Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Looking back--fondly!--on the 2015 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival (CMLF)

What a wonderful weekend the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival was back in September--the 11th and 12th--in charming Burnsville, NC. The groups in my two discussion sessions, as well as the poets in my poetry workshop, were bright and eager to participate. Each person there made the time with the groups that much more special. And what talent in the poetry workshop!

I'm grateful for being one of the presenters for this beautiful festival. The highlight was Saturday night's on-stage conversation between Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver. So entertaining, memorable, and wise! If you have a chance to go next fall, don't miss it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Last July's launch for Fall Lines, the summer issue of Jasper Magazine

I'm still remembering the lovely evening of poetry and prose back in July that celebrated the launch of Fall Lines for 2015. A room full of poets and friends of poetry gathered at Tapps Art Center in Columbia to see the unveiling of Jasper's summer issue and to hear some poetry and fiction from it. Congratulations again to Worthy Evans, winner of the Saluda Prize for Poetry, and Liesel Hamilton, winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose. I was honored to be included in the issue with them and many other talented poets and writers. Here are the details:

On July 13th, Jasper Magazine, with the support of Richland Library, One Columbia, USC Press, and Muddy Ford Press, released the second volume in Columbia, SC’s own literary journal, Fall Lines – a literary convergence.  Edited by Jasper’s Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, and Kyle Petersen, and adjudicated by Madden and Julia Elliott, Fall Lines welcomed thirty-three authors to its pages, contributing poetry, essays, short fiction, and flash or micro-fiction including Jennifer Bartell, Libby Bernardin, Rob Bockman, Susan Boyer, Nancy Brock, Fran Cardwell, Tim Conroy, Karla Cordero, Delia Corrigan, Carla Damron,  Debra Daniel, Worthy Evans (winner of the 2015 Saluda River Prize for Poetry, sponsored by Friends of Richland Library), Scott Gould, Barbara G. S. Hagerty (winner of the 2015 Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship, sponsored by the SC Academy of Authors), Liesel Hamilton (winner of the 2015 Broad River Prize for Prose, sponsored by the Friends of Richland Library), Kristine Hartvigsen, Lisa Hase-Jackson, Ann Herlong-Bodman, Mick Johnson, Susanne Kamata, Len Lawson, Ray McManus, Susan laughter Meyers, Bo Petersen, Tom Poland, Rachel Richarson (winner of the 2015 Fellowship in Fiction Award sponsored by the SC Academy of Authors0, Eileen Scharenbroch, Chris Schumerth, Aries Selwood, Cassie Premo Steele, Tony Tallent, Ceille Baird Welch, and Mary Whyte.

    Thanks, Jasper!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sept. 11 and 12: Carolina Mountains Literary Festival -- schedule for my sessions

Sat. (Sept. 12):  9:00 – 11:45 a.m.   
POETRY WORKSHOP with Susan Laughter Meyers
Advance Registration Required – $30      
Sponsored by The Grapevine, 11 West Main St., Burnsville

Dear Snakeskin & Other Marvels of the Earth: 
Letter Poems & Odes  
What better opportunity to speak from the heart—to say what needs saying to wonders of the Earth—than through poetry? Whether we, on behalf of the human race, have gratitude to express or an apology to pay, here’s the chance to add our voices. We’ll read some exemplary letter poems and odes that strike up a conversation with the Earth—whether written to an atamasco lily, sunset, blackbird, or bumble bees. As readers, we expect from poems the imaginative and the relevant, the truthful and the surprising.  Always, we hope, beneath the surface of them lies urgency. Let’s immerse ourselves in both poetry and the natural world—with discussion, a writing activity or two, and a wealth of published poems to bend our ear closer to the earthly marvels we live in the midst of. Class size limit – 25.  Advance Registration Required – $30


Fri. (Sept. 11): 3:00 – 3:45 p.m.  /  Sat. (Sept. 12): 3:00 – 3:45 p.m.
Susan Laughter Meyers  

Nature’s Neglected: Poems Celebrating the Uncelebrated  
Taking a cue from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Pied Beauty”—and its “Glory be to God for dappled things”—we’ll read and discuss poems that bring our attention to such overlooked wonders as the capybara, the pipefish, maybe even witchgrass and mud. Poems by Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, A. R. Ammons, and others will give us this brief opportunity to deepen our appreciation of the Earth—and learn more about ourselves—as we celebrate the uncelebrated.

See the complete Carolina Mountains Literary Festival schedule here.

Sept. 10-12: Carolina Mountains Literary Festival

I'm excited to be teaching a poetry workshop and presenting two poetry sessions at this wonderful fall festival -- a free literary celebration for readers (and writers). Come to Burnsville, NC!

The 10th Annual
Carolina Mountains Literary Festival
Thursday – Saturday, September 10-12, 2015

Our Earth…Our Time…Our Space…

Celebrate the stories of our shared earth.  Reflect on our pasts and wonder about the possibilities for our futures.

Alan Gratz ~ Alexandra Duncan ~ Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle 
Ann Patchett ~ Ashley Adams English ~ Barbara Bates Smith 
Barbara Kingsolver ~ Beth Revis ~ Brent Martin ~ Lisa Blackburn  
Lynn McLure ~ Sue Wasserman ~ Catherine Reid ~ Christopher Scotton 
Hilda Downer ~ Jason Mott ~ Jay Erskine Leutz ~ Jeremy Jones  
Jim Rogers ~ Marci Spencer ~ Mary Ann Claud ~ Mindi Meltz 
Sara Gruen ~ Saro Lynch-Thomason ~ Shelby Stephenson 
Susan Laughter Meyers ~ Wiley Cash ~ Will Harlen

The 10th Annual Carolina Mountains Literary Festival Thursday - Saturday, September 10-12, 2015 Our Earth...Our Time...Our Space... Celebrate the stories

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015: PSSC Writers' Group poetry workshop

PSSC Writers' Group
Workshop: “Lose (Your) Intention & Find a Poem”
Saturday, June 20
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)

         “Lose (Your) Intention & Find a Poem”:

“The poem wants to be itself. It should be unlike anything you have written before,” says poet Michael Dennis Browne. So how to achieve this singular—but essential—poem that insists on its own path? For starters, we can let go of preconceived notions of what the poem is “about.” In this session we’ll generate new work, writing deliberately but without intention, allowing the poem to follow its own logic and to deepen in its own way. We’re out to surprise ourselves.   

THE PSSC WRITERS’ GROUP (WG) has been ongoing since The Poetry Society of South Carolina was formed in the early 1920s. Currently it meets 3-4 times a year for workshops that offer an opportunity to explore a specific poetry craft topic, or sometimes subjects beyond craft. Each session will include a workshop packet, discussion, and writing activities. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Saturday, May 2: Workshop in Columbia, SC

The Poet as Seeker

Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor

Saturday, May 2, 2015
10 until 3

"Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door," says Emily Dickinson. What better way for a poet to become seeker than to make the self available to possibility? As poets, we have questions to ask, some without answers; leaps to make, risks to take; mysteries to ponder. We must pay attention and be patient--which is to say, we must be willing to listen to the poem as it is being written.

In this workshop we'll head out into the unknown, as we read exemplary poems from our class packet and generate new work of our own. (Feel free, too, to bring a poem draft that you're working on in an attempt to reach a deeper level in some way.) As seekers, we'll follow Bernard Malamud's advice to "Teach yourself to work in uncertainty." Who knows where our poems will end up? Come, let us open every door--and window!


A Writing Workshop
by the Broad River
in Columbia, SC


Susan Hendricks invites you for a day of poetry
and expressive writing among friends
in the natural setting of river, forest and wildlife
near downtown Columbia


           Registration fee: $40
           By email to susanhendr@gmail.com
           By mail to 5 Possum Run, Columbia, SC 29223
           For Questions, phone 803-788-6826
Limited to 25 participants

Directions will be provided to registered participants


Susan Laughter Meyers, of Givhans, SC, is the author of My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass, winner of the Cider Press Review Editors Prize. Her collection Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press, 2006) won the SC Poetry Book Prize, the SIBA Book Award for Poetry, and the Brockman-Campbell Book Award.  A long-time writing instructor, she has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.  http://susanmeyers.blogspot.com

How I enjoyed teaching the PSSC/Emrys seminar

The poetry community in Greenville, SC, is a talented, energetic one that I was delighted to be in the midst of for its annual PSSC/Emrys seminar last month. Nancy Dew Taylor, a long-time leader in both organizations, started this event in Greenville five years ago—and what a contribution she has made to this region's literary calendar with it. Seminar instructors so far have included Becky Gould Gibson, Cathy Smith Bowers, Jillian Wiese, Phebe Davidson, and me. Each year about 15-20 people gather for the opportunity to focus on a poetry topic—typically pertaining to craft or poetics. The seminar can consist of lecture, discussion, and writing—all as a way to further explore the day's subject. Thank you, Nancy and attending poets, for your participation and help in illuminating our topic this year, "Complicating the Poem."

The Poetry Society of South Carolina (PSSC) is proud to work with Emrys Foundation as sponsors of this event. Much appreciation to Emrys's president Vera Gomez for her leadership and for participating in the seminar.

Last month's event:
Saturday, Mar. 28
Emrys/PSSC seminar: "Complicating the Poem"
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m. - noon
Coldwell Banker Caine, 111 Williams, St.
Greenville, SC
Nancy Dew Taylor, coordinator

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 http://wwwemrys.org/
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 bardowl2@aol.com

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