North Carolina

The current state poet laureate of North Carolina is Shelby Stephenson, who was appointed in 2015. Stephenson is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl (Bellday Books, 2008). He has received a North Carolina Award for Literature and was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2015. Stephenson served as professor of English at UNC-Pembroke from 1978 to 2010 and currently runs writing workships in assisted living communities.

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Writing Program The University of North Carolina, Wilmington North Carolina
Writing Program The University of North Carolina, Greensboro North Carolina
Writing Program The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill North Carolina
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poems

poem

 

          for Carl & Lillian Sandburg’s Connemara, Flat Rock, NC

 

As a child I was taken
to visit Connemara
as I remember
a little display of concrete poems
in the shapes of shoes
next to a typewriter
on an orange crate
let me know
I was

poem

Fuss, fight, and cutting the huckley-buck—Dear Malindy, 
Underground, must I always return to the country of the dead,

To the coons catting about in the trees, the North Carolina pines 
Chattering about sweetening bodies in their green whirring?

Do these letters predict my
poem
There was no water at my grandfather's
when I was a kid and would go for it
with two zinc buckets. Down the path,
past the cow by the foundation where
the fine people's house was before
they arranged to have it burned down.
To the neighbor's cool well. Would
come back with pails too heavy,
so my mouth pulled out