100 years of the Poetry Society of South Carolina
James Lundy's book, The History of the Poetry Society of South Carolina: 1920 to 2021, is a chronicle of the first 100 years of the oldest state poetry society in America, the Poetry Society of South Carolina. Founded in Charleston in 1920 by DuBose Heyward, John Bennett, Josephine Pinckney, Hervey Allen, and Laura Bragg, the Society's first 101 seasons run from the Jazz Age to the COVID era, where everyone from Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, Ogden Nash, Billy Collins, Sherwood Anderson, Jericho Brown, Thornton Wilder, Robert Pinsky, and hundreds of others appeared before the membership.
Talking with Walter Edgar, Lundy, also currently the Society's president, gives us an insider's view, with insights into the inner workings and disfunctions of the organization and its slow progress from a Whites-only organization of the segregated South founded in the aftermath of World War I and the Spanish Flu Pandemic, through the Roaring Twenties, into the darkness of the Great Depression, World War II, a resurgence during the Atomic Age, the turbulent Sixties, the decline of Charleston, its rebound into a tourist mecca, and into the present day.
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