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Late to the game: CCPS to host Memory Days poetry reading

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

Amongst the music, the festival food, and all the other exciting events of Memory Days weekend is nestled a quieter, more contemplative jewel of local artistic expression – the Carter County Poetry Society members poetry reading.

On Thursday, May 25, just as the Memory Days weekend is beginning to kick off, the Carter County Poetry Society (CCPS) will host their reading beginning at 7 p.m.

The reading, at the Grayson Gallery & Art Center, will feature all original works by CCPS members. The public is invited to come out and hear the poetry, and to bring along their children, as all work to be performed must be family friendly.

The goal, the poetry society’s Crystal Barker explained, was to have a 40 minute set of poetry where each poet, or their designated reader, could perform one or two short pieces no more than two minutes each.

The poetry reading, one of several events the non-profit group organizes each year along with an annual poetry contest, helps meet their goal to “promote the love of poetry.”

It’s a mission they’ve been engaged in for more than 50 years, since the society was organized in 1971, by Kentucky Poet Laureate and Carter County resident Paul Salyers.

Their mission statement includes a “wish to promote the love of poetry through membership in the society by writing poetry, giving poetry readings, learning styles and rules of poetry, and exchanging ideas among the group.”
Under current President Camila Haney, that has also included continued media outreach to raise awareness of their events and contests.

Anyone interested in learning more about the CCPS, their contests, or their readings are encouraged to reach out to Haney at camilahaney50@gmail.com.

Or, stop by the reading and chat with the poets and hear their work.
The CCPS might be the least pretentious and most inviting group of poets I’ve personally encountered during my time reading in bars, coffee shops, gallery spaces, and slam poetry competitions. They showcase a diversity of styles and unique voices while retaining and celebrating a unique eastern Kentucky identity.

It might not be the kind of thing you were thinking of when you first thought of Memory Days and Memorial Day weekend, but give it a shot. The poets might surprise you.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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