The Georgia State Poetry Society was founded by Edward Davin Vickers and Charles J. Bruehler on August 30, 1979, in Atlanta. Its objectives were to stimulate the reading and writing of poetry. The society was incorporated in 1981 and later changed its name to the Georgia Poetry Society.
The society is a member of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS). The NFSPS is a nonprofit educational and literary organization that seeks to recognize the importance of poetry in America’s cultural heritage, to further the appreciation of poetry on a national level, and to unite poets in the bond of fellowship. Both the NFSPS and the Georgia Poetry Society are nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organizations open for membership to anyone who is interested. The national convention was hosted by the Georgia chapter in June 1999 in Atlanta.
Georgia Poetry Society membership meetings are held in the months of January, April, July, and October in cities throughout the state. Agenda items include readings by members and distinguished guests, workshops, guest speakers, book reviews, publishers’ panels, networking, and recognition of contest winners. National Poetry Day and National Poetry Month are celebrated each year. Speakers have included Evan Boland, Bettie Sellers, Ha Jin, Donna Harper, Beverly Head, Phebe Davidson, Thelma Hall, Memye Tucker, Janice Moore, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Ron Colombe, among others.
The society sponsors several poetry contests each year. The Byron Herbert Reece International Award, named for Georgia poet Byron Herbert Reece, is the most important among them. Regular publications of the society include The Reach of Song, an anthology of society members’ poetry, and Georgia Poetry News, a newsletter. The winning manuscript in the Dickson Chapbook Contest is also published. The Poetry in the Schools Program is a major Georgia Poetry Society outreach effort. The program sponsors poetry reading and writing workshops for students and teachers in public, private, and parochial schools.