»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Poetry Society Celebrates Centennial

In the winter of 1910, at New York City's Ansonia Hotel, a group of poets, editors, and artists gathered for the first planning meeting of the Poetry Society of America (PSA), a fledgling organization that would be "a public forum for the advancement, enjoyment, and understanding of poetry." On that evening a hundred years ago, the founders, including poet Edwin Markham, painter Leon Dabo, and Current Literature editor Edward J. Wheeler, argued, naturally, over words—would they be a society or a club?—but ultimately chose to follow the model of the Poetry Society of England, which had been founded a year earlier.

The PSA didn't immediately gain respect from the public—it was even mocked by reporters as "the Poets' Union." As inaugural secretary Jessie Belle Rittenhouse recalled in her 1934 memoir, My House of Life, "This was still the period when one had to be apologetic about poetry, when the poet was considered a variant from the normal, while there was still a subconscious feeling in the public mind that he was a weakling." Within the PSA's first few years, however, as more famous poets attended meetings (Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, and W. B. Yeats among them) the organization began to win more respect, and more members—growing from forty poets in 1910 to more than twelve hundred today. Now thriving, it is the oldest poetry organization in the country, with a popular awards series, a full schedule of forty to fifty readings and other events each year, and other programming.

Under the direction of Alice Quinn, and with the help of staff members Rob Casper and Brett Fletcher Lauer, the PSA is marking its centennial this year with a number of special events that are being held across the country. Among them are four regional celebrations—Poets of the American Midwest, in Minneapolis on May 14; Poets of New England, in Boston on September 23; Poets of the American South, in Atlanta on October 7; and Poets of the American West, in Los Angeles on November 30—that will feature all-star lineups. For more information about the PSA's centennial events, visit the Web site at www.poetrysociety.org.

Rebecca Keith is a Brooklyn, New York–based writer and the cofounder of Mixer Reading and Music Series.

Reader Comments

close
Article Permissions
Poetry Society Celebrates Centennial (May/June 2010)
http://www.pw.org/content/poetry_society_celebrates_centennial

In the details box below, please include information about the reprint permissions you'd like granted.

Thank you for your permissions request. We do our best to respond immediately, but it may take up to three business days.

City Guide

by Jen Michalski

Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

Upcoming Events
Poetry
Reading
University of Chicago Logan Center, Seminar Terrace 801
October 30, 2014 - 4:30pm
Creative Nonfiction
Reading/Talk
Wayne State University
October 30, 2014 - 6:00pm
Creative Nonfiction
Reading
Encinitas Library
October 30, 2014 - 6:30pm
Fiction
Reading/Talk
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
October 30, 2014 - 7:00pm
Poetry
Reading
Berl's Poetry Shop
October 30, 2014 - 7:00pm
Conferences & Residencies
Conference
Salt Cay, Bahamas
Residency
West Cork, Ireland
Residency
Riga, Latvia
Writing Contests
Provincetown OuterMost Community Radio
American Library Association
Asheville Poetry Review
Magazine Articles

by Mira Ptacin

November/December 2014

Despite struggles, libraries are learning to navigate the ever-changing, and often cost-prohibitive, landscape of digital lending.

 

by Staff

Politics & Prose replaces Barnes & Noble as official National Book Festival bookseller; new Berryman volume and reissues released; Carlos Lozada named nonfiction book critic at the Washington Post; and other news.

Directory of Writers
Fiction Writer
Tucson, AZ
Fiction Writer
Oneonta, NY

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2014. All Rights Reserved