Mississippi Poetry Society
Mississippi Poetry Society  


Application Form (pdf)

Affiliated with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies

Mississippi Poetry Society is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is the official poetry society of Mississippi.  

The MPS is a group of professional and aspiring poets dedicated to promoting poetry, educating the public, assisting our poet and writer members in areas of greater writing skill and publication awareness.   Among our activities and opportunities are meetings, readings, workshops, contests, festivals and community outreach.

MPS was founded in 1932 with eleven charter members at Belhaven College in Jackson, and was first called Belhaven Poetry Society. Miss Elizabeth Newman, head of the English Department at Belhaven, was the first (honorary) president. Its objectives were: “to make citizens’ poetry conscious, to awaken in young people the desire to write poetry, to collect and preserve in anthologies the best poetry produced in Mississippi, and to bring it to the attention of readers outside our own borders.” The first elected president was Anne-Elise Roane Winter, who designed the MPS emblem, a shield with three silver stars on a dark blue vaulted sky, bearing the Latin phrase, “Ad Astra,” (toward the stars). The first meetings were held in the Municipal Art Gallery in Jackson. William Alexander Percy of Greenville, cousin and adoptive father of Walker Percy, was an early member.

Mississippi Poetry Society holds an annual Spring Contest each year. Cash awards are provided by sponsors who donate prize money and specify the particulars of the contest they wish to sponsor.  The contests are open to the public, and prizes are awarded at our Spring Festival.  We invite sponsors for our annual spring contest.  

Each year MPS publishes a journal of its winning contest poetry. 

Elaine McDermott
Mississippi Poetry Society
2017 Poet of the Year

Elaine McDermott

Elaine McDermott grew up in New Orleans and moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the seventies. In her poetry, we see a blending of the two cultures.  The author of several books of poetry, she received a grant from Mississippi Humanities Council for the presentation of her poems, Poetry: Understanding the Human Condition.  Elaine received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and her Master’s Degree from William Carey.  She retired from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jefferson Davis Campus, where she served as Director of the Learning Lab and Assistant Dean for Learning Resources.  Elaine is Past President of Mississippi Poetry Society, South Branch, and is a member of Gulf Coast Writers.  As the Mississippi Poetry Society's 2017 Poet of the Year, she will release her chapbook, By the Rivers of Babylon, in April of 2017. 


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