News from the North Carolina Arts Council

August 30, 2012

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Joseph Bathanti Named Poet Laureate

"I can't imagine a better place in the United States to be a writer than North Carolina," Bathanti says. "There is no place richer in literature and no place that has celebrated writers in quite the same way as our state does." — Joseph Bathanti


Joseph Bathanti imageAward winning poet, professor and advocate for literacy, Joseph Bathanti, of Vilas, has been named North Carolina's Poet Laureate by Governor Bev Perdue.

"Joseph Bathanti is an award-winning poet and novelist with a robust commitment to social causes. He first came to North Carolina to work in the VISTA program and has taught writing workshops in prisons for 35 years," Perdue said. "As North Carolina's new Poet Laureate he plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry — a valuable and generous project."

North Carolina's seventh poet laureate, Bathanti will be installed during a public celebration scheduled Thursday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the State Capitol. The event is free. He succeeds Cathy Smith Bowers, the state's poet laureate from 2010 to June 30, 2012.

"Joseph Bathanti brings a deep appreciation of our state's diverse communities, geographies and traditions to his new role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature," said Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle. "His appointment as Poet Laureate is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina's rich literary history."

Bathanti is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University where he is also Director of Writing in the Field and Writer-in-Residence in the University's Watauga Global Community. He has taught writing workshops in prisons for 35 years and is former chair of the N.C. Writers' Network Prison project.

Bathanti's books of poetry include This Metal (St. Andrews College Press, 1996 and Press 53, 2012) Restoring Sacred Art (Star Cloud Press, 2010), Land of Amnesia (Press 53, 2009), Anson County (Williams & Simpson, 1989 and Parkway Publishers, 2005), The Feast of All Saints (Nightshade press, 1994) and Communion Partners (Briarpatch Press, 1986). He has published two novels, Coventry (Novello Festival Press, 2006) and East Liberty (Banks Channel Books, 2001) along with a book of short stories, The High Heart (Eastern Washington University Press, 2007).

The North Carolina Poet Laureate is one of the state's longest running and most important ways that we celebrate and share our state literary heritage with citizens," said Wayne Martin, Executive Director, N.C. Arts Council. "Joseph's work is accessible because he writes about topics that touch all of us: family, home and personal experiences."

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Click here to read the press release

PDF: Q & A with Joseph Bathanti


Meet Joseph Bathanti, N.C. Poet Laureate

Joseph Bathanti reads "Burn Season"


North Carolina Poet Laureate Installation Details

Thursday, September 20, 2012
4:30 p.m.
North Carolina State Capitol
House of Representatives Chamber
One Edenton Street, Raleigh, N.C.

Reception until 6 p.m. in the Rotunda

RSVP to or (919) 807-6510 by September 13, 2012.

The State Capitol Historic Site is a three-story building, with the first two stories accessible by elevator. An access ramp and automatic doors are available on the east side of the building (facing Wilmington Street). Accessible parking is available for $2 per hour in the visitor parking lot on the corner of Edenton and Wilmington Streets. To request accessibility accommodations, please contact by September 6, 2012.


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