Prelude to "A Poem A Day"
When I read Margaret Rabb's poem "Dogwood Alert," I was taken with her "looseblown momentary bloom of April," so I decided to use her image of dogwood blossoms as my motif for this Poem-a-Day celebration of National Poetry Month. What better way to envision the profusion of poetry in this state?
To follow through with her image, I wrote the titles of each of the poems I had chosen on pieces of white paper and scattered them to the winds of my office floor. I then went about gathering them up in whatever order my fingers reached for. Thus the sequence of poems! With a slight adjustment.
We begin with our former Poet Laureate, Fred Chappell, on April Fool's Day, an honor Fred will appreciate, I'm sure!
So, for the month of April, here is a gathering of a few of North Carolina's finest poets. I say a few, because there are not enough days in the month to represent all of our fine poets. The truth is, every month is Poetry Month in North Carolina! Therefore, we will continue to run poetry features during the rest of the months of the year. If you are a North Carolina poet and your work is not represented in this group, don't worry. I will find you!
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Boom Boom Boom Boom! John Lee Hooker's in town,
Jim Clark has published two books of poems, Dancing on Canaan's Ruins (Eternal Delight Productions, 1997) andHandiwork (St. Andrews College Press, 1998), and has edited Fable in the Blood: The Selected Poems of Byron Herbert Reece (The University of Georgia Press, 2002). In June of 2002 his first full-length play, The Girl with the Faraway Eye,was given a public staged reading at The Portland Actors Conservatory Theatre, Portland, OR. A CD of poems and Appalachian folk music, Buried Land, was released in September 2003. With Susan Underwood of Carson-Newman College, he is editing an anthology of modern Appalachian poetry, to be published by The University of Georgia Press. His stories and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and in journals and magazines such as The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Negative Capability, Asheville Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, Now and Then, Charleston Magazine, CrossRoads: A Journal of Southern Culture and Rolling Stone. Clark has taught at the University of Georgia, where he directed the creative writing program, at Auburn University, and at Christian Brothers College. He lives in Wilson, where he is professor of English and writer-in-residence at Barton College, founder and director of The Barton College Creative Writing Symposium, and an editor of Crucible Magazine. His readings often include music and songs performed on the guitar, banjo, autoharp, and mountain dulcimer.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
No one washes windows anymore; on ours
the new moles on your face, the hair
A word misspelled will rankle, but less and less.
It has begun to leaf out, twisted as ever, and turns
A scholar specializing in the modern Spanish American lyric, Mark Smith-Soto is a professor of Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he won the 1997 Senior Alumni Teaching Excellence Award. A long-time editor ofInternational Poetry Review, his own poetry has appeared in Kenyon Review, Poetry East, Literary Review, Carolina Quarterly, Quarterly West, Nimrod (where he was a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize) and many other literary magazines. HisGreen Mango Collage won the North Carolina Writers' Network's Persephone Prize in 2000, and another short collection,Shafts, was published as a winner of the Harperprints/Randall Jarrell chapbook competition in 2002. University Press of Florida published his first full-length book of poetry, Our Lives Are Rivers, in July, 2003. The Greensboro Playwrights Forum has produced five of his short plays. Trio, his first play in verse, was inspired by a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It was produced by Theater Orange of Chapel Hill/Carrboro as a winner of their 2003 Ten by Ten festival competition and will be published by Dramatic Publishers this year. Mr. Smith-Soto received a 2005 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for his poetry. "Imperfections" is reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Monday, April 18, 2005
I dream you are in water,
Gail Peck, who lives in Charlotte, is the author of four collections of poetry. Her work has been published widely in a variety of literary magazines (for example, Pembroke, Southern Review, Carolina Quarterly, Potato Eyes, Negative Capability,and The Greensboro Review) as well as many anthologies. This poem is taken from her most recent book,Thirst (Charlotte, NC: Main Street Rag, 2004). It is reproduced with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
By pairs and threes they crash
April. They pass, retreat sideways,
A specimen tree in a suburban yard
four or five flowers hover over a branch,
Margaret Rabb teaches in the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where she has lived more than thirty years. Her first book of poems, Granite Dives(Kalamazoo, MI: New Issues Press, 2000), received North Carolina's Roanoke Chowan Award. Her poems have also been recognized with awards such as the Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry and the Hackney Literary Award from the Writing Today conference. She received a writers' fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1998 as well as grants from the Council in subsequent years for residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. "Dogwood Alarm" is reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
My friend, my love, my onliest affliction,
Our conversation built for two.
Of our discontent, a jot, a mite.
The mares will nod beneath their manes,
As the last of the day bursts into smoke,
Come, my heart's-ease, my fracas and my thrill,
Alan Michael Parker is the author of a novel - Cry Uncle (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2005) and three books of poems: Days Like Prose (Alef Books, 1997), The Vandals (Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 1999), and Love Song with Motor Vehicles (Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2003), from which this poem is drawn. He is co-editor of The Routledge Anthology of Cross-Gendered Verse and editor for North America of Who's Who in 20th Century World Poetry. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review,and The Yale Review, among other magazines. His prose appears regularly in journals including The New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker. Mr. Parker is director of the creative writing program at Davidson College and is a core faculty member in Queens University's low-residency MFA program. "Whoosh" is reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
March midnight creeps upstairs
I sit downstairs writing about night
In the jungle no one needed blankets.
I imagine how my father ducked rounds
With pen I tap sturdy brilliant panes
I wish my father might fathom such sleep
My wife and daughter sleep without dreaming panes
Lenard D. Moore, founder and executive director of the Carolina African American Writers' Collective and executive chairman of the North Carolina Haiku Society, is the recipient of the Haiku Museum of Tokyo Award (2003, 1994, 1983). His poetry, essays and book reviews have appeared in more than 350 magazines and newspapers and more than 40 anthologies. He's the recipient of a number of awards and his work has been nominated twice for The Pushcart Prize. In July, he will be a Counselor-Writer (for the fourth year in a row) at the summer writing camp of the National Book Foundation (sponsor of the National Book Awards). He is the author of Desert Storm: A Brief History (San Diego, CA: Los Hombres Press, 1993); Forever Home (Laurinburg, NC: St. Andrews College Press, 1992); and The Open Eye (North Carolina Haiku Society Press, 1985). His poetry has been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into several languages. His most recent manuscript, titled "Dear Maiisha," is about the loss of his daughter and in memory of her. Poems about his daughter appear in the online and print journal The Heron's Nest as well as the magazine American Tanka. Other poems about his daughter are forthcoming in Pembroke Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Main Street Rag, and Midwest Quarterly. This poem was published in Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora (volume 3, number 2) and is reproduced here with the permission of Mr. Moore, who holds the copyright.
A note from Kathryn Stripling Byer on this poem's form: "A Quiet Rhythm of Sleep" is written in a form called a sestina. The sestina is composed of six sestets (6 line stanzas), followed by a tercet. The six words at the end of each of the first six lines must be repeated in a defined order at the end of each line of the remaining sestets. The three-line envoi must use all six of the repeated words.
Friday, April 22, 2005
For Mary Nicholson
Mama Nick we called her.
Still teenagers, we longed to intersect,
Yet, in those ephemeral days, she gave us
Even now, the undertaker tries to unbend what gravity
Hypotenuse, rhombus, Pythagoras, parabola
Since 1981 Janice Fuller has taught at Catawba College, in Salisbury, where she is writer-in-residence. Her poems have been published in a number of journals and she is also the author of four plays, most recently Dix, which was performed last summer at the Minneapolis Fringe Festival. She received a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council in 2000 for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, in addition to many other residencies in the United States and Europe. Her most recent collection of poems is Sex Education (Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press, 2004), from which "Geometry Teacher" is drawn. The poem is reproduced here with permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Saturday, April 23, 2004
My Grief in Time
The love that flowers
The rain has swollen
What design there is in dominion's ring
Shelby Stephenson lives in Benson and teaches English at Pembroke University, where he has edited Pembroke Magazine since 1979. He is the author of nine collections of poems - - most recently Possum (Bright Hill Press, 2004) - - and his work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. With his wife Linda he has also made a CD: Hank Williams Tribute. In 2001 he received the North Carolina Award for Literature. "My Grief in Time" first appeared in the May-June, 2004 issue of Blink."Balm" first appeared in the spring/summer 1987 issue ofThe Crane's Creek Review and was reprinted in Greatest Hits: 1978-2000 (Columbus, Ohio: Pudding House Publications, 2002). "September Morning" first appeared in the November 18, 2001, issue of The News & Observer. These three poems are reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Once, in a snowstorm - - the flakes falling sideways - -
Why, Why, Why not close my eyes? I was crawling
I might as well sleep, I told myself; I know
Deer! My son need only know our eyes require
Andrea Selch grew up in New York City and came to North Carolina to attend Duke University in 1983. Her poems have been widely published in magazines such as Calyx, The Greensboro Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, Oyster Boy, Luna, andPrairie Schooner. Her chapbook, Succory, was published by Carolina Wren Press in 2000. In 2004, Turning Point Books published her first full-length collection of poems, Startling. She lives with her partner and their two children in Hillsborough. This poem is reproduced with permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Dede Wilson is the author of Glass, published as a finalist in the Persephone Press Competition, and Sea of Small Fears, winner of the 2001 Main Street Rag Chapbook Competition. She has edited a memoir, Fourth Child, Second Daughter, and her poems and short stories have been published in many literary journals, including Spoon River Poetry Review, Carolina Quarterly, Flyway, Cream City Review, Southern Poetry Review, New Orleans Review, Tar River Poetry, Negative Capabilityand Light, the Quarterly of Light Verse. This poem is taken from Ms. Wilson's book One Nightstand (Charlotte, N.C.: Main Street Rag) and is reproduced with permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
A note from Kathryn Stripling Byer on this poem's form: "Day Moon" is a cinquain - a five-line poem with a syllable count of 2,4,6, 8, 2. An American poet, Adelaide Crapsey, created it in 1910.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
We have yet to come to terms with dreams.
Joseph and the Pharoah sought prediction.
Freud looked back, not forward, to explore
how we behave from cradle to the coffin
read the mind's meanderings as static
From random sparks escaped from memory,
Sally Buckner edited the anthology Word and Witness: One Hundred Years of North Carolina Poetry (1999) and alsoOur Words, Our Ways: Reading and Writing in North Carolina(1995), both published by Carolina Academic Press, based in Durham. She is professor emeritus of English at Peace College and lives in Raleigh. She wrote this poem for the 2004 North Carolina Writers Conference, at which she was the honoree. The poem is reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
A note from Kathryn Stripling Byer on this poem's form: "The Work of Dreams" is a pantoum, a Malayan form in which the second and fourth lines of each quatrain are repeated as the first and third lines in the next quatrain. The first line of the poem becomes the last line.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I want to put the album
Isabel Zuber was a librarian at Wake Forest University for many years and is now writing full time. Her novel, Salt(New York, NY: Picador USA), was selected for Virginia Commonwealth University's 2003 First Novel award. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in a number of literary magazines, including The American Voice, Poetry, Now & Then, Pembroke Magazine, and Shenandoah. Some of her prizes include the North Carolina Writers' Network's poetry chapbook competition, the Lee Smith Award for Fiction from the Appalachian Writers Association, the University of Tennessee Press Prize for Short Story, and a Forsyth County Arts Council grant. Her poetry collections are Oriflamb (Carrboro, NC: North Carolina Writers' Network, Harperprints Chapbook Series) and Winter's Exile (Southern Pines, NC: Scotch Plaid Press). This poem is drawn from Winter's Exile and is reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Time is drawing near
Look at the signs. They're right here.
The new preacher drinks beer
The cow's milk is clear.
Look at the cloven feet of the deer.
Pack all your spiritual gear.
A thirsty Spring this year, behind
Both Denise Blue Hunt and Debora Kinsland Foerst studied poetry under Kathryn Byer in Western Carolina University's MFA program. Denise Hunt was born and raised in Robeson County and now makes her home in Ayden, where she is an award-winning seventh-grade teacher in the C.M. Epps Middle School. She's expecting her first child at the end of this month. Debora Foerst is a lifelong resident of the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She earned a BSEd and MA in English from Western Carolina University, and she teaches eighth-grade language arts at Cherokee Middle School. Ms. Foerst is currently working toward the publication of Do You Just Say My Words?, a creative non-fiction manuscript of collected Cherokee stories.
Kathryn Byer's notes on form: DeniseHunt's poem is a villanelle-- a French form consisting of six three-line stanzas and a final quatrain. The first and third lines of the first stanza alternate at the ends of the subsequent stanzas. The quatrain at the end uses the same two lines for the refrain. Debora Foerst's poem is a sonnet - - a poem in fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter, with strict rhyme scheme. Sonnets can be either Shakespearian or Italian, depending on the structure of the rhyme.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Old houses with high peaked roofs,
They sit quietly confident,
Each has a personality,
A Latent Prescience
I want to talk about my little girl,
there was this life and inside this life a tree
And so as you talk about me this little girl
Carol Bessent Hayman has been poet laureate of the town of Beaufort since 1989. In 1993 she was also named poet laureate of Carteret County. In 1993 Beaufort adopted Ms. Hayman's poem "Beaufort by the Sea" as the town poem. "The Old Homes of Beaufort" (reproduced here with the permission of the author, who holds the copyright) is the official poem of the annual Beaufort Old Homes and Gardens Tour, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this June 24-25.
Since 2003 Patrick Herron has been poet laureate of the town of Carrboro, where he organizes an annual poetry festival (http://carrboropoetryfestival.org