Feed the Dream: The Palmetto Poets' Place

The FIRST BOOK PROJECT is a long term workshop designed for poets who are seeking to have their first book of poems published by an established publishing house. This intensive workshop provides a challenging but supportive environment for poets to get feedback about their manuscripts.

The participants give each poet the kind of criticism and encouragement needed to shape their poetry collections. The First Book Project functions as a collective and each workshop cycle lasts for a specific length of time.


The First Book Project will:

  • Encourage participating writers to rethink a collection of poems as a manuscript - that is to say a book of poetry.
  • Offer a workshop environment that is shaped in such a way that it will aid the poet in the process of shaping a collection of poems into a book length manuscript.
  • Participating writers aid one another in suggesting resources for publication such as upcoming contests, as well as literary journals/magazines, publishers that would be suitable avenues for submission for the writer's work.
  • Criticism focuses on shaping the work towards the larger project (book length manuscript), not on individual pieces.
  • Organize the workshop/meeting in such a way that participating writers share information about current publications.
  • Suggest publications (works by specific poets) that aid the individual poet in shaping his or her work into a publishable body of work.
  • Encourage, by way of collaboration, the strengths of the individual writer, as well as address his or her points of weakness.
  • Participants meet at an agreed upon time and place for no less than a six-month cycle.
  • The number of participants does not exceed ten in number. This criteria is established on the basis that this is a firm commitment that requires effort and time in the areas of reading, commenting, and revising submitted work.

The FIRST BOOK PROJECT seeks to serve all aspiring poets and/or poets seeking publication of a collection of poems in conventional publishing houses. The FIRST BOOK PROJECT will not serve those poets who are committed to self-publication.

Eligible participants would include:

  • MFA writers who have a thesis length body of work that is still functioning as simply a collection of poetry.
  • University Faculty members who have a collection of poems that is being worked in such a way that the end result will be a manuscript that can be submitted for publication.
  • Members of the community who have completed a book length collection of poetry that would benefit from a collaborative critiquing of their work.
  • Any aspiring poet who seeks the knowledge of resources that would aid him or her in their endeavor for publication.


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
Fax: (803) 777-9064

©University of South Carolina Board of Trustees