April is National Poetry Month

Published 4:00 pm Monday, April 26, 2021

BY BILL McCANN

Arts Columnist

It’s April. Have you celebrated National Poetry Month by writing a poem, yet? If so, you might want to join your fellow Kentucky poets as a member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society whose literary online journal Pegasus is free to members. Additionally members receive a newsletter which keeps them current on events and activities of interest to the state’s poets.

Asked why people should join the Kentucky Poetry Society, its president Amelia Martens, replied: “Writing can be a lonely experience; often, out of necessity, the work must be completed in some level of solitude. Like other artistic expression, much of the joy of poetry comes in sharing the work—whether that be with other writers in a workshop, with an audience as part of a reading, or through online or print publication.

“Many of us have been writing at home during the last year, which is an odd enforced solitude away from our writing communities and yet, the Kentucky State Poetry Society was able to swiftly adapt in 2020 by hosting our annual Poetry Conference virtually for the first time.

KSPS members received recordings of conference workshops and events as a perk of their membership. In October (23-24), we will again host our conference virtually to allow access to Kentucky poets across and beyond our Common Wealth. The 2021 conference will feature a keynote address by Kiki Petrosino and generative workshops by Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Max Garland, and Savannah Sipple. Through KSPS, poets are able to connect with peers and poet mentors; this is a community in which we celebrate, share, create, and learn from Kentucky poets from across the state.”

Membership in the Kentucky State Poetry Society is $35 /year for adults, and $15/year for students. Members are also invited to submit their poems annually to the Chaffin/Kash Poetry Contest; this year’s contest will be judged this year by Affrilachian Poet makalani bandele. Additionally, all poets are invited to submit poems to the KSPS’s Grand Prix Poetry Contest, judged this year by Marianne Worthington, Editor of Still: The Journal. Both adult contests remain open until June 30, 2021.

Sarah McCartt-Jackson, past president of the Kentucky Poetry Society is a Kentucky poet and folklorist. Her most recent work can be found in Inch, Indiana Review, and Journal of American Folklore. Her books include: “Stonelight,” “Calf Canyon,” “Vein of Stone” and “Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River.” She has served as artist-in-residence for the Acadia National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shotpouch Cabin in Oregon.

McCartt-Jackson’s prose poem  “Grieving,” which seems so appropriate after the past year’s events, follows:

Grieving by Sarah McCartt-Jackson

You think you are fine, will always be fine. You braid your hair. You think about not washing the dishes. You buy a box of milk, sign and mail the burial plot papers, peel paint from the dining room chair, or address letters to your husband at the coal camp. Chickens peck at grit in the yard but there’s not enough cornbread to scrape from the skillet, so you prepare a boiling pot to pluck and slaughter the scrawniest bird. You splinter the unfinished chair on the porch steps. When your face floats in the scummy pond or in your hand-mirror in the woodburning light or over the dark pupils of your other daughters, you beg to be let go, burn a hymn into the air until your voice blisters each oak knot in your plank walls. You pull the quilts closer, feel winter creep over your toes. You feel bloodless but do not sleep, your night wide and heavy with the mountain. You listen to your children breathing through the shale. You whisper, Shhhh, shhhh.

LEED’S seeks executive director

Winchester’s own Leeds Center for the Arts is seeking an executive director. More specifically, according to the posting, “We are a passionate group of artists enriching our community and region with diverse arts programming and arts education for young people. The executive director will primarily build relationships with donors and corporations, along with writing compelling grants to secure funding that will allow us to continue to thrive.”

If you are interested in the position, or know that perfect someone who should apply, you’d better hurry. Applications are only being accepted through April 29, 2021. For more information, visit https://leedscenter.org/work-with-us/