North Carolina Poet Laureate

North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson didn’t set out to become a poet; first, he had to leave the three-room shanty in Benson where he was born in 1938. And although he pursued a series of jobs and studies, the words caught up with him, landing him positions at university English departments and eventually bringing him full circle, back to the family farm, where today he contemplates the meaning of place, of home, and of memory.

Poetry Samples/Bibliography

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Past Poet Laureates

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N.C. Poet Laureate Job Description

The North Carolina poet laureate acts as an ambassador of N.C. literature, using the office as a platform from which to promote N.C. writers and the potentially transformative qualities of poetry and the written word.

While each poet laureate shapes the position in his or her own way, duties typically include public activities with schools, community groups, and the press during the year and contact with writers and readers by mail, email and/or through a website.