WILSON, N.C. — Walking into April Poetry Day, held in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center on the campus of Barton College, celebrates its tenth year as a Down East poetry event, keeping the poetic spirit of Sam Ragan alive and thriving in new and upcoming writers. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, and is sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society, Barton College, and the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, funded by the late Marie Gilbert and former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. Registration opens at 9:15 a.m., and the program begins at 9:45 a.m.
Schedule at a Glance —
9:15 a.m. — Registration
9:45 a.m. — Readings by Griffin and Kaufman
11 a.m. — Roundtable Discussion with Griffin and Kaufman
Noon — Lunch
1:20 p.m. — Readings by White & Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series Student Poets
2 p.m. — Open Microphone
Featured poets include Debra Kaufman, Bill Griffin, who will read and present their tips on writing and reading poetry. Barton College is pleased to present Michael White, a professor in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, as the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for Down East. All poets are welcome to bring books to sell and poems to share during the open microphone session.
White was educated at the University of Missouri and the University of Utah, where he received his Ph.D. His most recent books are “Palma Cathedral,” awarded the Colorado Prize, and “Re-entry,” which won the Vassar Miller Prize. Magazines and anthologies such as “The Paris Review,” “The New Republic,” “The Kenyon Review,” “The Gettysburg Review,” “The Missouri Review,” and “The Best American Poetry” have published his work. His numerous awards include a NEA Fellowship as well as several fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council. Reading with White will be GCDP Series student poets Elizabeth Dogbe of Toisnot Middle School in Wilson, adult student poet Nancy Seate of Goldsboro, and Rachel Von Almen and Lauren Glisson of Wayne Community College.
Kaufman’s newest collection of poetry is “The Next Moment” (Jacar Press). She is also the author of “Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind,” “A Certain Light,” “Family of Strangers,” and “Still Life Burning,” winner of the Kinloch Rivers Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies, including “The Sound of Poets Cooking,” and in literary magazines such as “Southern Poetry Review,” “Pembroke Magazine,” and “Greensboro Review.” Her short and full-length plays have been performed throughout North Carolina and elsewhere. Kaufman is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council playwriting scholarship and of a grant from the Central Piedmont Regional Artists Hub Program.
Griffin lives in Elkin, where he is a rural doctor and geriatrician as well as a practicing poet. His first chapbook, “Barb Quill Down,” a finalist in the annual Looking Glass Poetry Chapbook Competition, was followed by “Changing Woman,” an exploration of how the ones we love change us, and we them. Other chapbooks include “Snake Den Ridge, a Bestiary,” set in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and illustrated by his wife, Linda French Griffin, and “little mouse.” His work has appeared in “Southern Poetry Review,” “Cave Wall,” “Pembroke Magazine,” and “NC Literary Review.” An activist for the arts and nature, Griffin serves on the Board of the North Carolina Poetry Society.
The morning sessions will include readings and presentations by Griffin and Kaufman followed by roundtable discussions with the poets. Following lunch, there will be a book signing and readings by White and the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series student poets. There will also be an open microphone for others to share poems.
The event is free, but reservations are required in advance for those planning to have lunch at the event. The deadline for lunch reservations is April 10. For lunch reservations, please send a check for $9.50 (per person), payable to “Barton College,” to the attention of Dr. Rebecca Godwin, Department of English and Modern Languages, Barton College, P.O. Box 5000, Wilson, NC 27893-7000.
For additional information or to register, please contact Dr. Rebecca Godwin, director of The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center, at 252-399-6364 or email: rlgodwin@ba,rton.edu.
Questions? Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.