TR Art on the Trail Poetic Journeys Event 11am with Host Kimberly Simms

Poetic Journeys Prize! Theme: Mountains on my Mind. 

Poetry Contest Winners

Order of Ceremony for October 22, 2016 11am.

Trailblazer Park in Travelers Rest. Beside the Travelers Rest Fire Station. 

      Introduction: Kimberly Simms.

      Kimberly Simms is an award winning poet, performer, and writer as well as an arts integration expert.  She is the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence, a member of the SC Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau, a South Carolina Arts Commission Approved Artist, and a SMART Arts teaching artist. Her poetry has appeared in Poem, The South Carolina Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, The John Edward Johnson Prize from The Poetry Society of SC, and many more. Her work is included in the South Carolina Poetry Archives at Furman University. 


We had close to 30 entries in our first year in the contest. It was such an honor to read all the talented work from our local Upstate Poets. Thank you to the SC Humanities Council for supporting this Poetic Journeys event.  Thank you to The Hub City Press, The Emrys Foundation, Wits End Poetry, and Becky Stone Thirty-One Consultant for providing our prizes today! And of course thank you to the Travelers Rest Arts Alliance and especially to Susan Savage!
       Kimberly Simms also shard the following poem at the ceremony in TR.

The Forgotten Fence
But nothing is solid and permanent.
Our lives are raised on the shakiest foundations.” – Ron Rash, One Foot in Eden

A bolt of barbed wire, black with age,
hints the way, jutting from the undergrowth
like a wizened digit— the post long since decayed
and lost to the crumbling host of forest litter.
This sunken corner is a garbled message
till we catch a tree pierced with another barb.
A stone pile murmurs, entangled with the metal.

This forest is expansive in every direction.
Our eyes can see no horizon beyond it.
Mountains expand around us as we weave
up and down valleys, creeks, and ravines.

Eighty years: a forest has fallen and regrown.
Homestead cleared, tilled, planted, harvested
then reclaimed by this hummocked beast.

We follow the ancient line back to a single
hearthstone and the outline of a foundation.
Here an old stone wall. There a glass bottle.
All around us: a forgotten fence—an outpost of the past.

       Our Judge: Dr. Jill Coyle.

Jill Coyle is an award winning poet and essayist. Coyle earned her PhD in Classical Studies from Duke University and her MA in English from N.C. State University. She teaches English at Spartanburg Methodist College. Her poems have appeared in Blueline, Avocet, Main Street Rag, and Pinesong.

      Read the winning poems on the Wits End Poetry blog.

 Student Poetic Journeys Prize Winners

5. HM: Loren Bell. League Academy. 8th Grade. “Mountains on my Mind” Teacher: Frank Powell
4. HM: Jasmine McCarroll 12th Grade. Berea High School. “Mountains” Teacher Mrs. Tisdale
3. Third: Grace Brockman. 7th Grade. League Academy. ”Mountains” Teacher Mrs. Ritter. Parent: Timothy Brockman
2. Second: Miriam Muriithi. League Academy. 8th Grade. “Mountains on my Mind” Teacher Allison Franke
1. First: Sophie Young. Green Charter School. 8th grade. “Untitled” Teacher: Lauren Lehman

Adult Poetic Journey Prize Winners

4. HM: Elaine C. Hill – “Jump Off Rock”
Currently living as close to the country around Charlotte, NC, as possible, Elaine Hill writes during naptimes for her two girls, ages 4 and 2. Raised in Hendersonville, NC, with her mountain-grown husband, Elaine’s idea of perfection is a perch on the side of Little Pisgah Mountain, a perfect view of Chimney Rock, with a mountain bike, a journal, and a pen.
3. Third Place - Tricia Kyzer - "Landslide"
Tricia Kyzer is an environmental educator and a naturalist and a mountain wanderer. She is deeply involved in what she like to call a geological love affair with these South Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.
2. Second Place -Bobbie Jean Shepard -"Fruits"
Bobbie Jean Shepard grew up in the foothills of South Carolina. She currently teaches High School English in Spartanburg.
1. First Place - Joel McCollough - "Binding"
Joel is a graduate of Furman University where he received two consecutive creative writing scholarships. His poetry and fiction have appeared in national literary periodicals and in two locally published poetry South Carolina poetry anthologies. He is an avid outdoorsman and cyclist, who frequents the Swamp Rabbit Trail and the trails of the Upstate. 

If time allows, Kimberly Simms will also read her new poem "The Vulture Whisperer"

Thank you again to everyone who submitted. If you would like to take pictures or chat with our winners, we will be having a reception in the Poetry Tent (Spot 3) with the help of the neighboring Tea Tent. 

Please follow us on Facebook at @witsendpoetry The winning poems are available online. Also please visit for more information about the contest, the winners, and myself.
 Thank you!