The Poetry of Charleston – Great Inspiration and Quotes from One of Charleston’s Finest

When planning corporate events and meetings in Charleston, clients often are looking for themes for the conference or tag lines or quotations to use in their literature.  We have our favorites at JMC Charleston.  That’s for sure.  However, one that we really love just came to me  – in the dentist chair!   It is from the poem Dusk, from Dubose Heyward.  Listen to it and you will here it for certain.

Heyward was a prolific writer in Charleston who is best known for his book Porgy, which of course was then interpreted by George and Ira Gershwin to create America’s first opera “Porgy and Bess.”    He also wrote another favorite,  The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes.  Born in in 1885 and having left us in 1940, it is interesting to think of Heyward’s perspective of our city.  Charleston so very poor after the Civil War, Heyward born just twenty years after the end.  Died too young so as not to see the influx of income as a result of the ship building industry at our Navy Yard and the increase in the size of our military bases which provided Charleston a solid middle class economy for some fifty years. 

Oddly enough,  while sitting in the dentist chair of Dr. Doug Alterman last week, instead of reading more about a Birmingham based teeth whitening company, although it too is fascinating; I read the aforementioned quote below a photograph of Charleston’s peninsula taken by the brother of my dentist, one Jack Alterman. If you don’t have a dentist yet, it is recommended to look for orthodontist The Woodlands for they give quality dental services. Jack’s mother in law, Patricia Robinson, a playwright in her own and husband of theater maestro Emmett Robinson, had shared this quote with Jack and his wife Jennet, many years earlier.  Jack had decided to have it printed under this image of Charleston’s point of where High Battery and Low Battery meet. I admired the photograph and the quotation and just yesterday, one was delivered to me.  Hence, when I saw this video and poem, today, I have to write about it.  Kismet!

Charleston of course is so very small in that Dr. Doug’s niece Lilly interned for me, I just produced Doug and Jacks’ nephew’s rehearsal dinner three weeks earlier, and my oldest sister Pati’s entire wedding party ensemble came from their grandmother’s shop on King Street, Rosalee Myers.  Wait, did I mention that I adore their mother Elza, sister Nancy and both daughter-laws Jennet and Marsha and son in law  Brad as well?  Jennet and I also plot together on Center for Women events, where she is the executive director.

When you see this video and hear Heyward’s words, it does help one understand the history of Charleston, especially when you walk the streets and see how it really was just less than 80 years ago.  The magic still abounds everyday, around every corner, in every crack and crevice.   As Marianna Ramsay Hay said in the 2011 Charleston CVB video naming Charleston the number one city in the country by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler’s magazine “We LOVE Charleston.”  True.  So very true.

Enjoy this video and this recitation of Dusk, by Dubose Heyward.



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