Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nov. 13 -- Poetry Workshop: Opening the Gates of Imagination

Every fall and late winter I look forward to teaching half-day workshops in the OLLI at CCU program at Litchfield, SC. The next one is less than a month away, and I'm busy working on it now. It's always an engaged, supportive group eager to read, write, and discuss poetry. Here are the details:

Thursday, Nov. 13
OLLI at CCU, Litchfield
"Opening the Gates of Imagination"
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m - 2 p.m.
$30 (plus $20 OLLI membership)

Opening the Gates of the Imagination   
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of the imagination," said John Keats. In this workshop we'll explore how the imagination can evoke emotion in a poem. In-class writing, discussion, class packet. Within two weeks after the workshop, participants have the option of e-mailing a poem to the instructor for feedback. Lunch can be brought or bought nearby.

Nov. 7 - 9 Queens Univ. of Charlotte MFA alumni & students to gather on campus

I'm looking forward to being a part of the inaugural alumni/student-run MFA gathering on the Queens University of Charlotte campus soon. Every other autumn (in odd-numbered years) the MFA program holds an alumni weekend on campus, when it brings in top-notch editors/agents and poets/writers to teach workshops. For the first time, in even-numbered years the alumni/students will be gathering on campus for a weekend of programs that they themselves—we ourselves—have generated and will be offering. So happy to be going and seeing fellow MFAers both familiar and new, as well as taking part in the discussions and readings. Soon!

Nov. 7 - 9
Queens Univ. of Charlotte
MFA alumni & student gathering
Panels & readings by MFAers
1900 Selwyn Avenue
Charlotte, NC

Artist Residency awarded by the SC State Parks System

I am honored to be a recipient of a 2014 SC State Parks System Artist Residency. For a week artists-in-residence have the opportunity to pursue their artistic endeavors staying at one of the state's beautiful state parks. I'll be writing poems, as well as taking field notes while on hikes, at Hickory Knob State Park. My sincere gratitude to the South Carolina State Park System for this opportunity. 

In return, I am to frame a poem I write during the residency and donate it to the Park System for them to display in one of the cabins or elsewhere on the property. As one who loves to write about the natural world, I am looking forward to every moment of my residency!

Week of Oct. 24-31
Hickory Knob State Park
McCormick, SC
Artist residency

Tue., Oct. 21 -- Poems: Bones of the Spirit, a reading in Columbia, SC

Three women poets from the Charleston area will be heading to Columbia, SC, next week to participate in a literary salon founded and facilitated by poet Al Black. Al has long run the weekly Poetry Mind Gravy series, and now he has added this new monthly poetry salon to his schedule. He has named the October 21 event "A Visitation from the Holy City of Charleston." The program offers three poets reading and discussing their work, plus conversation with the poets.Here are the details:

Poems: Bones of the Spirit VI
Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers, Debbie Lawson Scott
Oct. 21
8 - 10 p.m.
Sun Spirit Yoga Wellness
735 Meeting St., West Columbia, SC 29169
Book signing following the reading
Free & open to the public

  • BARBARA G.S. HAGERTY will read from her book Twinzilla (Word Press, 2014), winner of the Hilary Tham Capital Collection. 
  • SUSAN LAUGHTER MEYERS will read from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass (2013), winner of the Cider Press Review Editors' Prize. 
  • DEBBIE LAWSON SCOTT is the immediate past-president of The Poetry Society of South Carolina. She'll be reading poems from her manuscript "We'll Go in a Minute." 

Honorable Mention for the Brockman-Campbell Book Award

Congratulations to Charmaine Cadeau, who won this year's Brockman-Campbell Book Award for her collection Placeholder, published by Brick Books. Joseph Bathanti, author of Concertina (Mercer University Press) and I were selected for Honorable Mention. The Brockman-Campbell is awarded by the North Carolina Poetry Society each year to a poet whose book is judged to be the best collection of poetry by a North Carolina resident or native published in the preceding year.This year's judge was Joanna Klink, author of three poetry collections and professor of creative writing at the University of Montana.

On September 20, the winner and finalists were asked to read for the North Carolina Poetry Society at Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, NC. Unfortunately Joseph couldn't be there, but I enjoyed hearing Charmaine read from her winning book, and I was honored to read from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass (Cider Press Review).

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Europe: Aug. 24 - Sept. 16

Blue and I took the trip of a lifetime recently: three weeks in Europe on a Rick Steves tour. A whirlwind adventure that included stops in The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, The Vatican, Switzerland, and France. A warm, energetic group of twenty-eight, plus our fearless guide Dimitri—always on the go, each of us whisking our carry-on bag and day pack from bus to hotel or vice-versa. Lucky us, with gorgeous weather on all but a couple of days.

My favorite country? Italy. Favorite moment? Sitting one night in a church in Venice, on the third row, when it hit me: Vivaldi in Venice! Such a beautiful church, beautiful night—and, of course, beautiful concert.

Having said that, I loved every stop and have many wonderful memories and photos, as well as a few extra pounds to remind me of them all.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Lese Corrigan and her gallery

Whenever I'm in Charleston and in the area of Queen Street, I like to stop by to visit my artist friend Lese Corrigan. I met Lese when she and I worked together as Artist and Writer in Residence at the Gibbes Museum of Art back in 2004-2005, and we've been friends ever since. From the beginning I liked her and admired her talents as an artist, so I was thrilled when she allowed her artwork Cultured Pomegranates, 2001, oil on linen, to be used as the cover art for my book Keep and Give Away, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2006.

When I dropped by Lese's gallery a week or two ago, she showed me her new studio that she recently added to the back of the gallery. Such a wonderful space for her to work! And she needs it, as she prepares for a show this fall. Her gallery is at 62 Queen Street, just off Meeting Street.You can't miss the charm of its black-and-white striped awnings.

Congratulations, Lese for all your fine accomplishments--and this large new space to make more beautiful art!

Lese in her new studio

NC Writers Conference

This year the NC Writers Conference--a longstanding, loosely organized group of NC writers--met in Asheville for its annual gathering. I loved every minute of the time there, the last weekend in July. I remember when I first attended back in the early 1990s as a guest of my late friend Marie Gilbert, who later nominated me for membership. I was starry eyed at being among so many talented writers, and I loved the warm spirit, the casual fun of the group. I still do love the group's laid-back, yet friendly energy.

This year Margaret Bauer, Programs Chair, asked me to moderate the session on the James Applewhite Poetry Prize, which meant that I got to introduce James Applewhite before he announced the winner of this year's contest sponsored annually by North Carolina Literary Review. I also got to introduce the finalists and honorable mentions for this year. And we all got to hear readings by them--plus a reading by Jim Applewhite from his new book Cosmos. Did I mention that I had a great time? Yes, all weekend!

Next year our gathering will be in "Little" Washington--Washington, NC. Can't wait!