PST News

  • March 2023 Poetry Contest Results

    The Poetry Society of Tennessee (PST) formally announced its members-only March 2023 contest results at their March 11 member meeting. Winners receive cash prizes. The first place poem will be published in an upcoming edition of PST’s anthology, Tennessee Voices.

    Many thanks to sponsor William Hill Art and Poetry. Judge Bill Hill selected the following winners and honorable mentions:

    • 1st: “Contested” by John Page
    • 2nd: “Impersonating Impressionists” by Howard Carman
    • 3rd: “A Square of Blue” by Sara Gipson
    • 1HM: “My Friend the Artist” by Ann Thornfield-Long
    • 2HM: “Home Made Art” by Ann Carolyn Cates

    Meeting attendees enjoyed the readings of these winning minute poems about “bad art.”

    Enter Your Poem

    May’s contest is right around the corner, but you have to enter to win. Sponsor Dr. Diane Clark is seeking any form poem about “The Ace of Spades.” Get details. Not a member? It’s not too late to join. Learn more.

  • 66th Annual Poetry Festival

    66th Annual Poetry Festival

    Poetry Society of Tennessee (PST) holds an annual poetry festival for members and guests. Join us for a celebration of poets and poetry from Tennessee and beyond.

    Festival Details

    This free event will be held April 15, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern via Zoom. PST members and guests will be provided a link.

    The event will feature a workshop and poetry reading.

    Festival Workshop

    Rick Hilles will present a workshop for attendees, entitled, “A Writer’s Life: Getting Started, Keeping Going, Getting Started Again.”

    About the Presenter

    Rick Hilles is the author of several poetry collections, including Brother Salvage, winner of the 2005 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and named 2006 Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine, and A Map of the Lost World, a finalist for the Ohioana Poetry Prize, and, most recently, My Roberto Clemente. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Harper’s, Literary Imagination, Poetry, Narrative, The Nation, New Letters, The New Republic, Paris Review, Salmagundi, Smartish Pace, Southern Review, and Tar River Poetry. He teaches in the English department and MFA program at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville, TN and in Carrboro, NC.

    Festival Reading

    The event will also feature a poetry reading of poetry submitted to PST in response to a recent call for submissions or an earlier contest.



    Dear PST friends,

    As we near the close of my second term as PST president, I want to take a moment to thank you for the honor you have shown me. These two years have been hectic at times because of events beyond anyone’s control. I have been left tired at times but always fulfilled. It has been a double portion of honor to have served this last year along side of Calvin Ross as co-president. It is with bright hope that I pass the leadership of PST in to the competent hands of Lisa Kamolnick this May. 

    Now on to the important stuff. In a little over a month we will again celebrate our annual Tennessee Poetry Festival. This is a great opportunity for all in so many ways. I want to encourage everyone to take part in this. Also, it is a good way to reach out to potential members. Very few state poetry festivals are free to everyone, and while we miss our in-person festival, let’s take this opportunity to get as many people involved as we can. April is a busy month for poets. National Poetry Month always brings opportunities for us to present our work and I want that for everyone but we all need to stay anchored in our society.

    So, sign up as soon as you can and bless other with your presence. 

    Thank you once again for the honors you have shown me. I’m not leaving PST, but I am getting out of your hair as leader for a while.



  • March 2023 Program


    While we are familiar with the five senses, how does contemporary poetry expand the reach of where sense can take us energetically in a poem?  How do unexpected juxtapositions of language and image contribute to how a poem heightens and reveals?  Join Julie E. Bloemeke for a discussion of poetry that is in conversation with the sensory; we will follow with a prompt to rev and subvert your own sensibility with the sensory.  While we will look at elements of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, we will also look at lesser identified senses including proprioception and balance.  Be sure to bring a notebook and pen for analog exercises.  A take home packet of poems referenced in discussion will also be provided. 

    About the Presenter

    Julie E. Bloemeke (she/her) is the 2021 Georgia Author of the Year Finalist for Poetry.  Her debut full-length collection Slide to Unlock (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020) was also chosen as a 2021 Book All Georgians Should Read. Co-editor of Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing, 2023) she has also served as co-editor for the Dolly Parton tribute issue of Limp Wrist magazine. Winner of the 2022 Third Coast Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2020 Fischer Poetry Prize, her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including Writer’s ChroniclePrairie Schooner, Nimrod, Cortland Review, Gulf Coast, EcoTheo Review, and others.  An associate editor for South Carolina Review and a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow, she is also a freelance writer and editor.  She holds her MA in American Literature from the University of South Carolina and her MFA in poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. A proud native of Toledo, she currently lives in Atlanta. Visit her online at

  • February 2023 Poetry Contest Results

    The Poetry Society of Tennessee (PST) formally announced its members-only February 2023 contest results at their February 11 member meeting. Winners receive cash prizes. The first place poem will be published in an upcoming edition of PST’s anthology, Tennessee Voices.

    Sponsor and judge Russell H. Strauss selected the following winners:

    • 1st: “Smokey Joe” by Sara Gibson
    • 2nd: “Print the Legend”  by William Hill
    • 3rd: “Saving Face” by Howard Carman

    Meeting attendees enjoyed the readings of these winning cowboy poems.

    Enter Your Poem

    April’s contest is right around the corner, but you have to enter to win. Sponsor Janet Qually is seeking an ekphrastic poem in response to the artwork shown below. Get details. Not a member? It’s not too late to join. Learn more.

  • PST 2022-2023 Elementary School Contest Deadline Nears

    Students, teachers, parents: the deadline is approaching for our middle school division contest. February 18, 2023, is the postmark deadline.

    The elementary school contest is the remaining open contest of the three offered this year, one each for elementary, middle and high school students:

    Elementary Division (Grades 2-5) Any Poem Form — postmark deadline February 18th 2023

    Who is Eligible? 

    The competition is free and open to all Tennessee students in grades 2-12. Public, private, and home school students are eligible. Each student may submit only one poem.

    Non-Tennessee residents may compete by joining the Poetry Society of Tennessee as Student Members. It’s not too late to join. Get membership information.

    What do Winners Receive?

    Contest Awards: 1st place $25, 2nd $20, 3rd $15, 4th $10, and 5th $5.

    Winners will be announced on the PST website in the spring. Winning poems will be published in Tennessee Voices.

    Get More Details

    Learn more about our student contests.

    Get a printer-friendly copy of contest instructions.

  • February 2023 Program


    In this workshop we will look at some examples of narrative poems based on childhood or family stories. Storytelling in poetic form is very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. Recreating the memories can open up our minds to all sorts of sensory details and interesting images that we can then explore later in lyric form, as well as narrative. Participants will have time for brainstorming and writing in response to the sample poems and then we will share some of those.

    About the Presenter

    Rita Sims Quillen’s new novel WAYLAND, a sequel to HIDING EZRA, published by Iris Press in 2019, is the March 2022 Bonus Book of the Month for the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Kings Book Club. She also has a new and selected poetry collection, SOME NOTES YOU HOLD, (Madville Press) published in 2020. Her full-length poetry collection, The Mad Farmer’s Wife, published in 2016 by Texas Review Press, a Texas A & M affiliation, was a finalist for the Weatherford Award in Appalachian Literature from Berea College. One of six semi-finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, she has received three Pushcart nominations, and a Best of the Net nomination in 2012. She lives, farms, writes songs, and takes photographs at Early Autumn Farm in southwestern Virginia. Read more at



    Triangles appear as tripods, traffic signs, pyramids, some leaves, etc. One fascinating place is the geodesic dome—a structure that relies on the strength of the triangle. 

    Per the dictionary: “A geodesic dome is a hemispherical thin-shell structure…. The triangular elements…distribute the structural stress…to withstand very heavy loads….” Buckminster Fuller popularized the dome because its “omnitriangulated” surface provides a stable and strong structure.

    The remarkable feature of the triangle for stability and strength suggests a way to think about our mission as a state society.

    Imagine PST as a society with three triangular points. Each point represents one of our three core programs: 

    •           contests
    •           education
    •           regional nurture. 

    All three programs are necessary for strength and vitality. Without these three balanced points, PST wobbles and falters.

    Contests give members successes in writing. Monthly educational presentations offer rich learning with outstanding writers and teachers. Regional settings provide critique groups and other local possibilities for in-person learning and support.

    Our leadership is committed to a vital, triangular balance of these three programs. They define our mission. They build PST as a triangulated dome—a dynamic, strong, exciting place for us as poets, as persons. 

    Come on in! Get to know us and we, you. Improve writing skills with us. Discover dimensions of self and relationships. Find new pathways. Together we’ll share, learn, and grow—all the while in appreciation for the beauty of the triangle.

    Onward and Upward,


  • December 2022 Regional Event Highlights

    On Saturday, December 10, 2022, the Friends of the Oak Ridge Library (FOL) and the Poetry Society of Tennessee (PST) sponsored a Holiday Book Sale and Author Reading at the Oak Ridge Public Library. The reading featured Dr. Marilyn Kallet, Professor Emeritus of University of Tennessee (Knoxville), along with 17 other writers and poets, all reading from their work and signing and selling their books. Learn more about the 18 participating poets and authors below.

    A Brief Thanks

    PST extends their gratitude to FOL, PST Regional Connections Committee (RCC), RCC Director (Knoxville) Pat Hope, the Oak Ridge Library, area businesses and individuals who promoted the event, participating authors and attendees.

    A Few Candid Moments

    Featured Poet Marilyn Kallet reads from her new book, Even When We Sleep.
    Three poets among the 18 participating readers-John C. Mannone (standing), Claudia Stanek, and Ron Lands-speak with two attendees.
    Oak Ridge Poet Laureate Erin Elizabeth Smith reads her poetry.
    Three of the region’s top poets – Marilyn Kallet, Connie Jordan Green, and K.B. Ballentine – pause for a photograph at the Dec. 10 reading event.
    PST Regional Director Pat Hope and Featured Speaker Marilyn Kallet.

    About the Authors

    Marilyn Kallet of Knoxville recently served two terms as Knoxville Poet Laureate. She is the author of 19 books, including Even When We Sleep, 2022 and How Our Bodies Learned, 2018, poetry from Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee, where she taught for 37 years. She also hosted poetry workshops and residencies for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France, from 2009-2018; residencies resume this May. Kallet’s poetry has appeared in PlumeStill: The Journal of AppalachiaNorth American Review, and 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, among others. 

    K.B. Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, was released May 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Atlanta Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including I Heard a Cardinal Sing (2022), The Strategic Poet (2021), and Pandemic Evolution (2021). Learn more at She lives in Chattanooga.

    Sally Bennett Boyington currently lives hundreds of miles away from Arizona, but the desert still holds her heart. Her published novels include Swallowing the Sun and Rainbow Knife, the first two books in a trilogy of prehistoric novels titled “Tales of the Watermasters,” bringing to life the ancient civilization of the Hohokam. Inspired by their canals, buildings, art and artifacts, and the lifeways revealed through archaeology, Sally hopes to share her vision of these early Native Americans as artists and dreamers and builders: above all, as individuals not so different from ourselves. Sally has written seven novels and numerous short stories and poems, has had several reviews and nonfiction articles published in professional journals and popular magazines. She has a master’s degree in history from Arizona State University.

    Jeri L. Duke of Clinton writes true stories inspired of by her own family history and love of ancestry. Her first book, The Faraway Spiritis the story of the families that bought and settled on Nantucket Island. Mary Coffin Starbuck is the main character and the first to become a Quaker on the island. Most recently she published Friends of Freedom, Stories of The Underground Railroad, which is set prior to and during the U.S. Civil War.

    Carol Grametbauer of Kingston is the author of two chapbooks: Homeplace (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018) and Now & Then(Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Appalachian HeritageConnecticut River Review, POEMPine Mountain Sand & Gravel, 3rd Wednesday, and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, drafthorse, Still: The JournalFluent, and Maypop, and in a number of anthologies. She is chairman of the board of directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers, which is headquartered in Oak Ridge. 

    Connie Jordan Green of Loudon County is the author of two award-winning novels for young people, The War at Home, set in Oak Ridge during World War II, and Emmy, both published originally by Margaret McElderry imprint of MacMillan and Simon Shuster, respectively, reissued in soft cover by Tellico Books imprint of Iris Press; two poetry chapbooks, Slow Children Playing and Regret Comes to Tea; and two poetry collections, Household Inventory, 2015, winner of the Brick Road Poetry Award, and Darwin’s Breath(Iris Press). She frequently leads writing workshops

    An East Tennessee native, Melanie K. Hutsell currently lives in Oak Ridge. She is the author of the novels The Dead Shall Rise, an Appalachian magic realism tale from Celtic Cat Publishing, and The Book of Susan, a sympathetic, realistic portrayal of a mental illness diagnosis in a young woman’s life, published by Paraclete Press. Named a Featured Author for Knoxville’s 2019 “Celebrate Our Authors” event, Hutsell has appeared on WDVX’s Wordstream and the Bi-Polar Girl podcast. Learn more at

    Ron Lands of Oak Ridge is a semi-retired hematologist at UT Medical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee and an MFA alumnus of Queens University of Charlotte. He practiced medicine for many years near the community in East Tennessee where he grew up. He has published short stories, poems and essays in literary and medical journals.  His writing is about those experiences. His poem “Decision” appears in the Spring 2019 Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine. His chapbooks include Final Path, Finishing Line Press 2021, and A Gathering of Friends, 2022. His story collection, The Long Way Home was published in 2022.

    Author of survival memoir The Locust YearsKelly Hanwright is a poet, teacher, and dog trainer living in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She is a Pushcart nominee whose work has appeared in various venues including The Birmingham Arts Journal, Lady Literary Magazine, and American Diversity Report.

    John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He won multiple awards including a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). Author of three chapbooks and four full-length collections, he edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a physics/chemistry professor at Alice Lloyd College in southeast Kentucky.

    Fay Martin of Oak Ridge was born in Jamaica, West Indies, obtained a B.Sc. from the University of the West Indies, a M.Sc. from MacMaster University in Canada and a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Tennessee. Her books include: Resurgam! The Poems of Fay Martin and From Jamaican Hills: The Memoirs of Fay Martin.

    Shirley Raines is a much sought–after speaker, consultant, and author. She was the first woman president of the University of Memphis. She is a member of the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame and was invited to speak at the White House Conference on University Entrepreneurship for the FedEx Institute of Technology. She has written 18 books, 15 for educators, 2 for children, and her newest leadership book, An Uncommon Journey:  Leadership Lessons from a Preschool Teacher who Became a University President.

    Wesley Sims of Oak Ridge has published three chapbooks of poetry: When Night Comes, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2013; Taste of Change, Iris Press, Oak Ridge, TN, 2019; and A Pocketful of Little Poems, Amazon, 2020. His work has appeared in Artemis JournalBewildering Stories, Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, Liquid Imagination, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Plum Tree Tavern, and several others.

    D. Ray Smith, Oak Ridge’s Historianhas more than 47 years of experience at the Y-12 National Security Complex. He has co-produced the award-winning Secret City set of two 90-minute DVD’s. He has also written 14 books on the East Tennessee area history consisting of nine “Historically Speaking” volumes, The John Hendrix Story, 1944 Troop Train Wreck, Historical Sketch of Oak Ridge Schools, Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell and Delina, and four photo books of East Tennessee scenery and the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell. He publishes a weekly Oak Ridge history newspaper column, “Historically Speaking.” His most recent film is the documentary, Ed Westcott – Photographer.

    Oak Ridge Poet Laureate Erin Elizabeth Smith is the Executive Director for Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville. She is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently DOWN (SFASU 2020), and her work has appeared in Guernica, Ecotone, Crab Orchard, and Mid-American, among othersSmith is a Distinguished Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

    Claudia M Stanek’s work has been turned into a libretto, been part of an art exhibition, and been translated into Polish. Her poems exist online, in print, and in her chapbook, Language You Refuse to Learn. She holds an MFA from Bennington College. Her rescued dogs manage her life. 

    After receiving her Ph.D. in French Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill, Diane Williams of Knoxville taught French language and literature for many years and spent an academic year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in France. After moving to Knoxville, she joined the creative team at the UT Knoxville Office of Communications and Marketing as an editorial project manager. Diane has poems in One Trick Pony and Bluestem Magazine, and two of her poems will appear in the Spring 2023 issue of Monterey Poetry Review. She has a poetry chapbook, Night in the Garden, 2020.

    Sylvia Woods of Oak Ridge is a retired ORHS English teacher. Her book What We Take With Us was published in April, 2021. Her work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies including Southern Poetry Anthology V: Appalachia, Appalachian Review, and many more.

  • Call for Submissions: Tennessee Voices 2022-2023

    PST is currently accepting poetry submissions to be considered for publication in the 2022-2023 Tennessee Voices Anthology.  

    The call for submissions is open to anyone residing in the state of Tennessee (whether a PST member or not) and to non-Tennessee residents who are members of PST.  

    Submission deadline is January 31, 2023.  

    Acceptances will be announced April 1, 2023.  

    Poetry Reading and Monetary Awards

    From those selected for publication, 25 authors, in order of their submission dates, will be offered the chance to read their poems at the PST Annual Poetry Festival on April 15, 2023 (Zoom videoconference, 2:00 – 5:00 pm EDT.  Details to come soon).  

    Of the poems selected for publication, three will be chosen by a panel of judges to receive monetary awards: $150/$100/$50.

    Editorial Board

    The review and editorial board that will select poems for publication includes the following PST members:  Maria Zoccola, Connie Jordan Green, and Lacy Snapp.  If you have shared poetry with these members in a critique group or other setting, please submit a poem that they would not have seen previously.

    Submission Guidelines

    Submissions are open for any poetic form or subject. 

    1. Non-published poems only and poems not simultaneously in submission elsewhere
    2. Limit of 1 poem per submitter
    3. Each submission should include two copies of the poem in either PDF or Microsoft Word format: one copy to include the identification and contact information for the poet (name, address, phone number, and email address) in the upper right hand corner of the page; the upper left hand corner of the page should include the poem form (e.g., “free verse,” “Shakespearean Sonnet,” etc.).  The second copy should include only the poem form in the upper left hand corner and the poem and its title (if one), with NO identifying information.  
    4. All submissions should be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font with a limit of 52 characters per line and 40 lines in length
    5. Submissions should  be sent electronically by email to the following email address:


    If you have any questions, please contact Howard Carman at or email PST at