Zoe Tilghman

1934 *~* POETRY SOCIETY of OKLAHOMA *~* 2016

Our History: The Poetry Society of Oklahoma had its beginning February 9, 1934 in the library of the YWCA in Oklahoma City. About thirty poets came together in response to a newspaper request made by Zoe Tilghman, who worked as a literary editor for a newspaper. The group approved Mrs. Tilghman's plan for a State Poetry Society, and a month later the participants elected officers and chose Mrs. Tilghman as their first President.

The Poetry Society of Oklahoma has members from all across Oklahoma, and also Texas, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kansas, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and Oregon, just to name a few. PSO hosts an Awards Banquet every March, a workshop in July, and an annual business meeting every October where officers are elected and installed every two years.

Since 1969 PSO has sponsored a Statewide Youth Poetry Contest open to Oklahoma Public School students grades one through twelve. In 2000 the Poetry Society of Oklahoma introduced Vivian Ramsey Stewart and Wilma Goodman's concept: The Annual Oklahoma Lore Statewide Youth Poetry Contest. Students who are enrolled in public, private, and home school are eligible to enter.  Our goal is to encourage youth to read and appreciate poems, and to find joy in writing poetry -- while at the same time learning more about our state. An Awards Ceremony is held in April, and  Youth Poets Laureate for Elementary, Primary, Junior, and Senior grade groups are chosen. We feel it is very important to support our youth, and PSO does this as an organization.

In April 2012 the City Council of Oklahoma City Proclaimed April as National Poetry month for Oklahoma City and the State Legislature of Oklahoma passed a House Resolution making April National Poetry Month for the State of Oklahoma. The Legislature of Oklahoma also adopted October 15th as Poetry Day in Oklahoma. PSO has celebrated that day since the law was enacted in 1955. PSO affiliated with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, (NFSPS) in 1971. It hosted National Conventions in 1968, 1989, and 2007. There are also poems by PSO members at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.