Feed the Dream: The Palmetto Poets' Place

CONFLUENCE is a collaboration between Art Museums, Galleries, and the Poetry Initiative to celebrate the creative frisson that can come from the meeting of at least two genres of the arts: poetry and the fine arts.

CONFLUENCE brings writers into museums so that they can spend time with and respond to the holdings of the museums and galleries through the writing and performance of original poetry. Through a series of workshops, readings, art talks and public performances, CONFLUENCE pools the resources of writers and museums or galleries in close partnership.

CONFLUENCE creates a new and dynamic audience for Galleries, Museums and poets and has found innovative ways to meet the objectives of the galleries and museums in their efforts to reach a wider audience.


The Poetry Initiative is currently developing a list of local poets that might be interested in participating in CONFLUENCE.

If you are a poet who is interested in participating in CONFLUENCE, please send:

  1. A portfolio of poems
  2. Contact details
  3. A brief biography
  4. A cover letter outlining your interests to The Poetry Initiative

c/o Charlene Spearen

The South Carolina Poetry Initiative
Department of English
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208
e-mail:dawesk@mailbox.sc.edu /cmspeare@mailbox.sc.edu
Telephone: (803) 777-2230 / 777-0307
Fax: (803) 777-9064


Museums interested in participating in CONFLUENCE should contact the Poetry Initiative to discuss ways in which to create this dynamic collaboration across the State of South Carolina. The project will seek to bring together local poets and the Museum's art work in an exciting collaboration--a frisson. Below is an outline of the objectives of the CONFLUENCE project.

For more information please contact the Poetry Initiative.

*Confluence had its first incarnation as Frisson in 2005, when Dr. Charlene Spearen began her long relationship with the Columbia Museum of Art.  Month after month she and the Museum's Program Manager, Leslie Pearce, programmed a wide range of poets writing the wide range of art exhibited at the museum, often with music and dance.  In 2009, Confluence became the new title for this exciting program.  This program has been designed to adapt to any museum of art or art gallery in the state.


CONFLUENCE with the Columbia Museum of Art has been reaching large audiences in Columbia for the past year. Generally, a poet or group of poets reads work written after viewing the art work on display in the Museum's traveling exhibit or its permanent collection.

The Poetry Initiative has created a roster of poets and writers who then view the work in the museum. The writers create works of art based on the art work and on the First Friday of each month, do a public reading of the work in the galleries. Often these readings have been accompanied by live music. In many instances, the readings represent a unique way for the patrons of the museum to view the art that is housed there. Audiences of as much as 120 people have attended these readings.

Confluence has also formed a collaboration between Split P Soup and the Museum's education program, supplying poets to work with young people to create poems based on the art in the Museum and to explore the connections between art and words.

For more information, please click here to visit the Columbia Museum of Art website or contact Charlene Spearen, Poet in Residence for the Columbia Museum of Art: cmspeare@mailbox.sc.edu .

©University of South Carolina Board of Trustees