Come to Mountain Gardens Day!


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2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest Winner Announced

Eric S. Sutherland, poet, community activist, and author of pendulum, judged over 100 poems for the 2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest, and he selected Cindy King’s (Lancaster, TX) “Prelude and Seating of the Mothers” as the winning poem.  Those receiving Honorable Mentions include “Giving up the Bones” – Lynne Shapiro, Hoboken, NJ; “Déjà vu” – Pat Landreth Keller, Hawkinsville, GA; “To Lake Chatuge” – Karen Paul Holmes, Atlanta, GA; and “I Have Two Legs” – Ronnie Hess, Madison WI.  Congratulations to the winner and those who received honorable mention.

The winning poem is here –Prelude and Seating of the Mothers C King

Cindy King’s work has appeared in Callaloo, North American Review, Black Warrior Review, American Literary Review, jubilat, Barrow Street and elsewhere. Her poems can also be heard at,, and In 2014, she was awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is the recipient of the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she will continue to revise her book-length poetry manuscript this summer. She has also been selected to be an NEH Scholar and will participate in the Black Poetry After the Black Arts Movement Summer Institute at the University of Kansas. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she currently lives in Texas, where she is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Thank you to all who entered!

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BHRS Annual Meeting on May 30th

Members and friends are cordially invited to attend the Reece Society’s 12th annual meeting on Saturday, May 30, in the pavilion of the BHR Farm and Heritage Center near Vogel State Park.  The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m.  The general meeting will consist of a few reports, along with the election of directors for the 2015-2016 membership year.

Winners of this year’s Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest will be announced, and the winning poem will be read.  Lunch will once again be catered by Sodexo of Young Harris College.

We are pleased to announce Professor Ted Olson as the keynote speaker for the 2015 annual meeting.  A great admirer of Byron Reece, Professor Olson is a member of the Appalachian Studies Department at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.  He is a well-published poet with two volumes in print, Breathing in Darkness and Revelations.  His scholarly interests include James Still, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Sherwood Anderson, and he has edited books about their works.  Additional publications include the scholarly study Blue Ridge Folklife.  As a practicing musician, his interests extend to publications in that area, and he has received three Grammy nominations for his work as a music historian.

Following lunch, attendees of the meeting will be invited to participate in the dedication of the Sellers Memorial Amphitheater, located on Wolf Creek below the corn crib.  This intimate setting, consisting of 31 stone seats and a performance area, was constructed in honor of Dr. Bettie Sellers, former poet laureate of Georgia, a Reece scholar, and a faithful member of the BHR Society.

A mailing about the annual meeting, including registration information, will go out to Society members in early May.  Others interested in participating can download a  2015 annual meeting registration form.


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2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest Announced!

The deadline for entries has been extended to May 11! 

The Byron Herbert Reece Society is happy to announce that the Bettie Sellers Poetry Contest is open for submissions. The contest recognizes Bettie Sellers, the Georgia Poet Laureate (1997-2000) and longtime faculty member of Young Harris College.  Sellers, the author of Wild Ginger, Liza’s Monday and Other Poems, Spring Onions and Cornbread, Morning of the Red Tailed Hawk, and The Bitter Berry: The Life of Byron Herbert Reece, taught at YHC for 32 years, was an expert on Byron Herbert Reece, and a charter member of the BHRS.

Entry fee is $5 for three poems. Contest details and entry form are found here.

The winner of the contest will receive $200, and the winning poem will be published on the Byron Herbert Reece Society website.

Judging the 2015 Bettie Sellers Poetry contest is Eric Scott Sutherland. Sutherland is an ISA Certified Arborist, a community/event organizer, and author of two chapbooks and two full length collections of poetry:  incommunicado and his latest, pendulum.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the creative force behind Holler Poets Series, a monthly celebration of literature and music since 2008.   Eric makes his home in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky.  Follow Eric and Holler Poets Series at

eric sutherland


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Looking forward to 2015

We’re resting now, and planning, and improving so we can be ready to go for 2015. Now is the time to reserve your our pavilion and grounds for your wedding, family reunion, picnic or other event. Please contact us at reecesociety @ to get your event on our calendar.IMG_6509

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Kind words from a visitor

Thank you Ms. Carlson. We hope to see you again soon!

I have had the delight and privilege of visiting several of the Land Grant universities and have seen quite a few educational displays attempting to connect today’s suburban residents to their agricultural roots.  The artists and educators connected with the Reece Farm have done an exceptional job in illustrating the life that was common to almost all rural folks in the first half of the last century.  The displays are approachable, understandable and present a fair balance of the challenges of rural life and how those challenges were met day in and day out with hard work.  School and adult groups will benefit for many years to come.  Today, spinning, weaving, crochet and knitting skills are relegated to the “Arts and Crafts” category, but in those days, these winter and lamplight skills were taught early and considered a responsibility as well as artistic expression.  Thank you for recognizing this aspect of that era.  Mr. Reece’s personal items also lend insight to his quiet and too short life.

 How fitting that his words are inscribed in the pillars arranged on the farm’s grounds, within the sound of Wolf Creek and the shadow of Georgia’s beloved mountains. Please give my regards to the planners and architects of such a welcoming and peaceful site.


Becky Carlson


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Saturday evening, September 13th come hear the Appalachian String Quartet, an ensemble from the North Georgia Chamber Symphony, play the classical favorites of mountain poet Byron Herbert Reece as well as other numbers.  Reece was fond of Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and other well-known musicians.  The event honors Reece on his 97th birthday.

The concert is free to the public and happens at twilight between 7:00 to 8:00 pm. There is a $3.00 admission fee for those 12 and over who wish to tour the venue’s exhibits.  Come early if you want to tour the exhibits. They close at 6:30 PM.  For more information contact the Reece Center at 706-745-2034.

The Reece Farm & Heritage Center is located on U.S. 129, 9 miles south of Blairsville, GA near Vogel State Park

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