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Images above:  Signage, grounds and interior space of Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, Southern Pines, North Carolina.
For more information about Sam Ragan, read this article by Kathryn Talton, and visit

 The North Carolina Poetry Society Holds Sam Ragan Pinesong Awards Day, Saturday, May 8, 2021 
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM via Zoom

North Carolina Poetry Society Celebrates Sam Ragan Pinesong Awards Day Saturday, May 8, 10-2

This will be online gathering at Feel free to pop in beginning at 9:45 AM

We'll pay homage to Ragan as a literary arts advocate and poet. Sam Ragan (1915-1996) was born into a tobacco farming family in Berea, North Carolina, where he earned the nickname "The Brea Bard" because of his way with words. He was a newspaper owner-editor, educator, the first Secretary of Cultural Resources in North Carolina, and served as the Chairman of the North Carolina Arts Council. His literary column, "Southern Accent" appeared in The Pilot of Southern Pines and ran for 48 years. It was read in every state and 27 countries. Sam also had the distinction of being honored as North Carolina's Poet Laureate in 1982. Due to his advocacy and leadership, the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame was established in 1996 and located in the James Boyd Study at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines. Ragan was inducted into the Literary Hall of Fame in 1997, the year after his death. Ragan is remembered today as North Carolina's Literary Godfather. His service to the literary community is only part of his legacy. Of his six collections of poetry, two earned Pulitzer Prize nominations.
In the foreword of Sam Ragan: North Carolina's Literary Godfather, by Lewis Bowling, is a poem by Lois Holt. In the last lines of her poem "About Sam Ragan," she writes about his distinct representation of North Carolina.
"He is Boone, Little Washington and Chocowinity / overalls and chewing tobacco /  black tie and tails / the dignity of Biltmore."
She ends the poem as she began it with “He is the South / as it was, is and should be.”
The NCPS has chosen this day to honor Sam Ragan by celebrating the winners of the 2021 Adult and Student Pinesong Contest. In Sam’s memory, we recommit to expanding the writing and appreciation of poetry in North Carolina.
10:00 AM: Business Meeting
Malaika King Albrecht presiding.
Brief Announcements from Celestine Davis, VP of Programming 
Sherry Pederson Thrasher, Pinesong Editor, introduction of Pinesong Dedicatee
10: 30 AM: Jonathan Giles, Student Contests Director, introduces Contest winners reading their poems
11:30 AM Open Mic: The number of  Contest readers may limit or eliminate time allotted for Open Mic
12:00 PM to 1 PM Lunch. The meeting will be paused, but we invite you to pop in to visit. Our unofficial facilitator of lunchtime is the fabulous Caren Stuart. A few board members and others are sure to be around. Grab a bite and visit. Listen in or join lively conversations.
1:00 PM Craig Kittner, Adult Contests Director introduces Adult Contest Readers
2:00 PM Meeting closes.
Thanks for coming! We look forward to seeing you in September!
Program Notes ❖ Link to NC Bookwatch Video on PBS: Sam Ragan: North Carolina's Literary Godfather by Lewis Bowling (Aired October 25, 2020). ❖ Lisa Holt is a past President of the NC Poetry Society and a past Chair of the NC Writers’ Network ❖ Learn more about Sam Ragan's contributions:
PICTURED LEFT:  Susan Flanders Alff, winner, Poet Laureate Award.  preliminary judge was Taylor Byas;  final selection was made by Jaki Shelton Green, North Carolina Poet LaureateThe poem's title is “Piecework.”
2021 Adult Pinesong Award Winners and Award-Winning Poems
NCPS Adult Pinesong Award Director Craig Kittner has announced the selections of our illustrious judges for the North Carolina Poetry Society Pinesong Awards for 2021. North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green shared with Craig, “It is both delightful and inspiring to read the breadth of literary genius we have in our State.” The first, second, or honorable mention awards and will be published in the Pinesong anthology.

Poet Laureate Award
Preliminary Judge Taylor Byas, final selection by Jaki Shelton Green, 64 entries
Winner: “Piecework” by Susan Alff
Finalists: “The Children’s Section” by Laura Alderson “Synagogue 1964” by Joanne Durham “Compost” by Janet Ford “Garage” by Maura High “Fruit” by Jo Ann Hoffman “The Day After Christmas” by Sandra Pope “Lessons In Applied Etymology” by Celisa Steele “Orphaned” by Andrew Taylor-Troutman “Standing at the Fence Staring into Cow Eyes Waiting for a Sign” by Lucinda Trew

Alice Osborn Award (poems written for children)
Judge Corrie Williamson, 30 entries
First Place: “A Bucket List for Spring” by Shelly Reed Thieman
Second Place: “Flying Lesson” by Nancy Swanson
Honorable Mention: “Cow Lullaby” by Jeffery Beam, “Suppose” by Carmen Dressler Ward

Carol Bessent Hayman Poetry of Love Award
Judge Lindsay Rice, 84 entries
First Place: “Love in Black and White” by Jenny Bates
Second Place: “Summoning My Grandmother in Dream” by Margie Emshoff
Honorable Mention: “Milkshakes in May” by Pam Baggett, “Bowerbirds” by Hilda Downer, “Ruby and Darling” by Gary Phillips

Joanna Catherine Scott Award (sonnet or other traditional form)
Judge Leatha Kendrick, 36 entries
First Place: “Lost Poem” by Mark Smith-Soto
Second Place: “Field Peas – A Mirrored Poem” by Gary Phillips
Honorable Mention: “Near Sonnet for Full Revelry” by S. L. Cockerille “Petition” by Benjamin Cutler “frosted brown weed patch” by Richard Ramsey

Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award
Judge Amie Whittemore, 63 entries
First Place: “Vespers” by Ana Pugatch
Second Place: “Her Kitchen Hands Make Love” by Mary Alice Dixon
Honorable Mention: “Back Yard Conundrum” by Les Brown “The Art of Fishing” by Earl Carlton Huband “Soliloquy of a Couch Potato” by Martin Settle

Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award (heritage, sibling-hood, or nature themed)
Judge Davis McCombs, 68 entries
First Place: “What is at stake” by Mary Hennessy
Second Place: “Glory” by Laura Alderson
Honorable Mention: “The Barn” by Les Brown “Morning Walk in a Small Coastal Town” by Jo Ann Hoffman “the moonlight” by Jonathan Humphrey

Poetry of Courage Award
Judge Robin Anna Smith, 58 entries
First Place: “Storms” by Lucia Walton Robinson
Second Place: “On Hope” by Emily Wilmer
Honorable Mention: “Ode to Epilepsy” by Diana Ewell Engel “You, a Vessel” by Anne Maren-Hogan “Nestlings” by Nancy Young

Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness Award (contemporary events or issues)
Judge Kristina Erny, 55 entries
First Place: “Blank Billboard Blues” by Jeanne Julian
Second Place: “Assume the Position” by JeanMarie Olivieri
Honorable Mention: “White Harvest” by Joyce Brown “Whose Garden Is It?” by Kathleen Calby

Bloodroot Haiku Award
Judge Tanya McDonald, 61 entries
First Place: “emerald sheen” by Anne Curran
Second Place: “boa tank” by Jay Friedenberg
Honorable Mention: “the dry bellies” by Seren Fargo “a split keel” by Debbie Strange

Ruth Morris Moose Sestina Award
Judge Barbara Sabol, 17 entries
First Place: “Old Man with Old Dog” by Jane Shlensky
Second Place: “Bird Counts” by Jeanne Julian
Honorable Mention: “Cloud-Reading” by Erica Reid “The Healing Miles” by Melinda Thomsen “My Will Turned Into a Sestina” by Susan Willey Spalt

Thomas H. McDill Award
Judge Virgil Suárez, 75 entries
First Place: “The Children’s Memorial: A Blueprint” by Don Ball
Second Place: “The Stone Wall” by Ana Pugatch
Honorable Mention: “Epiphany” by Joseph Mills, “The Caryatids” by Andrew Weatherly
Pictured at right: Christina Polge  
Christina won First Place for her poem, “manifest destiny" in the Sherry Pruitt Contest for 9th grade through undergraduate students.  Christina is an 11th Grader at Cary Academy, Cary, NC. Her teachers are Palmer Seeley and Michael McElreath. Leslie Rupracht served as Judge for this contest.
2021 NCPS Student Contest Winners and Award-Winning Poems

Student Contests Director Jonathan Giles is pleased to announce the North Carolina Poetry Society student award winners for the 2021 season with the participation of nearly 150 students! Thanks to the all the educators who were instrumental in making this a successful program.

Travis Tuck Jordan Award – Students 3rd through 5th Grades
Judge: Clark Holtzman
First place: “Circle of Light” by Annabel Haynes, 5th Grade, Morehead Montessori, Durham, NC. Teacher: Jennifer Harrison.
Second place: “Where I’m From” by Clio Dunmire, 5th Grade, Tiller School, Beaufort, NC. Teacher: Cristina Quattrone.
Third place: “The Wolf’s Song and the Tree’s Dance” by Emerson Lane, 4th Grade, Pleasant Grove Elementary School, Raleigh, NC. Teacher: Erin Lane.
First Honorable Mention: “A Crown of Blue and Green,” by Selah Steele-Cobb, 4th Grade, Frank Porter Graham Bilingue, Chapel Hill, NC. Teacher: Cristina Bryan
Second Honorable Mention: “Nature,” by Levi Shelton, 4th Grade, Jeffreys Grove Elementary School, Raleigh, NC. Teacher: Mariela Quiros.
Third Honorable Mention: “Alive” by Grace Letchworth, 4th Grade, Pleasant Grove Elementary School, Raleigh, NC. Teacher: Amber Bell.

Joan Scott Environment Award – 3rd through 8th Grades
Judge: Grace Ocasio
First Place: “Autumn Daydreaming” by Annabelle Nichols, 4th Grade, Adams Elementary School, Cary, NC. Teacher: Shavone Wilkins.
Second Place: “Earthrise” by Michael Liu, 8th Grade, Kennedy Middle School, Charlotte, NC. Teacher: Xiaobin Chen.
Third Place: “The Salmon Mission” by Liam Larson, 5th Grade, Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary School, Raleigh, NC. Teacher: Susan Howard.
First Honorable Mention: “The Mockingbird” by Annabel Haynes, 5th Grade, Morehead Montessori School, Durham, NC. Teacher: Jennifer Harrison.
Second Honorable Mention: “An Invitation From a Cheetah” by Leah Silliman, 4th Grade, Tiller Charter School, Beaufort, NC. Teacher: Cristina Quattrone.
Third Honorable Mention: “Storm Cycle” by Reese Noel, 3rd Grade, The Oakwood School, Greenville, NC. Teacher: Molly Hostetler.

Mary Chilton Award – Students 6th through 8th Grade
Judge: Allison Hutchcraft
First Place: “Dentistry is Heavy Construction” by Josiah Oakes, 6th Grade, Franklin School of Innovation, Asheville, NC. Teacher: Anne Moren Hegan.
Second Place: “I Ask Dad How I Should Live My Life” by Abigail Cutler, 7th Grade, Swain Middle School, Bryson City, NC. Teacher: Curtis Sikes.
Third Place: “The Movie of My Life” by Chance Biehn, 7th Grade, Carolina Friends School, Durham, NC. Mentor: Joan Barasovska.
Honorable Mention: “Snowfall” by Sanjana Solanki, 6th Grade, West Cary Middle School, Cary, NC. Teacher: Tara Hill

Sherry Pruitt Award – Students 9th Grade through Undergraduate
Judge: Leslie Rupracht
First Place: “manifest destiny” by Christina Polge, 11th Grade, Cary Academy, Cary, NC. Teachers: Palmer Seeley and Michael McElreath.
Second Place: “Passing” by Jessica Fan, 10th Grade, Hickory Ridge Highschool, Harrisburg, NC. Teacher: Krista Hodsden.
Third Place: “Off” by Saran Wenmueller, 12th Grade, Gaston Day School, Gastonia, NC. Teacher: Hazel Foster.
First Honorable Mention: “Remembering Summer Nights” by Brigid May, 11th Grade, Holly Springs High School, Holly Springs, NC. Teacher: Amanda Kain.
Second Honorable Mention: “It Matters” by Shaun Kawalec, 9th Grade, R. J. Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, NC. Teacher: Pamela Henderson-Kirkland.
Third Honorable Mention: “Dreams of an Elementary School Friend” by Ellie Kim, Sophomore, Duke University. Professor: Enn-Ling Chen.
If you are an NCPS member in good standing and would like your free copy of Pinesong 2021 with this year's winning poems, write to Joan at No charge for mailing.

Track Your Submissions and Submit Your Work Online - by Kat Bodrie


During a conference workshop a couple years ago, a woman in her 60's raised her hand and asked the session leader, “How do I submit my manuscript online?” As an elderly millennial, I was surprised. It didn’t occur to me that some people were still submitting their poems, chapbooks, and collections through the mail rather than online. Since I started submitting poetry to publications in 2012, I’ve learned a few things that help with the submission process and my sanity. Duotrope ($5 a month, or $50 a year): Allows you to search for publications and opportunities and to track your submissions. If a publisher or contest isn’t listed in their database, you can request they add it. I get a lot from the weekly email newsletter, which lists recently opened markets and upcoming themed deadlines.Submittable (free): Many, if not most, literary magazines allow you to use Submittable to submit your poems and manuscripts. On your end, Submittable shows your submissions at a glance, broken down into categories (active, accepted, declined, and withdrawn). You can also find submission opportunities through the “Discover” link on the website. Spreadsheets: Many poets use their own personal spreadsheets to record submissions, even if they also use Duotrope and Submittable. You can keep a list of all your submissions with columns for due date, date submitted, poems submitted, results, web links, notes, etc. I also list upcoming opportunities on my spreadsheet, and if I miss the deadlines, I move them to my “Did Not Submit” sheet. At the beginning of every year, I create a new spreadsheet for the upcoming year, and I copy and paste opportunities from one year to the next.

Submitting your writing online is a convenient way to show your work to editors and hone your technological skills. Just keep in mind that editors are subjective, there are a lot of other poets submitting, and even the best poets (and poems) receive rejections. Keep the faith, and keep submitting!
Introduce yourself and learn more about new NCPS member, Kat Bodrie, here:
POETRY SUBMISSION CALENDAR – GRIFFINPOETRY.COM every week posts a new essay, photography, and poems by featured poets – over 100 poets are indexed on the site’s home page. In the past few weeks featured poets have included:
        Rebecca Lindenberg
        Diana Pinckney
        David Radavich
        Jenny Bates
        Dorianne Laux
        Tony Hoagland
        Wendell Berry
        Gary Snyder
Bill includes “how to” post about publishing poetry on a WordPress site.

If you are wondering where to submit your poems for publication, Bill Griffin invites you to share the latest update of the submissions calendar he has compiled over the past several years: The table lists over 130 journals and contests, with a web address or other contact information, and indicates by month when submissions open and close. It is available as a .PDF for download from He frequently adds to the table 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 me your own favored journal information for me to add to the next update!
Palmer Smith is an emerging writer who began her MFA in September 2020 at Columbia University. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and wrote for the SLC Phoenix newspaper while in college. Her article, "23 Life Lessons," was published in Thought Catalog, becoming an Editor’s Pick of the Week in June 2018. She writes about American Southern culture, relationships, childhood, and dreams. She hopes to teach writing and literature at the college level.  NOTE:  LIMITED SEATS REMAIN FOR THIS READING.  ACT SWIFTLY.
To watch videos of acclaimed poets reading or discussing their work, visit the Library of Congress, here:

For Denise Levertov (pictured above, left) and James Tate reading and discussing their poems in the Coolidge Auditorium, Mar. 15, 1976, visit:

For Louise Glück (pictured above, right) and Daniel Halpern, listen here: 
Glück won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. 
For audio, click here:  http://<iframe src=""
This link is shared by Priscilla Webster-Williams for our enjoyment:

About this Collection

Listen to audio-recorded readings of former Consultants in Poetry Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Frost; and Nobel Laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Czeslaw Milosz read from their work at the Library of Congress.

The Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress dates back to 1943, when Allen Tate was Consultant in Poetry. It contains nearly two thousand recordings—of poets and prose writers participating in literary events at the Library’s Capitol Hill campus as well as sessions at the Library’s Recording Laboratory.

Most of these recordings are captured on magnetic tape reels, and only accessible at the Library itself. In digitizing the archive and presenting it online, the Library hopes to greatly broaden its use and value. The material featured on this online presentation represents a sample of this collection. The site will continue to provide additional items from this archive on a monthly basis over the next several years.

Joseph MillsSteve CushmanMaria Rouphail, and Joan Barasovska will explore parenthood through diverse poetic lenses. Join us on Sunday, May 2, at 3:00. An hour of poetry will be followed by a brief Q&A period. The children we raise offer poets an unending source of subject matter. We engender them, birth them, nurture, guide, observe them. Children enlarge our hearts and break them. 
Zoom link:
Pictured below, clockwise from upper left: Joseph Mills, Maria Rouphail, Joan Barasovska, Steve Cushman

The View Ever Changing, Karen Luke Jackson’s new poetry collection published by Kelsay Books, evolves from a child’s memories of growing up in South Georgia—a world of smokehouses, snuff, and hopscotch—to a grandmother’s fierce reverence for the Earth. In poems, both narrative and lyrical, Jackson offers readers an opportunity to reflect on the people and places that shaped them and the dreams they want to bestow on future generations. 


This new collection, rich in detail, imagery, and complex feeling, takes us on a journey brightened by the love, perseverance, and spiritual strength summoned by family bonds and by nature’s renewing force. Throughout the journey, the constant is Jackson’s steady vision and clear voice—assured, hospitable, and hopeful.
Eric Nelson, author of Some Wonder

Contact Karen Luke Jackson at:,
Karen's book may be ordered from: or from your Independent Book Seller.

BookWoman 2nd Thursday Poetry Reading and Open Mic with Lesléa Newman
Thu, May 13, 2021 7:15 PM - 9:00 PM CDT
Free attendance. Register for ZOOM link:


Submissions Window: March 1 – May 23, 2021

Awards for Poetry: $300 First Prize, $150 Second Prize, $75 Third Prize, $20 Honorable Mentions, Publication, contributor copy

Awards for Art: $300 First Prize, $150 Second Prize, $75 Third Prize, $20 Honorable Mentions, $50 Cover Prize, Publication, contributor copy

Fees: $12 per submission of up to 3 pieces (3 poems=$12 / 3 pieces of art=$12)


Submissions for Kakalak 2021 open as of March 1! Now published by moonSHINE Review Press, this annual anthology highlights the spirit of the Carolinas through poetry and art. Submissions open to anyone, anywhere. You may enter up to 3 pieces for the nonrefundable fee of $12. Please visit for more about the press, the Kakalak contest, and full details on submissions guidelines.

10 North Carolina Poets Who Show the Beauty in the World

Don't miss this fine article that features 10 North Carolina Poets who offer new perspectives on our world and everyday life.  Written by Sarah Goddin and Mamie Potter, it features our fellow poets and friends.  Look into who is included among these  "long-acclaimed literary figures to rising stars in the field."  Lenard Moore shares this website with us:

Over 50?  In 1990, in Baltimore, Passager was born. The idea was to bring attention to poets and writers over 50 by giving them opportunities to publish with a nationally recognized press. At that time, it was unusual to find men and women writing in their 80s and 90s, but now we are happy to report that more and more authors join those ranks every day.

Passager Books, founded in 2005, has published anthologies, poetry collections, short fiction and memoirs by authors whose work has appeared in our journal. Our writers are our high- flying birds, our muses, who make public the passions of a generation vital to our survival.

We’d love to hear from you!

Read the interview with editor Kendra Kopelke in Prime Time Living, a special edition of the Baltimore Sun. We’re filled with clichés, we’re filled with flat phrases, we could list all the ways used to describe older people. Poets and writers want to find language and tell the story of aging in a way that’s both truthful and new, revelatory.” “Each decade as we age is distinct.

To listen to the Shakespeare's birthday celebration, visit:

Above shared by Bill Griffin.
Should North Carolina host our own?  Take a look at Florida's.  2022?
Yearly 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 meetings on Zoom, allowing members from all locations to attend virtually.


There are two ways to pay the $30 annual dues ($10 for students):
1. Pay by check (for mailing address click on link below for downloadable form).
2. 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.


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


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. 


If you have questions about membership, please write to me, Joan Barasovska, at 

NCPS Dues Scholarship Program
A smart suggestion from a member prompted a proposal to the Board to grant dues scholarships to both new and current members on limited incomes. After discussion and research, the Board voted unanimously to institute a dues scholarship, determining that it confirms our mission of supporting, promoting, and celebrating poetry in North Carolina. A member or potential new member can write to a Membership officer to ask about obtaining a scholarship. The Sr. VP of Membership will decide about whether or not to offer the benefit. Scholarships are funded by member donations. Confidentiality is central to this program. The name of the recipient is known only to those on the Membership Committee and the Treasurer. 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 Barasovska, 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.

I Know My Soul

Claude McKay

I plucked my soul out of its secret place,
And held it to the mirror of my eye,
To see it like a star against the sky,
A twitching body quivering in space,
A spark of passion shining on my face.
And I explored it to determine why
This awful key to my infinity
Conspires to rob me of sweet joy and grace.
And if the sign may not be fully read,
If I can comprehend but not control,
I need not gloom my days with futile dread,
Because I see a part and not the whole.
Contemplating the strange, I’m comforted
By this narcotic thought: I know my soul.

This poem is in the public domain.

For more information, visit:  http://

Copyright © North Carolina Poetry Society, May 1, 2021. All rights reserved.

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