Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ragged Sky Press: Blanket Stories Project

The Blanket Stories Project is based on the following fable: 
 Five siblings inherit a blanket. They lie beneath it, together, to stay warm.
But arms and legs stick out and the siblings squabble and tug. They do
not realize that they would all fit if they just moved closer together.

The project initially put a call out to poets, artists, and musicians to respond to the fable. The results consist of a gallery of poems and art, as well as a print anthology to be published by Ragged Sky Press. I'm pleased to have a poem in the project. My poem “Blankets, a Childhood” is exhibited in the gallery and will later appear in the anthology.

Here is my poem, displayed in the online gallery.

In June there will be a launch for the project:
Blanket Stories Launch
Friday, June 6 at 5:00pm
Macy Gallery, Teachers College, 525 W 120 Street, NYC

Congratulations, Ragged Sky Press!

Magnolia Gardens Poetry Contest

This spring Magnolia Plantation and Gardens offered its Garden of Romance poetry contest, and one of my poems won second prize. Naturally I'm thrilled. The winning poems are posted on Magnolia's website and Facebook page.

Here are the results for the adult division. The judges selected poems that “best emulated the sensibility of romantic poets and described Magnolia as an idyllic "garden of romance."
  • Pam Stewart, Summerville, "O! Magnolia," first place, $500
  • Susan Laughter Meyers, Summerville, “Morning Meditation,” second place, $300
  • Warren Slesinger, Beaufort, “White Blossoms,” third place, $200
  • Frances J. Pearce, Mount Pleasant, “Magnolia-on-the-Ashley,” honorable mention, $50
  • Liz Rose Dolan, Rehoboth Beach, Del., “Even If It Rains, I Will Wait in the Garden,” honorable mention, $50
  • Davi Walders, Chevy Chase, Md., “May Light,” honorable mention, $50

The results for the youth division are also posted on Magnolia's website.

May 16 - 18: Last weekend's SC Book Festival

Last weekend’s 18th annual SC Book Festival drew its usual crowds, and I was delighted to be a part of it:

May 16-18
Columbia Convention Center
Columbia, SC
Sunday, May 18, 1:30 p.m. panel: "Diverse Verse"
with Gil Allen, Barbara Hagerty, Susan Laughter Meyers & Marjory Wentworth; Ed Madden, moderator
free & open to public

I especially enjoyed hearing Nikki Giovanni talk and read a couple of poems in her session. That session was one of only two poetry events offered at the Festival. So the other events there that I attended featured writers of other genres. Sessions I sat in on included Christopher Buckley, the keynote speaker; novelist Gail Godwin; and a roundtable by Pat Conroy and his siblings.

Those of us on the poetry panel were happy to see the room filled with about 50 poets and friends of poetry. Gil read a couple of poems from his new book Catma; Barbara from Twinzilla; me from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass; and Marjory from her New and Selected. (Ed will be reading from his new book, Nests, at next year’s Festival.)

Barbara Hagerty and I would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful Hub City Press booth for carrying our books: her Twinzilla (The Word Works, 2014) and my own My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass (Cider Press Review, 2013).

The Poetry Society of SC and LILA shared a booth in the Festival’s exhibit hall—with members taking turns to be at the booth. Among them—Debbie Scott, outgoing president of PSSC; Frances Pearce; Barbara Hagerty; Linda Annas Ferguson; and me. Linda was my guest for the weekend, giving us a chance to catch up on all things poetry and non-poetry. Such a fun-filled weekend!

May 4 reading: Sundry Poets at Quail Ridge Books & Music

The early part of the month gave me another chance to be in my old home state of North Carolina:

Sunday, May 4
3 p.m.
3522 Wade Avenue
Ridgewood Shopping Ctr.
Raleigh, NC
Three poets: Susan Laughter Meyers, Maureen Sherbondy, John York
free & open to public

What a great opportunity, to have been a part of the Sundry Poets series, headed by Jo Taylor. It's a series at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC, offering quarterly readings. Maureen, John, and I had the pleasure of reading from our latest books. Not only did I enjoy reading with them, but I also loved having an opportunity to see new and old NC friends there.

And—yes, there’s more—I got to visit all weekend with my long-time high school/college buddies, Fran and Jeff. How many more reasons could a person think of for a great trip to NC! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thursday, May 1: Poetry Critique Workshop

Poetry Critique Workshop
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
Thur., May 1
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Litchfield Education Ctr.
Bi-Lo Shopping Center, 14427 Ocean Hwy
Litchfield/Pawleys Island, SC
Registration: $30, plus OLLI membership  
For further info: 843-234-3422

Our critique session will give you an opportunity for a close reading of your poem(s) by fellow poets. Our job is not to fix your poem but to help you find ways to re-envision it. Please bring about 6-7 copies of 1-3 poems. Class packet included, with a variety of revision strategies. Within two weeks after the workshop, participants have the option of e-mailing a poem to the instructor for feedback.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 Sundown Poetry Series

ANNOUNCING. . . [drum roll] . . . 
this year's schedule of superb featured poets. 
Each reading will be followed by
a lovely reception at a nearby art gallery.
Please join us for ten terrific nights of poetry!

2014   P i c c o l o   S p o l e t o   
S U N D O W N   P O E T R Y   S E R I E S   
May 26 – 30;  Jun 2 - 6  •  6:30 p.m.  •  free & open to the public   •  Dock Street Theatre Courtyard, 135 Church St., Charleston, SC

Mon., May 26Richard Garcia, of Charleston, SC, is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Other Odyssey (2014), winner of The American Poetry Journal Book Prize; and The Chair (BOA Editions),  forthcoming. His work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, Ploughshares, and other journals. Awards include an NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches in the Antioch MFA program and online.  

Tue., May 27Frances Justine Post is the author of Beast (Augury Books, 2014). Her work has also appeared in Kenyon Review, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, and elsewhere. Her numerous awards include the “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize. Originally from Sullivan’s Island, she is currently earning her PhD in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, where she is a poetry editor for Gulf Coast.

Wed., May 28Vernon Fowlkes, of Mobile, AL, is the author of The Sound of Falling (Negative Capability Press, 2013). His work has also appeared in The Southern Review, JAMA, The Ampersand Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, Elk River Review, and other literary journals. He has been a featured poet in various programs, including Charleston’s MNP&M and the Southern Writers Reading Series in New York.

Thurs., May 29Nancy Dew Taylor, of Greenville, SC, is the author of the chapbook Stepping on Air (Emrys Press, 2008). In 2011 she received the Linda Flowers Literary Award from the NC Humanities Council for her sequence of poems Mill Creek Suite. Her poems have also appeared in journals and anthologies, including Tar River Poetry and The South Carolina Review, as well as The Southern Poetry Anthology.

Fri., May 30Ed Madden, associate professor of English at USC in Columbia, is the author of three books of poetry: Nest (Salmon, 2014); Prodigal: Variations (Lethe, 2011); and Signals (USC, 2008), which won the SC Poetry Book Prize. His work has appeared in Best New Poets 2007, The Book of Irish American Poetry, The Southern Poetry Anthology, and elsewhere. Awards include a fellowship from the SC Arts Commission.

Mon., Jun 2Ray McManus is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Red Dirt Jesus (2011), winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize; and Punch (Hub City Press), forthcoming. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Barely South and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He is assistant professor of English at USC Sumter and the creative writing director for the Tri-District Arts Consortium in SC.

Tue., Jun 3Paul Hamill, of Charleston, SC, is the author of four collections of poetry, including his most-recent chapbook, Meeting the Minotaur: Field Guide to the Labyrinth (Split Oak Press, 2010). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, and Cortland Review. He has served as Poet Laureate of Tompkins County, New York, and president of The Poetry Society of SC.

Wed., Jun 4Angela Kelly, of Spartanburg, SC, is the author of Voodoo for the Other Woman (Hub City Press, 2013) and four poetry chapbooks. Her work has also appeared in numerous journals, including North American Review, Rattle, and Nimrod. Her awards include the SC Fellowship of the Arts from the SC Arts Commission and the Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship in Poetry from the SC Academy of Authors.  

Thurs., Jun 5Gilbert Allen is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Catma (Measure Press, 2014). His honors include a Literary Arts Fellowship from the SC Arts Commission, the Robert Penn Warren Prize in Poetry from The Southern Review, and induction into the SC Academy of Authors. He is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature at Furman University and serves as editor of Ninety-Six Press.

Fri., Jun 6Jim Natal, of Los Angeles, CA, is the author of four poetry collections, most recently 52 Views: The Haibun Variations and Memory and Rain. His work has appeared in New Poets of the American West and other anthologies/journals. Featured readings include the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. He is founder/director of The Literary Southwest series in Prescott, AZ.

Barbara G. S. Hagerty & Susan Laughter Meyers, Coordinators
2015 applications available fall 2014 at

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sat., April 26: LILA workshop -- Complicating the Poem

Saturday, April 26, 2014
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
LILA Write Charleston! workshop: "Complicating the Poem"
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
Circular Congregational Church
150 Meeting St., Charleston
Registration: $30; $20 for LILA members/students/seniors
To register: bardowl2[at] (bard+owl+2 . . .) 

Like our contemporary world, some poems are best understood as complexities. This workshop 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 delve into a subject that is better-served by the complications of research, collage, associative leaps, 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 a chosen subject for a poem, feel free to bring a draft or some notes/research.)

Why "complicate" a poem, you might ask. Because certain poems--perhaps with a subject that leans toward being unwieldy--cannot contain themselves in a brief, simple, linear fashion. That's when it's time to break the poem open to see where it wants to go, what approaches it wants to take, who it wants to take with it, and how. We'll be exploring some of the possible paths to take.

Please write me with any questions you might have. As I do with all my workshops, I'll provide a class packet with suggested writing activities, pertinent quotes, and resources for participants to take home and turn to later for further investigation of how our topic.

If you're in the area, I hope you can join us!

For more information about Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA) events, check out the website here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reading with Elizabeth Swann at Flyleaf Books on April 10

What a treat it was to read with Beth Swann at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill last week. We read at the Second Thursday Poetry & Open Mic Night, a monthly poetry event coordinated by Pam Baggett and Stan Absher. There were about 20-25 people there, including my sister Janice, my college roommate Fran and her husband, as well as good friends Sally and Marylin. It's always fun to travel to a reading when I can combine the poetry experience with visits with friends and family. (The night before the reading three of us ate at Kitchen, a nearby restaurant in the same strip mall, which I highly recommend. Seared salmon over collard greens—yum!)

At Flyleaf I read mostly from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass; and Beth read from her book Port Desire, published last year by Finishing Line Press. Poet Marjorie Stelmach says this about the approach Beth takes with the book’s poems: “She examines the forces that draw us equally to the safety of harbor and to the hazards of the open ocean, open road, open heart. . . . In addition to a wide-ranging intelligence, there is wisdom in these poems.” Congratulations, Beth!

The open mic following our readings proved what a lot of talent the Chapel Hill area holds. It was a rich, active segment of the program with a lively audience eager to show their support. Thanks to all there for also showing that support to Beth and me. We loved being there!