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