Sunday, October 23, 2016

Release of The Crafty Poet II, ed. Diane Lockward

The Crafty Poet series is a favorite resource, and I'm doubly excited about the two books since my work is included in both. The second in the series, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop, has just been released by Terrapin Books, and I'm happy to report that it lives up to the first: helpful craft tips, prompts with exemplary poems, the "Poet on the Poem" features, and more. Diane Lockward is a gifted editor with a teacher's eye—in this case, for tips, poems, and experiential advice that can help poets become better at what they do.

Here are the accomplished poets and poet-teachers whose company I'm honored to be among—with their poems, insights, and writing strategies: 

Kelli Russell Agodon, Dick Allen, Nin Andrews, David Barber, Judith Barrington​, Ellen Bass, Mary Bindiger, George Pilgere. Chana Bloch, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, David Bottoms, Fleda Brown, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Lauren Camp, Martha Collins, Mary Cornish, Oliver de la Paz, Carl Dennis, Toi Derricotte, Natalie Diaz, Camille Dungy, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Alice B. Fogel, Alice Friman, Karin Gottshall, Tami Haaland, Barbara Hamby, Ava Level Haymon, Tom Hennen, David Hernandez, Tony Hoagland, Karla Huston, Laura Kasischke, Meg Kearney, David Kirby, Lance Larsen, Sydney Lea, Ada Limon, Timothy Liu, Diane Lockward, Alessandra Lynch, Davis McCombs, Deborah Miranda, D. Nurkse, Priscilla Orr, Paisley Rekdal, Susan Rich, Alberto Rios, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Sheryl St. Germaine, Martha Silano, Ron Smith, A. E. Stringer, KC Trommer, William Trowbridge, Lee Upton, Sidney Wade, Charles Harper Webb, Hilde Weisert, Marjory Wentworth, Terence Winch, Robert Wrigley, Dean Young, Michael T. Young

Plus, the book includes a host of sample poems by these talented poets: 

Gloria Amescua, Bob Bradshaw, Constance Brewer, Betsey Cullen, Jessica de Koninck, Gail Fishman Gerwin, Deborah Gerrish, Patricia L. Goodman, Jeanie Greensfelder, Susan Gundlach, Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Tracy Hart, Penny Harter, Karen Paul Holmes, Akua Lezli Hope, Jenny Hubbard, Jen Karetnick, Tina Kelley, Adele Kenny, Kim Klugh, Denise Low, Kathy Macdonald, Charlotte Mandel, Joan Mazza, Jane Miller, Maren Mitchell, Camille Norvaisas, Ellie O'Leary, Judith Quaempts, Wanda Praisner, Anjela Villarreal Ratliff, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Saunders, Paula Schulz, Martha Silano, Linda Simone, Jay Sizemore, Kate Sontag, Carole Stone, Marilyn L. Taylor, Lisken Van Pelt Dus, Pramila Ventkateswaren, Angela Vogel, Jeanne Wagner, Jane West, Scott Wiggerman, Lori Wilson

Discover additional excellent poetry resources available from Diane Lockward at her website and her blog.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

2016 Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series schedule

Barbara G.S. Hagerty and I are happy once again this year to be coordinating the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series, which starts next Tuesday evening. What a roster of talented poets! If you're in the area, we'd love to see you at some of the events. Experience these magical moments at the historic Dock Street Theatre Courtyard, where the readings are free and open to the public, each followed by a lovely art gallery reception.


2016   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 31 – Jun. 3  &  Jun 7 - 10     •    6:30 p. m.
Dock Street Theatre Courtyard, 135 Church St., Charleston, SC 
Reception at a nearby art gallery after each reading    •    Free & open to the public  

Tue., May 31“From the Ward to the Word: Nurses as Writers.” Poetry performances by four award-winning and widely published nurse writers coming from various locations to read for us: Cortney Davis, Jeanne Bryner, Veneta Masson, and Muriel A. Murch. Lisa Kerr, facilitator. Brief readings that showcase how nurses translate the mysterious moments they share with patients and their observations of health care into artful poetry and prose. Co-sponsored by the MUSC Writing Center and University Humanities Committee.

Wed., Jun. 1 Dannye Romine Powell, of Charlotte, NC, is the author of four poetry collections, including her latest, Nobody Calls Me Darling Anymore (Press 53, 2015). Her awards include poetry fellowships from the NEA and the NC Arts Council, as well as numerous book awards. She is a long-time columnist and book reviewer for The Charlotte Observer.

Thur., Jun 2John  Milkereit, of Houston TX, is the author of A Rotating Equipment Engineer Is Never Finished (Ink Brush Press, 2015), as well as two chapbooks published by Pudding House Productions. His work has also appeared in San Pedro River Review, Big River Poetry Review, and other journals. A Charleston native, he is completing an MFA degree at Rainier Writing Workshop.

Fri., Jun. 3 Jaki Shelton Green, of Mebane, NC, is the author of numerous poetry collections, including her latest, Feeding the Light (Jacar Press, 2014). Her work has also appeared widely in publications such as Essence Magazine, Obsidian, and Poets for Peace. A highly regarded literary teacher and consultant, she was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Piedmont NC and  2016 Writer-in-Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University. In 2014 she was inducted into the NC Literary Hall of Fame.  
Tue., Jun. 7Nick Lindsay is—at 89—a troubadour, expert builder, master storyteller, and accomplished musician. Son of Vachel Lindsay and a longtime resident of Edisto Island, he will read from his book Esau Lanier, a lyrical exploration of race, work, place, the natural world, and more. This epic poem is rendered in Pushkin sonnets, telling of Nick’s African American friend and co-worker Esau, with whom he built houses on Edisto Island in the mid-20th century.

Wed., Jun. 8Jacqueline Johnson, of Brooklyn, NY, is the author of the award-winning poetry collections A Woman’s Season (Main Street Rag Press, 2015) and A Gathering of Mother Tongues (White Pine Press, 1998). She is a Cave Canem fellow and has performed at numerous venues, including the New York Center for Book Arts, St. Marks Poetry Project, Pratt Institute, and Metropolitan Museum.

Thur., Jun 9Laurel Blossom is the Poet Laureate of Edgefield, SC. Her new collection, Longevity (Four Way Books, 2015) is a book-length narrative prose poem and companion piece to her book Degrees of Latitude. Her earlier books are Wednesday: New and Selected Poems; The Papers Said; What’s Wrong; and Any Minute. Her many awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Fri., Jun 10Nikky Finney, of Columbia, SC, is the author of four poetry collections, including her latest, Head Off & Split (Triquarterly Books/Northwestern U Press, 2011), winner of the National Book Award. She is also editor of the anthology The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2007) and cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets. She is the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina.

Barbara G. S. Hagerty & Susan Laughter Meyers, Coordinators
2017 applications available in the fall of 2016 at

Looking back on the spring Poetry Society of SC Writers' Group workshop: Apr. 23

The second of three 2016 workshops of the Writers' Group of The Poetry Society of South Carolina (PSSC) was held about a month ago, and it was another stellar group. How I enjoy teaching these workshops! Below are the particulars about the logistics of the event and what we focused on while gathering for it:

Saturday, April 23
10 a.m. - noon
Charleston Library Society
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
164 King St., Charleston, SC 29401
Free for PSSC/CLS members & CofC students; $15 for all others 
(PSSC membership, $25 annually; new memberships welcome)

Poetry Workshop: Revision, Nuts & Bolts

A continued study of revising the poem, including both large and small issues. Taking time to draw back and ask why the poem exists and what it’s doing. Moving in close to look at all the movable parts, stanza to syllable, molding and shaping to give the poem its art. Discussion, revision activities, workshop packet.

Bring 2 or 3 copies of a relatively short poem of yours that is ready for revision. The extra copies are to allow you to mark up your poem for editing. Let’s spend time trading tips on revising and editing, learning strategies from one another.

The final 2016 workshop will be on Saturday, October 29.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Remembering Carrie Allen McCray Nickens -- posted in the SC Writers' Workshop blog

Thank you to the South Carolina Writers' Workshop for asking me to be a judge for their Carrie McCray Poetry Award this year and for posting a piece I wrote about Carrie, remembering a special visit with her. Carrie Allen McCray Nickens, we still miss you!

Remembering Carrie McCray


PSSC Writers' Group workshop, Sat., Feb. 27: "Digging Deeper--Revision"

If you're a poet and will be in the Charleston, SC, area on February 27, please join us for the Poetry Society of SC (PSSC) Writers' Group workshop. Be sure to bring the draft of a poem you're working on and would like to deepen as you revise. 

Here are the details:

Saturday, February 27
"Digging Deeper: Revision"
PSSC Writers' Group Workshop
(bring a poem in progress)
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m. - noon
Charleston Library Society
164 King St., Charleston, SC
Free for PSSC/CLS members
& CofC students; $15 for others
(PSSC membership, $25
annually; new memberships welcome)

Digging Deeper
A workshop on revising a poem by exploring its possibilities to the fullest. The goal is to reopen the poem, to peel away its limitations and move beyond whatever is obvious, to stutter over and over at crucial points in the poem—drilling down, homing in from numerous angles, flying blind to work toward the poem’s deepest mystery. 

It will help me to plan if you can let me know that you're coming. Please leave me a quick comment at one of these places:

Deckle Edge Literary Festival, Feb. 18-21, Columbia, SC

I'm honored to be a participant in the first Deckle Edge Literary Festival, the newly envisioned annual festival that came into being after the SC Book Festival announced last year that it would no longer be held. Bravo for the new tea--headed by Annie Boiter-Jolley and Darien Cavanaugh--who jumped in to serve the state's readers, book buyers, writers--the whole literary community!

Feb. 18-21
Deckle Edge Literary Festival
Columbia, SC
I'm participating on Feb. 20
"Found Anew" panel, 3:30 p.m.

Read all about the 2016 Deckle Edge Literary Festival. Come join in the celebration of books and literature!

Furman University visit -- Nov. 3 and 4, 2015

A huge thank you to professor and poet Bill Aarnes for inviting me to Furman University last fall to give a reading and visit with his poetry class for a discussion. The reading was held on the evening of November 3 in McEachern Lecture Hall. Besides students (whose presence is always a joy), I was delighted to see in the audience several good friends, who were so kind to come out for the reading: Nancy Dew Taylor & Maggie, Claire Bateman, Terri McCord & Brian Slusher, Gil & Barbara Allen--my gratitude to you all. 

The class visit the next afternoon was another joy. The students were eager to participate and had astute questions to ask me about my collection My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass, which they had read for the course. It was a class of about ten or eleven students, the perfect size for having a lively poetry discussion--and for learning from one another. Bill Aarnes has done an excellent job of bringing the class together into a close-knit group, which made my visit all the more enjoyable. Thank you again, Bill and student poets!

Looking back on the Queens Univ. MFA alumni weekend, Oct. 8 - 11, 2015

What a treat to return to Queens University of Charlotte campus for an alumni weekend this fall. I was pleased to be in a manuscript workshop masterfully taught by Jon Pineda, who teaches in the Queens MFA program. In the workshop with me were three other poets, with whom I enjoyed exchanging book manuscripts and feedback: Torie Dailey, Geoffrey Hall, and Lee Stockdale. We were a close-knit fivesome, learning much from Jon and his good advice for our manuscripts.

I also enjoyed being on a publishing panel with two other alumni, as well as running the open mic after dinner on Friday night. Here was the weekend's schedule:

Thur., Oct. 8  Evening alumni reading: Clifford Garstang, Rebecca Gummere

Fri., Oct.    9  Publishing Panel: Clifford Garstang, Rebecca Gummere, 
                     Susan Laughter Meyers  
                     Craft Seminars  
                     Reception & dinner, open mic 

Sat., Oct. 10  Seminar
                     Workshops, 2 sessions
                     Book publishing seminar

Sun., Oct 11  Individual conferences

A look back at the fall PSSC Writers' Group workshop, Oct. 24, 2015

What a smart group of poets were a part of the fall PSSC Writers' Group workshop! We meet 3-4 times a year to study craft issues and work on our own poems.

Saturday, Oct. 24
"The Path of Surprise"
PSSC Writers' Group Workshop
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m. - noon
Charleston Library Society
164 King St., Charleston, SC
Free for PSSC/CLS members & CofC students; $15 for others
(PSSC membership, $25 annually; new memberships welcome)


The Path of Surprise

Writing poems should be more than telling anecdotes from a life you already know or describing something you’ve seen. It should take you down a path of surprise. “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader,” Robert Frost wisely noted. In this workshop we’ll use writing activities and handouts of published poems, as well as discussion, to take us farther down that serendipitous path. We’ll study poems that leap, swerve, and follow their particular logic—then we’ll write our own.