For the heart: Local author inspires through writing

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

For the heart: Poplarville author Erlene McCarty Smith reads a page from her book “Meditations for the Heart.” Photo by Cassandra Favre

For the heart: Poplarville author Erlene McCarty Smith reads a page from her book “Meditations for the Heart.”
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Down into the ground / Goes a tiny seed brown / We put a little water / Just to keep the thing in order / Now we leave it to rest / Because we know it’s best / Now what do you see? / A little thing green / Oh? It’s a sprout / It came pushing right out. –– “Plants” written by Erlene McCarty Smith at the age of 12.

Since the planting of her first literary seed, Poplarville author Erlene McCarty Smith’s works have been published in numerous journals, magazines and newspapers. She is also the author of two books, “Conquest and other poems,” and “Meditations for the Heart.”
The latter novel was recently nominated for a non-fiction award by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.
Smith was born and raised in Collins. She attended Pearl River Community College, where she met her husband, Harold S. Smith.
After completion of the accelerated business course, Smith moved to Mobile, Alabama where she was employed as a secretary and stenographer for two years.
She then returned to Poplarville to marry her college sweetheart, Harold.
“He was retired from the United States Army and National Guard. He served as the postmaster and also as city alderman for 12 years,” Smith said. “He knew everybody in Poplarville. He recently passed away in 2013 and I still miss him very much.”
Harold and Erlene have four children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Smith said she began writing poetry at the age of 12.
‘‘I’ve just always loved it,” Smith said. “I started out memorizing things and during my elementary school days, I loved taking books home with me and looking at all the pictures.”
For 12 years, Smith was employed as a secretary at Poplarville High School. In addition to working, she took summer and night courses in order to earn her bachelor of science and a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
She taught English at Poplarville High School and Pearl River Community College.
“I loved teaching and always encouraged my students to enter their poems and stories into contests,” Smith said.
Not only has Smith written in her personal journal for more than 50 years, her works have been published in several publications including “Homelife,” “Mature Living,” “Open Windows,” “English Journal” and “Reminisce.”
For the past five years, Smith has written “The Devotional Corner” for The Poplarville Democrat.
Smith’s writings are Christian based and reflect her devotion to God and the writings in the Bible.
Her first book, “Conquest and other poems,” is a compilation of poetry written during various times in Smith’s life.
Smith hopes her second book, “Meditations for the Heart,” will inspire people to appreciate life more and strive to live a better life.
“I want to encourage people to appreciate the simple things in life and live life to the fullest,” Smith said.
When she’s not writing, Smith can be found painting, gardening or singing in the choir at Oak Hill Baptist Church.
“I enjoy writing things so kids will know how things used to be,” Smith said. “I want my readers to appreciate living in a free country and having so many opportunities in life.”
“Meditations for the Heart” is available for purchase through, and at LifeWay Christian stores.
Learn more about Smith at

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