The Poetry Society of South Carolina
Monthly Programs

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General Information

Readings are free and open to the public. Book signing and reception follow the program, 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.

Seminars are also held at The Charleston Library Society, unless otherwise stated, and run from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Members $10, College of Charleston students free, all others $15.  

Click here for a printable flyer of our programs. This version corrects the errata on the flyer that was mailed to members.

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September 9
Sandra Beasley and Rosalyn Cowart

Sandra Beasley won the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize for I Was the Jukebox, selected by Joy Harjo (W.W. Norton, 2010). Her first collection, Theories of Falling, won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize judged by Marie Howe. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry, Slate, The Believer, and Best American Poetry 2010. She has received the 2010 Univ. of Mississippi Summer Poetry Residency, a DCCAH Individual Artist Fellowship, and the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she is on the faculty of the Writer's Center.

Rosalyn Cowart grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. She has a degree in architecture from Clemson University and an MFA in creative writing from Florida State University. Recent projects include a collaboration entitled Soaking Lima Beans with Her Muse from the Carolinas, her manuscript Beasts in the Dark, and a few poems on chickens along the way.

September 10
Seminar with Sandra Beasley,
“The Gyroscope of Form: Sestinas Past, Present, and Future”

The sestina, with its patterning and repetition, is one of the most acrobatic and challenging of all forms. Where did it come from, what makes it work, why is it rising in popularity today? We will read contemporary sestinas, discuss where the form is heading, and consider ways to honor the tradition in poems that are fresh, funny, and impassioned.

Editor's note: To read Sandra's blog entry about her PSSC experience, “How Charleston Won My Heart,” [click here].

October 14
Landon Godfrey and Susan Meyers
Landon Godfrey is a poet, artist, actress, and teacher. Chosen by David St. John for the Cider Press Review Book Award, Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown was published in 2011. Her work has been published in The Southeast Review, Lyric, POOL, Cimarron Review, Best New Poets 2008, featured by Broadsided, in Polish translation in Studium, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Born and raised in Washington D.C., she now lives in Black Mountain, NC.

Susan Laughter Meyers was awarded last spring's Verna Ubben Fellowship, a two-week residency at VCCA offered by PSSC and member Don Ubben. She is the author of Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press) and the chapbook Lessons in Leaving. She has poems forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, North Carolina Literary Review, Poemeleon, and Rabbit.

October 15
Seminar with Landon Godfrey
“Imaginative Acts of Attention: Ekphrastic Poetry”

How poets see and describe what they see, "translate" the visual into the aural and back, move beyond interpretation into generation, meditation, and exploration—ekphrasis has concerned poets ever since the ancient practice became a rhetorical device. We will think about ekphrastic strategies by considering poets' descriptions of shields, rustic cups, bed covers, urns, murals, statues, paintings, and the beloved.

November 11
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 new from Tupelo. She directs the undergraduate creative writing program at The College of Charleston, where she edits Crazyhorse with her husband, Garrett Doherty.

Emily Rosko is the author of two poetry collections, Prop Rockery, recently awarded the 2011 Akron Poetry Prize, and Raw Goods Inventory, winner of the 2005 Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2007 Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers from Shenandoah, and editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (U. of Iowa Press 2011). A former Wallace Stegner Writing Fellow at Stanford University, she also is the past recipient of Poetry’s Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. She joined the Department of English at the College of Charleston in 2010.

November 12
Seminar with Carol Ann Davis
“Re-Vision: Ways of Putting Pressure on Process”

What if, through new engagements with language and process, we wake ourselves up to new possibilities for existing poems, compose new poems differently, and then follow the thread of revision in some heretofore unseen way? In a seminar that's part craft lecture, part prompt, and part strategy session/workshop, we will aim toward putting pressure on our existing processes.

December 9
Christmas Party

This year's challenge is to bring a Toast or a Limerick.
[Click here] to get Richard Garcia's pdf on the limerick.
[Click here] to see eHow's advice on crafting a great toast.

January 13
Open Mic with Ray McManus

Ray McManus has authored two collections of poetry: Left Behind (Stepping Stones Press) and Driving through the country before you are born (USC Press, 2007), winner of the SC Poetry Book Prize. His poetry has appeared in many journals throughout the United Sates and Canada. He is an Assistant Professor of English at USC Sumter.

February 10
Frank X. Gaspar

Portuguese-American Frank Gaspar was born and raised in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He is Professor Emeritus at Long Beach (CA) City College, and teaches in the MFA Program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. He has published four poetry collections, Night of a Thousand Blossoms (2004), Field Guide to the Heavens (Britting-ham Prize, 1999), Mass for the Grace of a Happy Death (Anhinga Prize, 1994), and The Holyoke (Morse Prize, 1988), and several novels. His awards include an NEA fellowship, inclusion in Best American Poetry, and three Pushcart prizes.

February 10, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Special Event: PSSC Presents Frank Gaspar at the
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center

For more information, visit the VAMC website.

February 11, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Seminar with Frank Gaspar
“First Magic: the verbal music and internal dynamics of poems”

We will start off by learning to notice this first magic that inheres beneath subject and beyond meaning: the cadences and musicality of language and the inner tensions and dynamics between sections or stanzas that make the free verse poem a kinetic work of art. Then we’ll try to see connections between the artistry in free verse and the techniques we associate with more conventional verse forms, with a view to carrying a sense of their importance to our own writing process.

south Arts Logo  n e a Logo  south Arts Logo

Frank Gaspar's readings and seminar are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

February 18
Seminar in Beaufort with Starkey Flythe
“The Ant and the Elephant”

Starting off with the smallest possible subject, not love or time or death; starting, say, with a flea—see 16th century poets—instead of a hippo, a hummingbird instead of an albatross. Reducing the poem from Britannica to Pocket Book. An exercise in moment—see Emily Dickinson. Intensifying emotion. Excluding the extra; murdering, as they say, “your little darling.”

Starkey Flythe, Jr.,
has taught in public high schools and colleges in South Carolina, Georgia, and Indiana. A Georgia Poetry Circuit winner, as well as a Yaddo, Breadloaf, and SC Arts Commission Fellow, he helped found the Sand Hills Writers Conference. His poetry collections Paying the Anesthesiologist and They Say Dancing were published by Furman University’s Ninety-Six Press; The Futile Lesson of Glue recently won the Violet Reed Hass Award given by Snake Nation Press.

Saturday, 18 February 2012, 10:00 a.m. - noon
Art Works (in the K-Mart shopping Ctr.)
Beaufort Town Center

Click here to download the seminar flyer

March 9
Gerry LaFemina

Gerry LaFemina has authored two collections of prose poems and six of poetry, including Vanishing Horizon (2011, Anhinga Press). His numerous awards include fellowships from the Irving Gilmore Foundation and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a Pushcart Prize, and the Bordighera Prize in Poetry. He directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University, where he is an Assoc. Professor of English.

Brit Washburn studied creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy, Eugene Lang College, and Goddard College. Brit's work has appeared in The Albion Review, Controlled Burn, The Dunes Review, Earth's Daughter's, Foreword Magazine, Guideword, Manoa and A New Song, Mourning Our Mothers: Poems About Loss, and A New Guide to Charleston. Brit edits the lo-fi journal Re:Union, manages the East Bay Meeting House, mothers three sons, and serves on the board of the Poetry Society of South Carolina.

March 10
Seminar with Gerry LaFemina
“Walking the Poetic Line”

We will talk about how line relates to voice, content and tone, discuss the complex relationship between the sentence and the line, how various contemporary free verse poets "use" the line, and how readers walk the line from the top of the poem to its final line.

March 31
Seminar in Beaufort with Jillian Weise
“The Magician’s Workshop:
Tricks of the Trade from Magical Realists”

Co-sponsored with the Emrys Foundation

Jillian Weise is the author of a book of poems, The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, and a novel, The Colony. Her essay, “Going Cyborg,” appeared in The New York Times in winter of 2010. She has won fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and the Fulbright Program and her work was chosen for “Poetry Everywhere,” an animated film series produced by PBS and The Poetry Foundation. She teaches workshops, seminars and survey courses on 20th- and 21st- century American literature at Clemson.

Saturday, 18 February 2012, 10:00 a.m. - noon
Bobby Pearce Center
904 Townes St, Greenville

April 13
Rich Ferguson with Guitarist Chris Clary

A native of Charlotte, Los Angeles performance poet Rich Ferguson has appeared with Patti Smith, on The Tonight Show, and on NPR stations. His ecstatic delivery, more Pentecostal preacher than slam poet, juxtaposes the personal and the eternal in a sharply humorous way. Rich has published in the LA Times, Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts, and The Moment, and presented at colleges throughout Southern California. He contributes to and is a poetry editor of the online journal The Nervous Breakdown.

Kit Loney is the recipient of the 2012 Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship from The South Carolina Academy of Authors. She has won a number of prizes from PSSC, most recently the DuBose and Dorothy Heyward Society Prize. Her poems have appeared in Kakalak, Yemassee, Redheaded Stepchild, and Qarrtsiluni, and are forthcoming in Poetry East and Emrys Journal.

April 14
Seminar with Rich Ferguson
“From the Page to the Stage”

Through use of mass media and discussion, we'll study the history of spoken word/performance poetry, and search for our own voice within the genre. Bring a short poem, yours or someone else's, to read as a performance piece. Musical accompaniment is welcome.

In preparation, please visit Rich Ferguson's Links Page

May 11
Annual Forum with Lola Haskins

Lola Haskins' work has appeared in The Atlantic, the London Review of Books, The New York Quarterly, Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Among her ten books of poetry are Hunger (Iowa, 1993), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Still, the Mountain (Paper Kite, 2010), which won silver in the 2010 Florida Book Awards. Her most recent effort, The Grace to Leave, will be available from Anhinga Press, August 1 of this year.

Ms. Haskins' prose publications include Fifteen Florida Cemeteries: Strange Tales Unearthed (University Press of Florida, 2011), Solutions Beginning with A, illustrated fables about women (Modernbook), and a poetry advice book, Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner's Guide to the Poetic Life (Backwaters, 1998). Among her awards are two NEA fellowships, four Florida Cultural Affairs fellowships, and several prizes for narrative poetry. For more information, please visit her at

May 12
Seminar with Lola Haskins
“The Dance of Revision”

This talk will watch several sequential drafts of three poems on their way to the dance, and explain how they got there. There will be a handout with a list of principles, as well as the poems involved. Questions and comments are welcome along the way. If there's time left over, Ms. Haskins will address a few poems from attendees that present useful points of departure. People can email their work to <> at least a week in advance.

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., changed to the first Sunday of every month, starting September 2011.
Open to PSSC members only.
For more information, contact PSSC.