Poetry Society of Oklahoma Mission Statement
Association for mutual enjoyment of poetry
To encourage members in improving knowledge and skill
in writing and reading of poetry
To make mutual contribution to a general
interest in and for the quality of poetry
in our society and the world.
The Poetry Society of Oklahoma had its beginning the ninth day of February, 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. A month later the participants elected
officers and chose Mrs. Tilghman as their first President.
The Poetry Society of Oklahoma has members not only from Oklahoma, but Texas, Wyoming,
Arkansas, Kansas, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and Oregon just to name
a few. PSO has an Awards Banquet every March, a workshop in July, and an annual business
meeting each 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. Eligible students include public, private, and home schooled and our goal in
PSO is to encourage youth to read and appreciate poems, and find joy in writing one -- while at the
same time learning more about our state. An Awards Ceremony is held in April for the winners,
and a Youth Poet 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 fifteenth as Poetry Day in Oklahoma. PSO has celebrated that day since the law was enacted
on May tenth, 1955. PSO affiliated with 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.
*Submitted by Patricia J. Koch Parliamentarian, Poetry Society of Oklahoma
Edited and Revised by Billy Pennington