Monday, March 16, 2015

Re-envisioned Poetry Society of SC WRITERS' GROUP

The PSSC Writers' Group (WG) has been ongoing since The Poetry Society of South Carolina was formed in the early 1920s; and it has experienced only one brief hiatus, which occurred during WWII. Through the years it has existed as a critique group, facilitated masterfully for a long recent period by the late Constance Pultz. Since Constance's death a few years ago, the group has been looking for new structure and leadership. I'm honored that The Poetry Society has asked me to teach workshops for the Writers' Group 3-4 times a year (instead of holding monthly sessions). Gathering for workshops will give the group an opportunity to discuss a specific poetry craft topic, or sometimes subjects beyond craft--a chance to look at the topic in depth. Each time I'll bring a workshop packet with pertinent quotes, exemplary poems, writing activities, etc.; and we'll learn from one another for a couple of hours of poem reading, discussion, and writing. The first workshop--"Writing toward a Poem's Mystery"--was held on Saturday, February 28, with 16 of us in attendance. We'll look forward to more!

Here is the general information about the workshops:

PSSC Writers' Group Workshops:
Held 3 - 4 times a year
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 12 noon
Charleston Library Society
164 King St., Charleston, SC
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
Free for PSSC/CLS members & CofC students; $15 for all others 
(PSSC membership, $25 annually; new memberships welcome)
Next tentative date for the Writers' Group workshop: June 13, 2015
To keep abreast of future WG dates: PSSC Writers' Group workshops 

Saturday, March 28: Emrys/PSSC poetry seminar: "Complicating the Poem"

Saturday, Mar. 28

Emrys/PSSC seminar
Greenville, SC
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m. - noon
"Complicating the Poem"
Coldwell Banker Caine, 111 Williams, St.
$20 Emrys or PSSC members; $25 others
(New memberships welcome!)
Register at
Nancy Dew Taylor, coordinator

Like our contemporary world, some poems are best understood as complexities. They lean toward the unwieldy, unable to contain themselves in a brief, simple, linear fashion. That's when it's time to break the poem open to see where it might go. This seminar will look at strategies for moving a poem draft from the simple to the complex—from the linear to the braided, the multi-faceted. We'll be looking for a variety of ways to deepen a poem that is better-served by the complications of collage, associative leaps, research, as well as other approaches that can enlarge and enliven the poem. And the ironic thing is this: to complicate a poem is simple. If you already have an in-progress poem you'd like to deepen in this way, please bring a draft or any notes/research. The seminar includes a class packet with suggested writing activities, pertinent quotes, and resources for participants to take home and turn to later for further investigation of the topic.

For further details and online register: Emrys/PSSC seminar: "Complicating the Poem"

Sat., March 21: Going to NC Poetry Society event

I'm excited about going to the Weymouth Center of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, NC, for the Sam Ragan Poetry Festival. Poet friend Debbie Scott and I are driving up for the all-day event that will be held on Saturday, a chance to hear some fine poetry and to see NC poet friends I don't get to see often enough. This year's festival will celebrate the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series, named for my good friend the late Marie Gilbert and former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. It'll be a chance to hear readings by Fred and three other NC Poets Laureate--Cathy Smith Bowers, Joseph Bathanti, and Shelby Stephenson (current Poet Laureate)--as well as two other Distinguished Poets in the Series, Tony Abbott and Lenard Moore, and the mentees who studied with each of these talented poets.

I'm proud to be a life member of the North Carolina Poetry Society, and I miss attending its programs regularly as I used to when the three-and-a-half-hour trip seemed shorter. Plus, there's nothing like being at Weymouth in the spring! So I feel lucky to be going to this event--Southern Pines, here we come!

Maybe we'll see you there. Without a doubt, an inspiring event! Here's the full info: 2015 Sam Ragan Poetry Festival

Friday, February 27, 2015

Feb. 28: PSSC Writers' Group workshop -- "Writing toward a Poem's Mystery"

PSSC Writers' Group workshop:
"Writing toward a Poem's Mystery"
Saturday, Feb. 28
10 a.m. - 12 noon
Charleston Library Society
164 King St., Charleston, SC
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
Free for PSSC/CLS members & CofC students
$15 for all others
(PSSC membership, $25 annually; new members welcome.)
Contact: Susan at

Some of the most enduring poems, those that bear repeated readings, can claim both clarity and mystery. A poem’s mystery is achieved partly by its leaps, when much of the work of connecting—of getting from here to there—is left to the reader. Attendees are asked to bring a poem in progress, one that can benefit from greater mystery. Discussion, writing activities, and workshop packet included.

Feb. 19: Poetry workshop -- "This, Too, Is Me: The Self-Portrait Poem"

Thursday, Feb. 19
OLLI at CCU, Litchfield
Workshop: "This, Too, Is Me:
The Self-Portrait Poem"
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m - 2 p.m.
Litchfield Education Center

How I enjoyed gathering with our small group on a cold, cold day for a workshop on the self-portrait poem. We gathered around a conference table to read exemplary published poems and to write a group poem, as well as to each write  a poem of our own. So many possible approaches to the self-portrait, and it was fun to hear the various approaches that workshop participants took. 

Feb. 9, 2015: Kakalak reading in Charleston

February 9 was the annual Kakalak reading at Monday Night Poetry & Music at East Bay Meeting House in downtown Charleston, SC. Richard Allen Taylor, one of the three editors of Kakalak, came down from Charlotte to facilitate the reading and introduce the poets who read as contributors in the 2014 Kakalak, a journal of work by North and South Carolina poets and photographers/artists. Charleston poet Richard Garcia won the 2014 Kakalak poetry prize, and about 8-9 others of us Lowcountry poets were happy to be a part of the program.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

2014 workshops, readings, residencies, and other events

Thank you to the sponsors of these events and residencies that enabled me to teach, read, and write poetry in various venues last year:


  • OLLI at CCU, Litchfield, SC 
    • "Persistence and the Poem" -- Feb. 20
    • "Poetry Critique Workshop" -- May 1
    • "Opening the Gates of the Imagination" -- Nov. 13
  • Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA), Charleston, SC
    • "Complicating the Poem"-- Apr. 26
  • Gathering of Poets, Press 53 & Jacar Press
    • "Lose (Your) Intention & Find a Poem"-- Apr. 5
    • Kevin Watson & Richard Krawiec, founders/facilitators


  • Charleston, SC -- Monday Night Poetry & Music, Feb. 24
    • East Bay Meeting House, 160 East Bay St.
    • James J. Lundy, Jr., coordinator
  • Charleston, SC -- LILA reading, Mar. 27
    • Richard Garcia, Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers, Marjory Wentworth
    • Circular Church
  • Chapel Hill, SC -- Flyleaf Bookstore, Apr. 10
    • Beth Swann & Susan Laughter Meyers
    • Pam Baggett & Stan Absher, coordinators
  • Raleigh, NC -- Quail Ridge Books & Music, May 4
    • Maureen Sherbondy, John Thomas York, Susan Laughter Meyers
    • Jo Taylor, coordinator
  • Fearrington Village, NC -- McIntyre's Bookstore, Jun. 22
    • Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers, Deborah Miller
    • Series sponsored by The North Carolina Poetry Society
    • Sara Claytor, founder/coordinator
  • Southern Pines, NC -- NC Poetry Society, Sept. 20
    • Brockman-Campbell Book Award honorable-mention reading
    • Opening reading for Charmaine Cadeau, winner of the award
  • Columbia, SC -- "Poems: Bones of the Spirit," Oct. 21
    • Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers, Debbie Scott
    • Al Black, founder/coordinator

  • Panel session -- "Diverse Verse"
    • Gilbert Allen, Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers and Marjory Wentworth
    • Ed Madden, moderator

FESTIVAL attended: Palm Beach Poetry Festival -- Jan. 20-25
  • Workshop with poet Nick Flynn -- "Poetry as Bewilderment"

SC STATE PARKS SYSTEM Artist-in-Residence Program:
  • Hickory Knob State Park, McCormick, SC -- Oct. 24-31 residency

2014 publications, prizes, reviews, etc.

Much gratitude to the literary journals, anthologies, and contest sponsors that published my work over the past year, including these:



ESSAY in The 2015 Poet's Market, published by Writer's Digest:
  • "The Usefulness of Silence" (pretty exciting to see this called out, with two others, on the cover)

REVIEW of My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass:

  • North Carolina Literary Review: "Near Matter and the Distant Stars" --  review of Coal River Road, by Kathy Ackerman, and Transcendental Telemarketer, by Beth Copeland