Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

 NCPS 90th Anniversary Celebration  1932 – 2022

Vitality. Fellowship. Healing. These are the qualities the arts spark, and they are what North Carolina needs to rebuild its economy and emerge resiliently from the pandemic. This is why the North Carolina Arts Council created Spark the Arts.  Arts organizations of all sorts may download the pdf here:  http://SparkTheArts_Logo_Guide.pdf

SPARK THE ARTS is an awareness campaign designed to inspire public participation in the arts -- including poetry events -- across North Carolina by highlighting the unique way the arts lift spirits, bring people together, and heal. Our goal is to ignite the resurgence of North Carolina’s arts sector from the pandemic by connecting residents and visitors to arts experiences and arts stories across our state.

The hashtag #SparkTheArtsNC hashtag promotes in-person arts events now. In-person poetry events, even those that are ZOOMED simultaneously, are invited to use the logos and the hashtag.


Poetry In Plain Sight is a GO for 2023!

North Carolina Poetry Society is excited to announce the 2023 Poetry In Plain Sight program will happen next year!  After being in limbo for several months, we have a talented and energetic new NCPS State Coordinator, Hannah Ringler of Durham. Hurrah! Sam Barbee will stay active with PIPS to assist Hannah with the transition.

This unique community outreach opportunity connects poets, poetry, and new audiences in cities across the state.

Poetry In Plain Sight was originally launched in Winston-Salem in 2013, to bring North Carolina poetry and poets to the public.  Four poems are chosen for each of the twelve months and displayed on posters in street-visible locations throughout arts districts, bookstores, and downtown areas in Winston-Salem, Burnsville, Wilmington, Greensboro, Greenville, and Hannah will add Durham to the list of Host Cities.

This program is a collaborative effort of the North Carolina Poetry Society, North Carolina Writer’s Network, Winston-Salem Writers, and Press 53 of Winston-Salem.  Funding is through sponsorships and donations.

Poetry In Plain Sight is open to any poet who is a current resident of North Carolina.  Submissions will be accepted beginning November 6 th through December 4th, and are free to paid-up adult members of the NC Poetry Society; they are $5 for adult non-members by Paypal on the Poetry In Plain Sight webpage. A donation to the program is an option on the same button. Donations fund poster printing, mailing, and exciting expansions of the program!

Submissions: Each poet can submit once in the submission cycle through the Google Form here:

Although there is no limitation on theme or subject matter, all submissions should be suitable for public viewing. Additionally, poems with “breathing room” in their structure present best; dense blocks of text don’t really work as posters.

Format 1-3 poems into one document, .doc or .docx file type. Due to the broadside poster medium, poems must not exceed 20 lines, be in 12 point font, and lines should not exceed 4.5 inches.

The three judges for the 2023-24 poems will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 48 selected poster poems should be announced in February newsletters and other media.

Please visit the NC Poetry Society  under the Contest heading for more information.
Submitted by George T. Wilkerson

Robert Frost, the renowned poet, said, “A poem…begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” He was describing emotions, saying his poems began as feelings. A frown or smile or furrowed brow of feeling. And since feelings don’t just spontaneously self-create inside our chests, for Frost, neither did poems.  Rather, when something, someone, or some thought birthed a feeling — that was the heart of a poem.

But why write it down and shape those words into poetry? As a poet, my answer is this: to share that emotion with others, to offer my fellow humans a chance to empathize. Outwardly, our lives may seem like gray-skinned aliens to each other, but poems can plug into our Universal
emotions, transcending our differences to highlight our common humanity.

Though falling in love may be a Universal that has inspired millions of poems, merely writing I’m in love is too abstract if I aim to connect. In poems, abstractions are Plexiglas panels between writer and reader, keeping our hearts from touching. But concrete sensory details (sight, sound, etc.) give readers ways to embody our experience.

For instance, love is filling my clear plastic tumbler with scalding water, scooping in dusty coffee, then watching it bloom through the water — like the emotion I feel when my girlfriend laughs at my jokes.

Who can’t relate to that?

George T. Wilkerson is a published poet, writer, and artist on North Carolina’s Death Row. He is the author of Interface and Bone Orchard: Reflections on Life after Sentence of Death, co-author of Inside: Voices from Death Row, and the editor of Compassion, a newsletter by and for incarcerated individuals. A four-time PEN award winner, he loves playing basketball, listening to 90s hip-hop, and eating Fruity Pebbles.
eMuse Seeking Your Poetic Writing Expertise for Craft Tips

If you have advice and tips to share with your fellow NCPS members, consider submitting them to be featured in eMuse.

Your craft tip should be submitted in a Word doc of no more than 250 words. Please include a title and your name.

Please use
THIS GOOGLE FORM to submit your craft tip.
Open this email in your browser and click the following links to navigate the newsletter
2022-23 Gilbert-Chappell Series Deadline Approaching!

A new academic year brings another opportunity for emerging poets to study with established poets as part of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, a state-wide program sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society.  Submissions are welcome from all ages, from middle school through adulthood.  Mentee poets revise their poetry with the help of a mentor, then give a reading in the spring and have their poems published in our yearly Witness anthology.  Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2022.  To read more and for guidelines for submission, click here.   (

Have you been wondering where to submit your poems for publication? Bill
Griffin invites you to explore his blog for the August update of the –
SUBMISSIONS CALENDAR – which he has compiled over the past several

The table lists over 250 journals and contests, with web address or other
contact information, and indicates by month when submissions open and
close. It is available as a .PDF for download from

Also featured is a "how to" page about formatting poetry on a WordPress site.
Bill adds frequently to the submissions calendar and posts an updated version
two or three times a year. Bill requests:
If you find any information in the table that has changed or is incorrect
please let me know! And please send your own favored journal information
for me to add to the next update to:


❦ ❦ ❦


Every Friday Morning Bill Griffin posts at VERSE & IMAGE: new
microessays, nature photography, and poems by featured poets. Around 150
poets are indexed on the site’s home page, many from North Carolina and the
Southeast. In the past few weeks featured poets have included:

John Hoppenthaler
M. Scott Douglass
Ellen Bass
Linda Hogan
Maria Rouphail
Shuly Xóchitl Cawood
Denton Loving
Keri Gunter-Seymour
Pam Baggett
Rebecca Baggett
Please visit and leave a comment!


Please use THIS LINK to submit your events.
DEADLINE for December eMUSE IS November 15th
Open this email in your browser and click the following links to find events near you!


Poets & Poetry Matters (PPM) include interviews and readings with poets whose body of work answers the question, can poetry matter or do poets matter with a resounding, "Yes!" It was created and is hosted by the current NCPS president, Celestine Davis, in honor of the NC Poetry Society's 90th anniversary. Her other objectives are to highlight the poets as people behind the poetry we love and to promote greater awareness of poets' motivations, inspirations, and aspirations for their works. Finally, she hoped to build greater awareness of poets and the power of poetry within the communities we all live. You are not going to want to miss the final segments for 2022.  

Sam Love
Sam, a former environmental activist, freelance writer, and documentary filmmaker transitioned from producing video to poetry where readers can make the movie in their heads.
He lives in New Bern, N.C. and has published three poetry books: Awakening: Musings on Planetary Survival  by Fly on the Wall Press, Manchester, England: Cogitation by Unsolicited Press: and Earth Resonance: Poems for a Viable Future, a collection of his environmental poems will be published this year by Poetry Box in Portland Oregon.

Sam's award-winning self-published illustrated children’s book My Little Plastic Bag is available in Spanish and English.
In 1970 Sam worked on the national staff of the first Earth Day. Over the years he published articles in mass circulation magazines including Washingtonian and Smithsonian. His poems have appeared in Kakalak, Slippery Elm, Voices on the Wind, The Lyricist, Flying South, Sleet and other publications. Eno, published by Duke University, has published seven of his environmental poems. Sam is also the President of Nexus Poets of New Bern, NC.
You can see Sam read poetry selections at
Saturday, December 10th at 7 PM

Featured Poets to be announced but we will include a Free-For-All Open Mic!


Back by popular demand; our inaugural spoken word event was a huge success! We have no doubt that this art form and night life scene is for the people of this area and ENC!

Because we want to make sure you have an opportunity to experience it, we have created another amazing evening just for you!

Introducing from Wilson NC; Arica!
Hosted by Kinston NC’s Poet Laureate Chyna Doll!
Featuring Multi-Emmy Award Winning Spoken Word Artist BLUZ!

First Friday ArtWalk Reception
November 4, 2022, 5-8 PM

Open Mic at the Greenville Museum of Art on November 4th at the Greenville Museum of Art. Nathan Black and Susan Luddeke are reading from their published works but the first 45 minutes of the event is an open mic.
802 South Evans Street
Greenville, NC 27834


Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop with Jaki Shelton Green, NC Poet Laureate

WHEN: Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST
WHERE: NC Museum of Art

Join NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green for this invigorating two-hour ekphrastic poetry workshop designed to expand your experience with art and inspire your writing.

The tradition of engaging with works of art is known in poetry as ekphrasis (the Greek ek for out of + phrasis for expression). We invite you to learn how to use art from the People's Collection as a springboard for your own poems, stories, and memoirs.

The workshop is open to writers at all stages of their careers and will offer poets a range of approaches to connect with a work of art in another medium.


(This workshop will also be offered at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) on Saturday, December 10, from 10 am–noon. Registration:

Beauty, Humor, and Hope: an On-Line Poetry Workshop in Two Parts

taught by Pam Baggett

Political, social, and climate chaos, combined with the pandemic, have led to anger, trauma, despair, grief. Yet we mustn’t, as Jane Hirshfield says, “be rude to joy.” In this two-part generative workshop, we’ll look at poems that, in Jack Gilbert’s words, “risk delight,” then begin crafting our own. Writers working at all levels and in other genres are welcome. The workshops are free.

Note: The workshops are self-contained and will each feature different poems. You’re welcome to attend both; it’s not necessary to be present at the first workshop in order to participate in the second.

Sunday, November 13, 2-4 pm
Nov. 13:

Sunday December 4, 2-4 pm
Dec. 4:


A Million Tones of Truth
“A million heavenly symphonies each played a million tones of truth” -
The Flower Ornament Scripture

The Perceiver of Sound League presents an improvising orchestra with speakers, poets and open mic. on November 6th at ETC, 1333 Grove St.

Bring your truth! The Perceiver of Sound League presents A Million Tones of Truth, in which an improvising orchestra of tremendous sensitivity will accompany your testimony of truth. You can tell your story, read your own poem or someone else’s, or pick a Shell from our Canon to read. Or sing, or dance, or holler if that's your modality. Instrumental soloists also welcome! All the Chaos will be Organized by our Heiropompus Gavin Glass, O.B.S.C.E.. And if you just want to listen, fine! we will bring in some real Ringers and Prophets and maybe even a Joker or two to fire you up-- so you may just find you need to Testify. All ages so keep it clean. All will be recorded and participation will be interpreted as a license for the Perceiver of Sound League to use your contributions in a future video, audio, substim, transdermal and/or microsonic release.


WHEN: Sunday, November 13, 2022
WHERE: The Auto Pour in Charlotte, NC

Exchange Your Grievance for Gratitude at WINE ABOUT POETRY Open Mic - curated and hosted by Frank Expression.

All Performance Art Forms are Welcome! Whether you are or know a Poet, Singer, Rapper, Comedian, Instrumentalist or artist of any kind, reserve your slot today.

Artists Must Sign Up In Advance

- N O R E F U N D S -


Charlotte Lit’s Poetry Nightclub
is new way to engage with the world’s oldest form of storytelling. Each quarter, Charlotte Lit will host a critically acclaimed poet for an evening performance that goes beyond traditional reading and book signing events.

Imagine soft lighting, café tables, live music, adult beverages, including a specialty cocktail. In addition to reading from their work, our poets—old stars and new!—will take us beyond the words on the page to share poems by poets who have shaped their work, show us how life has shaped their vocations and how being a poet has shaped their lives, and engage the audience in conversations about the ways poetry intersects with other aspects of culture.

Poetry Nightclub will be held at a great new venue, Starlight on 22nd in NoDa, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, and your first drink is on us.

Chen Chen

Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m
Location: Starlight on 22nd, NoDa
Get Tickets

Wednesday, November 9 at 6:30 pm. Charlotte Lit hosts award-winning poet Chen Chen as the first installment of our new Poetry Nightclub series!

In addition to reading from his work, Chen Chen will take us beyond the words on the page to share poems by poets who have shaped his work, show us how life has shaped his vocation and how being a poet has shaped his life, and engage the audience in conversations about the ways poetry intersects with other aspects of culture. Charlotte Poet Laureate Jay Ward will open with a selection of his own work.

Poetry Nightclub will be held at a great new venue, Starlight on 22nd in NoDa, from 6:30 – 9:00 pm. Tickets are $25. First drink is on us!

Click here for ticket and more info!


Join us for our monthly poetry event featuring three poets and coordinated by Mildred Barya. This month, we welcome Sarah Cooper, Barbara Costas-Biggs, and AE Hines. This is a hybrid event, meaning there is an option to attend virtually and a limited amount of seats available to attend the event in-store. The event is free but registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance

Please click here to register for the VIRTUAL event. The link required to attend will be emailed to registrants prior to the event. 

Please click here to register for the IN-PERSON event. 

This event includes a book signing. If you are not attending in person but would like a signed book you may request one using the comments field when you order online or by call the store at 828-254-6734 during store hours.

If you decide to attend and purchase the authors' books, we ask that you purchase from Malaprop's. When you do this you make it possible for us to continue hosting author events and you keep more dollars in our community. You may also support our work by purchasing a gift card or making a donation of any amount below. Thank you! Feel free to email with questions. We look forward to seeing you, whether in-person or online!

Maria Rouphail’s eye is unflinching yet her voice is forgiving as she recalls the lyric memories of a family’s history of trauma. From the title poem that takes the reader to “a dark river hauling out of a glacier in Tibet, / all dragon sheen and muscle moving” to “an orange sky” over LA where “freeways writhe like ropes of fire,” Maria Rouphail explores the landscapes of longing and loss between mothers and daughters. The poems are like trees that bloom and burn with each turn of the page."
Beth Copeland, author of Blue Honey, recipient of the 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize.
Maria Rouphail is the 2022 winner of NCPS’s Pinesong Awards Poet Laureate Contest.
Preorder at:

October Readings for Orange Tulips by Joan Barasovska

October 6, Thursday, 7:00, virtual book launch with JS Absher

October 11, Tuesday, 6:30, Taste Full Beans, Hickory
October 15, Saturday, 1:30, West End Poetry Festival, Carrboro
October 19, Wednesday, 7:00, So&So Books, Raleigh, with Maria Rouphail and Tony Reevy
October 30, Sunday, 2:00, McIntyre’s Books, Pittsboro, with Maria Rouphail and Tony Reevy
for more information
Poet Maureen Sherbondy has had enough. Her eleventh collection, Lines in Opposition, explores our need to set limits in times of conflict and confusion. These poems of defiance range from the artistic to the political to the familial, from Basho to Godot, Gretel to Ashbery, the Rockettes to Bubble Yum. At times wry and whimsical, at other times acutely serious, Sherbondy's poems testify to the importance of knowing when and how to draw the line.

Available for purchase:
“I am in awe of Katherine Soniat’s latest collection, Polishing the Glass Storm. Her poetic energies and talents are many and fierce – mystery, imagination, story, knowledge, music and wonder. Here, the narrator wings us through birth, fear, sorrow, loss (including the loss of her own twin at birth) – as she says, ‘in love as I am with absence’ – as generations unfold and fold, in image and story. Some of those stories are ‘soft ones, with feathers at the bottom,’ told ‘with the island nature of the mind.’ Others are so tactile and gripping, they were surely written with the narrator’s bare knuckles or the bear’s ‘warm saliva,’ leaving the reader ‘freshly skinned and slick… .’ This collection captivates, energizes and charms. I’ll return to it again and again.”
—Dannye Romine Powell, author of In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver

Available for purchase:
In this stunning sequence of sonnets—a sequence that reads like a novel—Janis Harrington spins a narrative of intergenerational family tragedy, but also of sisterly devotion and resilience. The whole sweep of it is so compelling that once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. How to Cut a Woman in Half takes the reader through shock and grief and then, very subtly and tenderly, back from the edge of an abyss. —Cecilia Woloch, author of Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem and Earth

Finalist for the 2020 Able Muse Book Award
Available from Able Muse Press:

Posters from past years of the Poetry in Plain Sight program are still available!  $10 for the first two posters and $1 for each additional poster up to 10.  Contact Sam Barbee at for an up-to-date count and list of posters.
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. The link below will guide you.

Here is the link to the NCPS website Membership page. Please explore the entire website and see what’s new!

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.



Sonnet [Our days in swift succession bid us on]
Luis G. Dato - 1906-1985

Our days in swift succession bid us on
To these unchartered, desolate domains,
Where over deserts strewn with the remains
Of unreturning caravans long gone,
We follow trails that, winding, go astray
Into the dull horizon. We know not
What ending’s there, what fortunes be our lot,
When tired and spent we reach our destined way.
We only know that with each onward move,
We leave behind us friends we cherished most,
Old friends, who, unsustained, their path have lost,
Warm hearts that, hoping, beat for those they love.
We know that time relentless bids us on
To stranger lands, only to dead men known.

From Manila: A Collection of Verse (Imp. Paredes, Inc., 1926) by Luis Dato. This poem is in the public domain.

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.
Copyright © 2022 North Carolina Poetry Society, All rights reserved.

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