The Watauga County Public Library will host Shelby Stephenson, the state’s Poet Laureate, on Friday, April 21, at noon. The public is welcome to bring your own lunch and refreshments and drinks will be provided.
Mr. Stephensen grew up on a farm near Benson in the coastal plains.
“Most of my poems come out of that background,” he says, “where memory and imagination play on one another. I have written many poems about the mules we worked until I was in the seventh grade and, after that, the tractor. My early teachers were the 35 foxhounds my father hunted. The trees and streams, fields, the world of my childhood–all that folklore–those are my subjects.”
He was professor of English and editor of Pembroke Magazine until his retirement in 2010. The state of North Carolina presented him with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature. And he has received the Bellday Poetry Prize, the Oscar Arnold Young Award, the Zoe Kincaid-Brockman Award, the Brockman-Campbell Award, the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Prize, and the Playwright’s Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize.
In addition to numerous poetry publications, he has also produced a poetic documentary titled “Plankhouse” which portrays the home where he was born in 1938 and his upbringing there. He has made four music CDs with his wife, Linda, including one that is a tribute to Hank Williams.