The Alabama State Poetry Society (ASPS) has officially announced its selection for 2022 Poet of the Year. This year’s honor goes to a Birmingham-based poet who has touched many lives through his writing and passion for the art—Roger Carlisle. We spoke with the honoree about his achievement, read on for more on his work and ASPS’s decision.
Inspiring others through poetry
Each year, the ASPS bestows the Poet of the Year award to one who has best served the poetry community in Alabama. This year’s honoree couldn’t be more humble and deserving.
As a semi-retired physician, Roger Carlisle has been honing his craft writing poetry for over a decade. His work has been published in various poetry journals, with around 63 published poems.
Carlisle told me he’s been writing poems almost every day for 12 years, but even with his new award, he’s been nothing but humble about his craft.
“I was completely shocked and surprised by the award. I guess I’ve been doing more work than I realized! It’s really amazing what a vital, fun, upbeat life I have at age 77. It’s an opportunity to do a lot of mentoring and sponsoring younger poets and people who are starting their writing careers. Life’s not over at 77.”Roger Carlisle, 2022 ASPS Poet of the Year
As a member of the Highland Avenue Poets and an active participant in the ASPS, Carlisle kindly dedicates his time to help the organization and his peers flourish.
“Roger puts so much work into his craft, and one of the things I like about his writing is the depth of thought he can apply to the everyday things of this life. Trees and snowfalls are just two examples. He also is very encouraging to other writers. A while back, he sent me praise about something very personal that I had written, said he had shown it to his wife Leslie, and that meant a lot. And he has done that before.”Tom Gordon, Poet, Highland Ave Poets
Active in the community
Nominations for Poet of the Year are accepted from any member of ASPS and any current members are eligible for the award. The board of directors votes to select the winner from the pool of nominees they receive.
ASPS had no shortage of kind words about Carlisle and his deserving win.
“We are very pleased to name Dr. Roger Carlisle our 2022 Poet of the Year. Roger has been a member of ASPS for many years and has a history of service to poetry in the state.
He is active locally in the poetry community in Birmingham and recently published a collection of his poems. In his nomination, Roger Carlisle was described as a bright light in our poetry community. We know he will continue to shine a bright light on the poets of the state and all of the wonderful poetry and poetry events Alabama has to offer!”Dr. Jessica Temple, President, Alabama State Poetry Society
Over the years, Carlisle has garnered an impressive resume of involvement within the Alabama poetry community. For several years he directed the Robinson Jeffers Poetry Festival at Gorham’s Bluff on Sand Mountain.
Plus, each summer he travels to Postignan, Italy for Convivio, a writing and art conference. According to ASPS, he is always happy to share what he’s learned and encourages others to attend. He is also an active sponsor—and participant—for the fall and spring ASPS contests, ensuring that the events can continue to highlight and uplift talented local poets.
“Poetry is such a big world, I think the main thing is to find poets that you’d like and read a lot of it. Most of my poetry is accessible and not too long. The big rule in poetry is show don’t tell—you’re trying to tell a story that has some kind of you know, metaphysical impact without spelling it out to the reader.”Roger Carlisle, 2022 ASPS Poet of the Year
All are welcome to join ASPS to help support their mission. Through ASPS, people can let their creativity shine through writing poetry, whether they’re published or simply passionate about the art.
The group supports each other through poetry readings, bi-annual contests and staying in touch with the community. Stay updated with all things ASPS—follow them on Facebook. Interested in becoming a member? Join here.
Find Roger’s work in the book Poems for Hungry Minds, an anthology by the Highland Avenue Poets. Purchase on Amazon here.
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