awards, the Lannan Foundation Literary and the National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, and the Wood Prize given by Poetry magazine. His poems have been anthologized in The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine, The Oxford Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, Poems of the American South, and The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets. Brought up in the South Carolina lowcountry, he lives in San Francisco.

October 8
Young Smith

Young Smith has received fellowships from the NEA, the James Michener Foundation, and the Kentucky Arts Council. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Pleiades, Crazyhorse, Agni, and The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, among others, and last year Black Zinnias Press published his In a City You Will Never Visit. He is Associate Professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University, and coordinates their Brief-Residency MFA.

November 12
Michael McFee

Michael McFee has published 13 books, recently a chapbook of one-line poems, The Smallest Talk (Bull City Press, 2007); a prose collection, The Napkin Manuscripts: Selected Essays and an Interview (U. of Tennessee Press, 2006); and two books of poetry from Carnegie Mellon U. Press, Shinemaster (2006), and That Was Oasis (forthcoming). He directs the Creative Writing Program and teaches at UNC-Chapel Hill. Poems by Michael McFee are available online at Story South, Poetry, The Blue Moon Review, and Slate, and you can read more about his work at Story South.

December 10
Christmas Party
for PSSC members only.

January 21
PSSC 90th Anniversary Celebration with Billy Collins

Called "the most popular poet in America" by the New York Times, Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States between 2001 and 2003. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of New York from 2004 until 2006. Collins is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York, and is the Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute, Florida.

Tickets are free, first-come-first-served, and available only to current PSSC members. Seating is limited, so make your reservation today!

Click here to reserve a ticket for yourself and a companion. Your membership will be verified before your reservation is placed.

Click here to join or renew your membership.

February 11
Nathalie Anderson

SC native Nathalie Anderson's books include Following Fred Astaire (1998 Washington Prize), Crawlers (2005 McGovern Prize), and Quiver, due this fall (Penstroke Press). She has authored libretti for three operas with composer Thomas Whitman and Philadelphia's Orchestra 2001. Anderson is Professor of English Literature at Swarthmore College, where she directs the program in Creative Writing.

March 11
Donald Platt

Purdue University professor Donald Platt has four books, Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns (1994), Cloud Atlas (2002), both from Purdue U. Press; My Father Says Grace (U. of Arkansas Press, 2007); and Dirt Angels (New Issues, 2009). Anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000 and 2006. He has received an NEA fellowship, the Paumanok Poetry Prize, the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes.

April 8
Cecilia Woloch
Cecilia Woloch is the author of five collections of poems, most recently Carpathia (BOA, 2009). She is currently a lecturer in the creative writing program at the University of Southern California, as well as the founding director of The Paris Poetry Workshop. She spends a part of each year traveling, and in recent years has divided her time between Los Angeles, Atlanta, Shepherdsville KY, Paris, and a small village in the Carpathian mountains.

April 15 (Friday)
Sandra Beasley
Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Joy Harjo and published by W. W. Norton.

Co-sponsored by Friends of the Library.
7:00 p.m., Friday, 15 April
Circular Congregational Church
150 Meeting Street

May 13
Annual Forum with Carol Ann Davis
Carol Ann Davis has recent or forthcoming work in Volt, The Iowa Review, The Threepenny Review, The Kenyon Review, and Denver Quarterly. In 2007, Psalm was published by Tupelo Press and Davis received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry; Atlas Hour is forthcoming from Tupelo. She directs the undergraduate creative writing program at The College of Charleston, where she edits Crazyhorse with her husband, Garrett Doherty.
All seminars, except as noted, are held on the second Saturday of the month in downtown Charleston at:

  The Charleston Library Society
  164 King Street (just before Queen)  
  10:00 p.m. - noon

Tuition is $10 for PSSC and Library Society members,
$15 for non-members. College of Charleston students attend for free.

September 11
Atsuro Riley
“May the Streams Be Many: Widening the Net of References, Resources, Refreshments”

For bio, please see September 10 reading
For registration form, click here

We will range around outside the bounds of contemporary American poetry, sounding out poems, poets, and distinctive moves from the many lively streams of English, past and present.

October 9
Young Smith
“Contemporary Polish Poets”

For bio, please see October 8 reading
For registration form, click here

Herbert, Milosz, Szymborska, Zagajewski… Why many of my favorite contemporary poets are Polish, rather than American, and why they should be among your favorite poets as well (even if, like me, you can read them only in translation).

November 13
Michael McFee
“Contemporary Scottish Poets”

For bio, please see November 12 reading
For registration form, click here

We all know about Seamus Heaney, probably Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon and other Irish poets, and perhaps Geoffrey Hill and various living English poets. There’s a vigorous contemporary poetry scene in Scotland, which—perhaps like Southern poetry—is a significant part of America's national literature and yet distinct from it. In this seminar, we'll review the work of a dozen or so Scottish poets, including Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Crawford, Carol Ann Duffy, and Robin Robertson.

Febuary 12
Nathalie Anderson
“Writing to be Sung: The Poet as Librettist”

For bio, please see Febuary 11 reading
For registration form, click here

College of Charleston, 105 Maybank Hall,
located across from the old library, southwest corner of Calhoun and St. Phillip Streets. [download pdf of campus map]

Drawing on Nathalie Anderson’s experience as librettist for three operas, The Black Swan, Sukey in the Dark, and A Scandal in Bohemia, this seminar will explore the potential for musicality in verse, through exercises in adapting literary passages and familiar narratives to be sung.

March 12
Donald Platt
“Writing the Other's Experience”

For bio, please see March 10 reading
For registration form, click here

We'll read and discuss a few poems that are sparked by extraordinary empathy for "others." In light of our discussion, we'll try to formulate some strategies for writing about the experience of others without appropriating or distorting that experience. The session will end with a writing prompt that participants may follow on their own.

April 9
Cecilia Woloch
“The Pleasures of the Pantoum”

For bio, please see April 8 reading
For registration form, click here

Explore this simple and elegant verse form and generate a pantoum from “recycled materials”—beautiful lines you've already composed. Participants should bring a minimum of four discarded or orphaned lines from their own writing to use or swap during the generative part of the workshop.
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.

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