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The Stephenson Center at Lees-McRae College to Host North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti on Feb. 27

Feb. 20, 2014. North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will read from his award-winning work on Thursday, Feb. 27 at Lees-McRae College as part of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lecture Series. Beginning at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium, the program is free and open to the public. 

A poet, novelist and short story writer, Bathanti has created a rich body of work that depicts life in the America where he has grown up. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he came to North Carolina in 1976 as part of Volunteers in Service to America (Vista) to work with prison outreach, a mission he has followed ever since. 

Today, Bathanti teaches at Appalachian State University, where he is Director of Writing in the Field and Writer-in-Residence for Watauga Global Community.

In 2012, Governor Beverly Perdue appointed him as North Carolina’s seventh Poet Laureate, saying “Joseph Bathanti is an award-winning poet and novelist with a robust commitment to social causes…As North Carolina’s new Poet Laureate he plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry – a valuable and generous project.”

In his role as poet laureate, Bathanti has continued to speak and teach widely, holding writing workshops across the state to help veterans put their stories into written word. He has also published poetry celebrating their experiences. He has become an important proponent and resource for his adopted state. 

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

The Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Lees-McRae College invites everyone to enjoy this evening with the Poet Laureate. 

“Joseph Bathanti’s readings both entertain and enlighten. His accessible poems and fiction reveal the poet’s insights and experiences while shedding light on the joys and turmoil of contemporary life,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center. “We welcome the community to share with our students and the Poet Laureate this special evening.”

Joseph Bathanti’s program will begin at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium of the Cannon Student Center on the Lees-McRae campus. For information, contact Megan Hall, director of communications, at 828-898-8729.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, four-year college offering diverse baccalaureate degrees, strong athletic programs and outstanding faculty. With 850 students hailing from 40 states and more than 10 countries, Lees-McRae’s broad core curriculum is enhanced by field-specific career preparation and experiential learning with an emphasis in leadership and service. For more information, please visit www.lmc.edu or  call 828-898-5241.