Poetry Society News
Next Membership Meeting to be Held March 18
The next membership meeting of the NCPS will be held virtually on Sat., March 18. Complete details and a Zoom link will be provided in the March issue of eMuse. All members are encouraged to save the date and attend this important gathering of NCPS.
Membership Vote for 2023-2025 NCPS Board
By Celestine Davis, NCPS President

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Please, cast your vote to welcome in the new slate of officers. They are generously offering their time and talent for our common good and purpose to serve the poets and residents of NC. Many of those have been long-time NCPS volunteers, and some will be first timers.

As always, the work and impact of what they will do are boundless. They are all up to the task. Their willingness to share their time and talent by volunteering says a lot about them as members of our poetry community and as human beings. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude that the board and I wish to convey to the new slate of officers and the many who serve without titles. We are thankful for all of you. Your support and contributions to our programs and ideals make a difference.

Please know that your value as a member is recognized, appreciated, valued, and cherished. We, the outgoing and incoming board members, thank you and look forward to continuing "in community" with all of you.

Peace and blessings,


“Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” William Butler Yeats

To view the ballot and to vote for the slate of officers, click here to access the Google form
Submissions for NCPS’ Student Poetry Contests Due Feb. 3

Applications must be postmarked by February 3rd, 2023 to be eligible. Simple submission guidelines can be found on the NCPS website, by clicking here

NCPS offers five great contests for North Carolina students:
  • Undergraduate Contest for students in a North Carolina college or university
  • Sherry Pruitt Contest for high school students in grades 10-12 (any topic)
  • Mary Chilton Contest for students grades 6-9 (any topic)
  • Joan Scott Contest for students grades 5-9 (environmental themes)
  • Travis Tuck Jordan Contest for students grades 3-5 (any topic)
There are no fees to enter, and first, second, and third place entries receive cash awards. Contest winners will be announced in early March.

The poems of first, second, and third place winners, as well as three poems recognized as honorable mentions, are published in the spring issue of the NCPS Pinesong and permanently archived online on the NCPS website.

Questions, Issues? Contact Jonathan Giles, NCPS Student Contest Coordinator at or text (919) 632-0696.
The Gilbert-Chappell Emerging Poets for 2023

The emerging poets for the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series for 2023 have been selected! In the western region, they include: middle school student Dylan Zhang of Winston-Salem; high school student Milo Gillespie of Marion; college student Mallory Edwards of Asheville; and Molly Bolton, adult, of Banner Elk. These students will work with Distinguished Poet Ken Chamlee during early spring 2023 and give reading(s) later on. Thanks to Western Regional Coordinator Caleb Beissert for overseeing the process.

In the central region, the emerging poets are: high school students Namrata Bingu of Charlotte and Joelis Hernandez Rodriguez of Indian Trail; college student Savannah Phillips of Kershaw (SC); and Kristia Vasiloff, adult, of Hillsborough. These poets will work with Distinguished Poet Grace Ocasio during early spring 2023 and give reading(s) later on. Thanks to Central Regional Coordinator Janis Harrington for helping oversee the process.

In the eastern region of North Carolina, the emerging poets selected are: middle school student Elie Lorenz of Wilmington; high school students Jess Wallace of Trinity and Justin Wellons of Hallsboro; and Marty Pitcairn, adult, of New Bern. These poets will work with Distinguished Poet Melinda Thomsen during early spring 2023 and give reading(s) later on. Thanks to Regional Coordinator Kelly Jones for overseeing the process.

These twelve emerging poets represent the future of lyric writing in North Carolina, and we look forward to seeing the work they produce with guidance from their distinguished mentors.
A Note from Dasan Ahanu, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.” - Thoreau

I recognized a long time ago that my job is to do what I can to bring the best out of those around me, to help build this community, and to build as much capacity for artists as I can. To help center the needs of folks of different races, perspectives, orientations, and socio-economic status.

Because the hard part of service is having to come to terms with the fact that a change is called for. It means reconciling that some folks might have been negatively affected by the change not happening soon enough. It means being honest about whether the gap identified was previously ignored or never seen. It means knowing that change don’t come easy. Regardless, pushing through to make the change can be radically transformational, impacting everyone for the better. 

My purpose is to use the gifts I have to do good work. Always considering the folks I have learned from and fought beside and followed and whether I can look in their eyes and not be concerned. It's a self-imposed standard I will not compromise. 

This is what guides me as I step into the role of Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair. 

"Art, along with architecture, is a record of humanity, a mirror to its society, politics, and aesthetics." - Ashish Anand, DAG

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will look at how all NCPS programming is developed to create a truly more inclusive and equitable culture for potential, emerging and established poets in North Carolina. This means examining at what access has and should look like. It means considering what the breadth of opportunities can be. Possibility will be the driving force. A belief that what is needed can be put in place and what must be done can be executed. 

The evaluation isn’t the work though. It is the foundation for figuring out what the framework for the work is. What I believe to be the goal of the committee is to use that framework to inform the investment of resources into supporting organizations and individuals that are addressing diversity and inclusion. We must affect practice. We must have an impact on the ground, across the state, in the communities our poets live. We must do this now.

I see myself as a convener, a moderator, a facilitator, and a listener. Someone who understands what this committee can accomplish and is committed to that becoming a reality. We will aid NCPS in helping to increase capacity in the community. To support folks who see the need for change. Folks who know what kind of beautiful talent is present. Folks who understand what is truly possible. Folks who are amazingly disparate and know that those who are like them are too often marginalized, dismissed, devalued, and overlooked. 

Our folks. Folks we will provide tangible resources to. Together.
Narrators of Black Life: Celebrating African American Poets

By Regina YC Garcia, NCPS External Programs Chairman

In recognition of the beautiful diversity of the written words that exist, we would like to take a moment to consider the substantial poetic contributions created by the historic poets in our nation who were and are of African descent.

The experiences of this particular diaspora have made their way into many genres of American writing throughout history. Names such as Phyllis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Zora Neale Hurston and others pepper early American history and contribute to the poetic literary canon of our country. 

In this month where we intentionally celebrate these historic contributions, we would be remiss if we did not consider some of the great poetry of this land written by Black Americans. These works not only narrate Black issues but also the polylithic culture of Blackness. For more poetry by some of the United States most notable Black writers, visit the collection on the Poetry Foundation website by clicking here.  
NCPS Poetry and Writing Informational Videos Available on YouTube

The NCPS External Programs Committee has set up a YouTube playlist titled “NCPS Poetry and Writing Informational Videos.” The playlist currently features videos from two events in the NCPS Presents series: “Melinda Thomsen in Taking Your Vitamins: Why Writing Poetry Book Reviews Is Good for Us” and “Kat Bodrie and George Wilkerson in Using Metaphor to Express Emotion.”

As more programs are conducted, the videos will be added to this same playlist. NCPS members are encouraged to subscribe and share with others who are interested in poetry and poetry-related information.
Monthly Craft Tip
Submitted by Nancy Martin-Young

You’ve probably been there—laboring to birth, line by turgid line, a poem that’s going nowhere. From dawn’s rosy fingertips to Longfellow-like “cool cisterns of the midnight air,” you slog along, but the poem refuses to come together. Something is off.

A sleeve of Thin Mints doesn’t help. Putting the piece aside for a day or a week offers no new insight. Even if you change the poetic form, maybe attempt a trendy ghazal, the result is still wrong somehow.

I have a radical suggestion. Maybe what you’re trying to write isn’t a poem.

When I taught film, I did a unit on adaptation, novel to movie. One phrase from New Criticism icon Cleanth Brooks leached into the lecture—"the heresy of paraphrase.” When you change a form, you go in a new direction. Stephen King’s The Shining is different from Kubrick’s. 

Years ago, I struggled with a poem about a church organist pushed beyond the brink by a computerized keyboard. I tried that poem in 4-line stanzas, in sonnet form, even as a spectacularly failing sestina. It made a terrific short story, however. 

The process works the other way too. I’ve killed darlings in my novels but resurrected them as successful poems.

Ask around. You will find that other poets shift shapes. I know a few. 

So the next time you sit staring at those uncooperative lines of verse, imagine them in a different shape, maybe –heresy!—a paragraph. You might find your solution.
Let’s Celebrate Poetry Month Together!
By Pat Riviere-Seel, member, Friends of Weymouth Board of Directors

Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities plans to post a poem by a North Carolina poet each day of April on their Facebook page to celebrate National Poetry Month, and they would like for NCPS members to help them select the poems. Pat Riviere-Seel, Friends of Weymouth board member and past NCPS President, will curate this event. 

Here are the guidelines:
  • Send ONE poem by an NC poet in a Word document attached to an email to Pat at:
  • In the Word document, include 3-line or 50-word bio for the poet, where the poem was published and the publication date.
  • You may send up to 3 poems for consideration; 3 poems by the same NC poet or 3 poems, each by a different poet. (Poems posted will be by 30 selected poets.) 
  • Each poem should be a maximum of one page (printed in a book) – this is Facebook, short attention spans.
  • Deadline: March 10, 2023
  • Poems will be considered for posting as they are received.
  • Poems by poets whose poems were featured on the Weymouth Facebook page in 2022 are not eligible for consideration in 2023.
  • Questions? Contact Pat at
This year as the NCPS celebrates its 90th birthday, Weymouth is celebrating 100 years of the historic Boyd House. Weymouth has been the permanent home for the NCPS for 35 years – since 1987. Let’s celebrate together on Facebook with 30 poems by NC poets. 
Poetry Submissions Calendar Update

Have you been wondering where to submit your poems for publication? Bill Griffin invites you to explore his blog for the January 2023 update of the Submissions Calendar. 

Since the last update in August 2022, more than 20 entries have been added. Corrections have also been made, including updating sites that are no longer accepting submissions. There are currently 278 journals and contests listed, along with web addresses or other contact information, and dates for when submissions open and close. 

The calendar is available at
Items for eMuse Wanted

If you have an event, opportunity, book launch, craft tip or other news to share, consider submitting your information to be featured in eMuse. Submissions should be made by the 20th of each month to meet publication deadlines.

Members and non-members can submit their items to this Google form.
Malaprop’s Bookstore to Host Hybrid Event on Feb. 5
On Sun., Feb., 5 Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC will host an event at 4:30 p.m. featuring Glenis Redmond, Molly Rice and Niina Pollari. This is a hybrid event, meaning there is an option to attend virtually and a limited number of seats are available to attend the event in-store.

The event is free but registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance. Complete details can be found at this link
Nexus Poets’ Open Mic to Feature Janis Harrington on Feb. 7

Prize-winning poet Janis Harrington of Chapel Hill, NC, is the featured poet at Nexus Poets’ poetry open mic on Tuesday, February 7 at 7 p.m. Harrington is author of the book How to Cut a Woman in Half, a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award in 2022. 

The event will be held on Zoom only. Poets are welcome to read one original poem following Harrington’s reading. For the Zoom link, and to sign up to read at the open mic, email All poets and listeners are welcome. 
Poetry Nightclub with Erin Belieu on Feb. 8
Erin Belieu will headline Charlotte Lit’s second installment of their new Poetry Nightclub series from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 8 at Starlight on 22nd in Charlotte, N.C. Tickets are $25 and include one drink. For more details or to purchase tickets, click here.

Belieu is the author of five poetry collections, all from Copper Canyon Press, including 2021’s Come-Hither Honeycomb. A Rona Jaffe Fellow and recent winner of the AWP George Garrett prize, her poems have appeared in places such as The New Yorker, Poetry, Slate, Atlantic Monthly and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, and have been selected for multiple appearances in the Best American Poetry anthology series. 
Flyleaf Poetry Series and Open Mic is Back on Feb. 12

Join us on Sunday, February 12th from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC. Two Press 53 poets will read from their latest books: Molly Rice (Forever Eighty-Eights) and Joe Mills (Bodies in Motion). An open mic will follow. Come early to sign up for the open mic, meet and reconnect, and browse the bookstore. For more information, click here

Mark your calendars for these Sundays: February 12, March 12, April 16, May 21 and June 11. 
Yetzirah to Hold Virtual Event on Feb. 12
Yetzirah will host their Reading Series during a virtual event at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12. The Series will feature Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Rodger Kamenetz and Jason Schneiderman. Registration is free, but donations are accepted. For more information, click here

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six. She is author of three collections: The Many Names for Mother; Don’t Touch the Bones; and 40 WEEKS (YesYes Books, 2023). Visit Julia’s profile in Yetzirah’s Jewish Poets Database.

Rodger Kamenetz wrote The Jew in the Lotus and Stalking Elijah, which won the National Jewish Book Award. The History of Last Night’s Dream was featured on Oprah’s Soul Series. Visit Rodger’s profile in Yetzirah’s Jewish Poets Database.

Jason Schneiderman is the author of four books of poems, most recently Hold Me Tight (Red Hen, 2020). He edited the anthology Queer: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press, 2016). Visit Jason’s profile in Yetzirah’s Jewish Poets Database.
Poets at Scup Taking Place Feb. 19

Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC, will host Poets at Scup on Sun., Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. The event features Joan Barasovska (Orange Tulips) and Ashley Lumpkin (Genesis). For complete details, please visit the Scuppernong Books website.

Barasovska lives in Orange County, NC. She cohosted a poetry series at the independent bookstore Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill and serves on the Board of the North Carolina Poetry Society. In 2020 she was nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. 

Lumpkin is a Georgia-raised, Carolina-based writer, editor, actor, and educator. She is the author of five poetry collections: At First Sight, Second Glance, Terrorism and Other Topics for Tea, #AshleyLumpkin, and Genesis.
Community Conversation with Matt Donovan Happening Feb. 22

Charlotte Lit will host a Community Conversation with Matt Donovan from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 22 at the hygge Belmont in Charlotte, NC.

This free event will feature a reading and conversation on American gun culture with Donovan, author of the poetry collection "The Dug-Up Gun Museum." For more details, click here.
Waterbean to Celebrate Kakalak 2022 Poets on Feb. 22
Waterbean Poetry Night at the Mic once again presents a celebration of Kakalak—this time, featuring Kakalak 2022 contributing poets & artists! Hosted by Leslie M. Rupracht, Waterbean Poetry Night’s cofounder, and Anne M. Kaylor, Kakalak publisher. 

The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 22 at Waterbean Coffee, Huntersville, NC. This event is free, inclusive, and open to the public. For more info, click here to visit the event page on Facebook.
McIntyre’s Books Poetry Series 2023 to be Held February 26

McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, NC, will hold their monthly poetry series from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 26. Janis Harrington and Dasan Ahanu are the featured poets for February.

Harrington coordinates the NCPS Gilbert-Chappell Poetry Mentorship Program for central North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry; Journal of the American Medical Association; North Carolina Literary Review; and numerous other journals. 

Ahanu is an award-winning poet and performance artist, cultural organizer, educator, scholar, and emcee based in Durham, North Carolina. He is also the committee chair for the NCPS Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Yetzirah's Summer Conference Slated for June 20 - 25
Yetzirah’s inaugural summer conference will be held June 20-25, 2023, in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in partnership with the University of North Carolina—Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies. 

The conference will consist of a mix of generative workshops focused around Jewish questions and themes, discussion panels, craft talks, readings with Faculty and a selection of Fellows and Scholars, as well as many shared meals and celebrations.

Full conference information can be found on the Yetzirah website.
Poem of the Month
On Liberty and Slavery

By George Moses Horton

Alas! and am I born for this,
To wear this slavish chain?
Deprived of all created bliss,
Through hardship, toil and pain!

How long have I in bondage lain,
And languished to be free!
Alas! and must I still complain—
Deprived of liberty.

Oh, Heaven! and is there no relief
This side the silent grave—
To soothe the pain—to quell the grief
And anguish of a slave?

Come Liberty, thou cheerful sound,
Roll through my ravished ears!
Come, let my grief in joys be drowned,
And drive away my fears.

Say unto foul oppression, Cease:
Ye tyrants rage no more,
And let the joyful trump of peace,
Now bid the vassal soar.

Soar on the pinions of that dove
Which long has cooed for thee,
And breathed her notes from Afric’s grove,
The sound of Liberty.

Oh, Liberty! thou golden prize,
So often sought by blood—
We crave thy sacred sun to rise,
The gift of nature’s God!

Bid Slavery hide her haggard face,
And barbarism fly:
I scorn to see the sad disgrace
In which enslaved I lie.

Dear Liberty! upon thy breast,
I languish to respire;
And like the Swan unto her nest,
I’d like to thy smiles retire.

Oh, blest asylum—heavenly balm!
Unto thy boughs I flee—
And in thy shades the storm shall calm,
With songs of Liberty!

About George Moses Horton

Born a slave on William Horton’s tobacco plantation, Horton taught himself to read. Around 1815 he began composing poems in his head, saying them aloud and “selling” them to an increasingly large crowd of buyers at the weekly Chapel Hill farmers market. Students at the nearby University of North Carolina bought his love poems and lent him books.

As his fame spread, he gained the attention of Caroline Lee Whiting Hentz, a novelist and professor’s wife who transcribed his poetry and helped publish it in her hometown newspaper. With her assistance, Horton published his first collection of poetry, The Hope of Liberty (1829), becoming the first African American man to publish a book in the South—and one of the first to publicly protest his slavery in poetry.

Read more about George Moses Horton at
Membership Reminders
NCPS Dues Scholarship Program

A member or potential new member can write to Joan Barasovska, Sr. VP of Membership, at to ask about obtaining a dues scholarship.

Scholarships are funded by member donations. Confidentiality is central to this program. If you are on a limited income and paying NCPS dues presents a hardship, or you know a poet who would benefit from joining but is held back by tight finances, please write to Joan at

If you are interested in being added to the list of dues sponsors, write to Bill Griffin, You would not be asked to pay until a scholarship is requested.
NCPS Dues Reminder

Quarterly meetings, readings, workshops, contests, fellowships, publications, and collaborations keep the North Carolina poetry community connected and vibrant. We invite you to renew your involvement and take advantage of all that the NCPS offers its members. During this season of online meetings and readings we have continued our quarterly meetings on Zoom, allowing members from all locations, including out of state, to attend virtually.

While dues were once paid in May, we have converted to a simpler rolling system. The day your payment to renew membership is recorded will become your new due date the following year. Your due date is on the mailing label of your copies of Pine Whispers, the paper newsletter.

There are two ways to pay the $30 annual dues ($10 for students):
  • Pay by check (for mailing address click on link below for downloadable form);
  • PayPal, either in a one-time payment (no need for a PayPal account to use your credit card), or the easy option of an automatic annual payment with a PayPal account.
For more information, visit the NCPS website Membership page

If you have questions about membership, please write to Joan Barasovska at
Copies of the 2022 Pinesong Anthology Available

If you would like to receive a copy of the newly published 2022 Pinesong, the anthology of winning poetry from the Pinesong Awards contests, please write to Joan at There will be no charge for mailing.

This offer is for members in good standing. If you're uncertain about your dues status, Joan can help you.
The North Carolina Poetry Society is an inclusive, welcoming community that does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, political preference, or any other category that has been used to divide human beings from each other and the natural world.  We value diverse voices and varieties of expression.
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Copyright © 2023 North Carolina Poetry Society, All rights reserved.

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