Poet Laureate
Welcome to the Poet Laureateship of Edgefield! I will post here news of activities undertaken to promote literature and literacy in Edgefield and beyond.

The first project, undertaken with Town Archivist Tricia Glenn, is to place poetry posters in the Town Square's store front windows. Appropriate excerpts from the anthology Lovely Village of the Hills are being used for text.

Here is an example:

Lovely Village of the Hills

The installation ceremony for the Poet Laureateship was held in the parlor of The Discovery Center in Edgefield on April 23, 2015, Shakespeare's birthday. The charming ceremony included readings by the winners of the student Spring Into Poetry contest, held by the elementary, middle and high schools in the District for the occasion. Shakespeare himself made a surprise appearance. Friends of the Library provided refreshments on the porch.

Poem of the Week A sandwich Poem Board, built by local craftsman, Max Shanks, sits outside the Edgefield County Public Library. Occasionally it will be moved to other locations around the town square. Each week a new Poem of the Week will be posted on the Poem Board. The first poem on the Board was a poem written by the Poet Laureate for the occasion of the installation ceremony, called "Edgefield is Another Name for Home."

Poets Corner A poem with short commentary will be published regularly in the Edgefield Advertiser, our weekly newspaper, the oldest continuously published newspaper in South Carolina.

A Youth Poet Laureate will be selected from among the junior or senior student population of Edgefield County to honor and encourage student writing potential. The YPL will participate in poetry projects in libraries and schools in the County, and work closely with the Poet Laureate, Laurel Blossom, to promote poetry throughout the region and beyond.

The 9/11 Tree      On September 11, 2015 a seedling grown from an acorn from a swamp oak planted at the September 11 Memorial Park in New York will be planted in a ceremony at the newly expanded and beautiful National Wild Turkey Federation headquarters in Edgefield. The following poem, written by Poet Laureate Laurel Blossom, will be read on the occasion of the planting.

My friend picked up an acorn from the 9/11 tree;
My friend picked up an acorn and she gave that seed to me;
It's little now but when it grows it will be tall and wide,
A tree in which we each can take a summer's worth of pride.

It loves full sun, the way that people love democracy;
And it can grow in any soil, the same as liberty.
In fall its leaves turn yellow, to make the summer seem
As long and bright and brave and strong as our American dream.

The Edgefield Christmas Parade      Once again thanks to Max Shanks, the Poet Laureateship will have a boat float in the Edgefield Christmas Parade. Painted pea-green and riding on an 8-foot trailer, the boat float will bear the inscription "The owl and the pussycat went to sea/In a beautiful pea-green boat." Both characters will ride on the float, appropriately costumed. The float will fly a banner saying "Poetry floats my boat!"

Poetry and Pottery Festival      Pottery is one of Edgefield's most famous legacies. One of our master potters, a literate slave named Dave, even sometimes wrote and inscribed couplets on the shoulders of his pots. Building on Dave's work, students and adults will be invited to submit couplets to a contest in Spring, 2016. A celebration at the new Clay Works Studios is planned for the awards ceremony, at which the winner of the couplets contest will be presented with a modern Edgefield pot created and contributed by our contemporary Edgefield potter, Justin Guy. The pot will be inscribed with the winning poem, glazed and fired in the recently constructed Edgefield groundhog kiln, and presented to the winner at a second ceremony later in the spring, giving the festival, pottery and poetry another promotional opportunity.