Congratulations to Brandon poet Linda Owen for being chosen Poet of the Year by the Mississippi Poetry Society.
Owen currently serves as the immediate past president of both State and Central MPS of the Mississippi Poetry Society Central branch which she has been an active member of since 2010. We caught up with the award-winning poet to learn more about how she started her poetry journey and opportunities for those interested in getting connected with the poetry community in Mississippi.
Linda, how did you get started in poetry?
This goes way back to when I was a child, learning poetry in elementary school and at home. My mother would play Christian radio in our house, so I was exposed to a lot of music with lyrics, that definitely had something to do with it. It was easy for me to think in poetic language. I did write some poetry in my teen years but got away from it. For most of my life, I was an English teacher, teaching literature and poetry, but not writing. I started writing seriously in retirement and have joined some great groups.
How did these groups help you grow as a poet?
First, I joined a worldwide, online group called Faith Writers and took on the challenges they sent out each week. Writing in the genre of the poem and the theme helped me with having writing discipline. Then I joined Poets Anonymous, a local group, and through that was invited to visit the Mississippi Poetry Society. I have contributed and enjoyed that immensely.
How do you become Poet of the Year and what was involved?
First, you must have enough poetry to publish a book, when you submit you receive points for Service to MPS, your Honors, Publications, and Contest Awards, and then samples of your best poems that are judged by an out-of-state judge. Once selected, we are funded to publish our book and are encouraged to do readings from the book anywhere we are invited. My compilation book of my poetry has recently been released, “A Gift of Dappled Light.”
What are some other ways you have shared your talent?
I held the position of Poetry Corner Columnist for Ezraweb: Home for the Christian Family from 2006-2009. Through the years, I have provided custom poetry and prose for church programs, and for weddings and funerals, as well as for other occasions, such as dedications, graduations, birthdays, and retirements, often serving as a representative of the Mississippi Poetry Society. I love sponsoring categories in the MPS Spring contests and have served in multiple areas for MPS including MPS State Vice President and have edited or co-edited our Contest Journal a number of times over the years.
How can people get tied in with the Mississippi Poetry Society?
I encourage those getting into poetry to find a poet’s group locally, we would love to have them join the Mississippi Poetry Society. Our local branch meets at the Flowood Library on the third Saturday of the month at 2:00 p.m. The old saying, “Iron sharpens iron.”, really applies. I have been inspired and my poetry has been honed. You can find us at our Facebook Group Mississippi Poetry Society or at our website misspoetry.net.