Kimberly Simms Named to SC Humanities Speaker's Bureau!


One of the Council’s longstanding program priorities for the SC Humanities Council is the Speakers Bureau. Through this program, some of South Carolina’s finest scholars travel throughout the state to share their interests and knowledge of the humanities and to spark discussions about human values, traditions and cultures.

In February 2016, the SC Humanities Council added Greenville poet and former GCSD teacher to its prestigious roster. A full listing of Kimberly Simms' talks are listed below.


Schools, non-profits, and libraries are eligible to bring speaker's to their communities at no cost to them by filling out this simple, one page application! http://schumanities.org/projects/speakers/sbapplication/ 


Further information about the program is available here: http://schumanities.org/projects/speakers/speakers-faq/

A full list of speaker's is available here: http://schumanities.org/projects/speakers/speakers-list/

You can read Kimberly's full list of talks below. The honorarium for the talk includes any one of the following at no cost to the group:


Community Festival Reading:

 This fee covers up to a 45 minute reading and performance plus a Q&A session.

Conference Workshop:  
This fee covers up to one 60 minute adult workshop including handouts plus Q&A 
and informal receptions or lunches


School Assembly Reading up to 2 assemblies: 
        This fee covers up to two 35 minute readings plus 10 minute Q&A sessions.

Classroom visits: 
         This fee covers visits up to 4 classroom workshops on one day for up to 50 minutes each. Each class should be no more than 30 students.

Kimberly Simms
While dedicating some of her time between her work as a teaching artist and her writing for young adults, Kimberly Simms is an award winning poet in her own right. She was recently named as the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-In-Residence. Poem, The South Carolina Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, Kakalak, and Eclipse. She has been a featured performer and reader internationally at festivals and venues including the Battersea Arts Center London, The Institute of Contemporary Arts London, The Chopin Theater Chicago, The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, The Peace Center, the LEAF Festival, and Artisphere, as well as numerous other arts establishments and universities. She is currently finishing her first young adult novel.
Simms is primarily inspired by the history and people of the South. Simms holds a Masters in English from Clemson University with a Creative Writing Thesis on the textile mills of South Carolina. Kimberly Jane Simms has been sharing her poems with a variety of audiences since she started running poetry slams in her twenties. She was a member of the Greenville Slam Team that won the South East Regional Poetry Slam in 1998. Since then she has gone on to gain recognition from both esteemed literary editors, as well as live audiences. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals such as

TOPICS
A Poetry Reading: Discovering South Carolina through poetry. (Grades 4 -12 OR Adults.)
This reading, led by poet Kimberly Simms, connects audiences to the excitement of contemporary poetry. Kimberly Simms will share a variety of original and well known engaging poems that explore the life and history of South Carolina. Kimberly Simms has garnered recognition for her poetry not only from esteemed literary journals, but also from national poetry festivals. Her poems have been featured on both television, radio, and in print. For libraries, this reading can include book talks from tailored to that library’s collection. The reading will finish with a question and answer session.
A Festival Reading: A Poetic Journey through South Carolina (All Ages)
This poetry reading and performance will present a variety of original poems that will appeal to a broad audience on themes related to South Carolina. These poems are family friendly and entertaining to all ages. Audiences will enjoy crowd favorites such as Simms’ Turner Speaks My South poem “My South’s Boys” and her inspirational “Small Spaces.” This collection of light, lively, and humorous poems are a great way to bring the poetic arts to your community festival.  Simms has been featured at The Red, White, and Blue Festival (Greenville, SC), Artisphere Festival (Greenville, SC), The TRAM Festvial (Travelers Rest, SC), The Art on the Trail Festival (Travelers Rest, SC), The LEAF Festival (Asheville, NC,) and many more. The reading will finish with a question and answer session.
Celebrating Carl Sandburg: Hands on Poetry Experience (K-8)This workshop weaves together history and poetry to explore Southern themes through the poetry of Carl Sandburg. After introducing Carl Sandburg, Kimberly Simms will lead the group in a poetry writing AND/OR theater activity inspired by Carl Sandburg’s poetry. This experience can be tailored for different age groups and experience levels.  Kimberly Simms is the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-In-Residence. The reading will finish with a question and answer session.
Talking to Disaster: Finding healing through poetry. (Adults)After a disaster, communities find comfort in poems that speak to their sense of loss. Whether dealing with personal grief or processing a disaster, individuals can be overwhelmed with emotions. Yet a special type of healing comes from reading and hearing words that echo your own complex feelings. In this reading and discussion, poet Kimberly Simms will share poems on disaster and grief to provide a medium for dialogue. Attendees will be encouraged to find a sense of community through discussion of contemporary poetry.  This dialogue can be tailored to help communities deal with specific events.
Poetic Perspectives: Exploring the humanities through poetry. (K-12 OR Adults)In this workshop, poet and educator Kimberly Simms will lead attendees in writing monologue style poems in the voice of a favorite literary character or historical figure. This workshop works particularly well when exploring a pre-chosen work of fiction or historical figure as part of a larger celebration, conference, or unit. The workshop includes a pre-writing activity, a craft lesson, and examples to scaffold all writing levels. The workshop will finish with sharing and a brief discussion.
Cooking up Poetry: Writing recipe poems. (K-12 OR Adults)In this delicious workshop, poet and educator Kimberly Simms will lead attendees in writing their own “recipe” style poems. Attendees will also discuss several sample poems to help them explore ideas about food and life. The workshop includes a structured poetic form and a craft lesson so that writers of any level can participate. The workshop will finish with time for sharing and discussion.
Poetry Slam: Putting performance into contemporary poetry. (Grades 4-12 OR Adults)In this hands-on workshop, poet and educator Kimberly Simms will lead attendees in performing well-known contemporary poems or pre-written original poems. The workshop will feature a short craft lesson on voice and blocking. The workshop will also include a discussion on the history and current state of poetry slams. The session will end with an informal performance, as well as a question and answer session. Kimberly Simms is a certified slam master with the national organization Poetry Slam Inc. She is a former South East Regional Slam Champion (Greenville Slam Team 1998). She was a regional SC judge for the 2016 Poetry Out Loud Competition.


Community Festival Reading:

 This fee covers up to a 45 minute reading and performance plus a Q&A session.

Conference Workshop:  
This fee covers up to one 60 minute adult workshop including handouts plus Q&A 
and informal receptions or lunches

School Assembly Reading up to 2 assemblies: 
        This fee covers up to two 35 minute readings plus 10 minute Q&A sessions.

Classroom visits: 
         This fee covers visits up to 4 classroom workshops on one day for up to 50 minutes each. 
          Each class should be no more than 30 students.

Black History Month: A poem in celebration of Mae Jemison

I wrote this poem in celebration of the Endeavor Shuttle mission of Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space.  This poem is written from the point of view of Mae Jemison, and it merges the factual with my own poetic imagination. This poem is the first in a series of poems about famous Americans aimed at middle grades students.


Mae Jemison Counts Down Aboard the 1992 Endeavor Shuttle




My blood pumps itself to a distant planet.
My brain is a supernova. My skin is a million stars.
The orange straps across my suit are bright as a fire.
I’m thinking of Grandmother, the swish, swish, swish

of her broom on that Alabama porch, the hot grits
bubbling on the stove, the smell of biscuits and bacon.
On an autumn evening, we’d slowly launch ourselves
in the swing, our feet rising across the pumpkin moon.

The year of my birth, 1956, Alabama still called segregation
separate but equal. My school teacher mama wanted more.
Her and daddy moved us to blue Chicago
to spirit, to hope, to zeal, to inspiration.

Grandmother’s tiny Alabama dreams never imagined 127 orbits
of the Earth.  Mission control is counting slowly down
and this Endeavor will shoot me into history
like a blazing star. What new horizons will I find

in a thousands years of blackness. The earth
and all its heavy history fall. I float, an impossible
dream, a black woman in a white NASA Suit,
an Alabama child with the whole world in her hands.


#blackhistorymonth #ya #youngadult #middlegrades #teaching #maejemsion #poem #poetry

I recently performed this poem for the students, teachers, and parents at the Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition in Spartanburg, SC at Spartanburg Community College. Sponsored by Hub City.






*Mae Jemison was not interviewed in regards to this poem, so the details of what she may have been thinking about while she waited to launch into space are wholly from my imagination.