Reflections of Gratitude

As we near the close of National Poetry Month and our 2022-2023 PST program year, I’m filled with gratitude for the state of poetry, for the health of PST, and for the many volunteers who brought poetry to life for people of all ages across Tennessee and beyond.

This month we announced results from PST’s annual contest for high school, middle school, and elementary students. The northeast region completed a collegiate contest in collaboration with East Tennessee State University. We held a fabulous poetry festival—our 66th such event!  Outside of PST, in Tennessee and across the country, multiple events honored poetry every week. And, while AI bots may have started penning poetry, I believe it’s still a very human endeavor at its heart.

April brings us both a happy end and a bright beginning: as PST continues long-standing traditions, we will also build upon our regional efforts, celebrate our 70th anniversary, and offer some modern conveniences (like digital payments!).

If you follow our Facebook page, you may have noticed our posts usually include this hopeful hashtag: #poetryisalive. I remain hopeful about the status of poetry globally and for the continuity and strength of Poetry Society of Tennessee. This time last year, we grappled with the society’s very existence—but with strong Board leadership, committed volunteers, and members willing to suit up and settle in for a potentially wild ride, our organization has proven resilient. 

As I now work with co-Presidents Bill Hill and Calvin Ross to transition into their role, I am grateful they were willing to provide their leadership. They, along with my fellow Board members quickly and ably navigated a precarious situation and, I believe, effectively steered us into a more stable one. We stand now, poised to build upon both old and new aspects of our society.

Our programs extend beyond member benefits: they fulfill our greater purpose to promote poetry and build a community of (current and future) poets. Our programs happen when people commit and bring them to life. I offer heartfelt thanks to fellow Board members, to committee chairs and program coordinators, to committee members, to contest sponsors and judges, to contest entrants and call-for-submission respondents, to program presenters and meeting attendees, to members who shared news of their achievements and poetry activities in their regions, to all who shared their poetry with us … and to friends of PST who shared poetry-related happenings and partnered with us in some way.

In this spirit of gratitude, May’s program will include a brief ceremony to recognize and honor our volunteers in addition to our usual programming. We have so much to be grateful for about this passing year and so much to look forward to in the year ahead, so let us end one and  begin the next with a thank you.

With gratitude,
Lisa Kamolnick
PST President-Elect



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