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NC Poet Laureate to Speak at Appalachian’s Commencement Ceremonies Dec. 16 at Holmes Center

Nov. 29, 2012. N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will be the speaker at December commencement at Appalachian State University. Bathanti is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian and director of the Writing in the Field program and writer-in-residence in the university’s Watauga Global Community.

He was named the state’s seventh poet laureate in August by Gov. Bev Perdue and installed during ceremonies in September in Raleigh.

Appalachian will hold two ceremonies Sunday, Dec. 16, in the Holmes Convocation Center to accommodate graduates, their families and guests.

Ceremonies for University College, the Reich College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences will begin at 10 a.m.

Ceremonies for the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Walker College of Business, the Hayes School of Music and College of Health Sciences will begin at 2 p.m.

Bathanti was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Penn. He has Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.

He came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates.

Bathanti is the author of six books of poetry: “Communion Partners”; “Anson County”; “The Feast of All Saints”; “This Metal,” which was nominated for The National Book Award, and won the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer; “Land of Amnesia,” from Press 53 in 2009; and “Restoring Sacred Art,” from Star Cloud Press, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year.

His first novel, “East Liberty,” winner of the Carolina Novel Award, was published in 2001 by Banks Channel Books in Wilmington. His latest novel, “Coventry,” winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award, was published by Novello Festival Press in Charlotte. “They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995,” his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. His collection of short stories, “The High Heart,” winner of the 2006 Spokane Prize, was published by Eastern Washington University Press in 2007. Books of poetry and creative nonfiction are forthcoming from Mercer University Press, as well as a forthcoming volume of poetry from Jacar Press.

Bathanti is the recipient of Literature Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (for poetry) and 2009 (for fiction); The Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; a fellowship from The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry; the Bruno Arcudi Literature Prize; the Ernest A Lynton Faculty Award for Professional Service and Academic Outreach; the Aniello Lauri Award for Creative Writing (in 2001 and 2007); the Linda Flowers Prize; the Sherwood Anderson Award; the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize; the Donald Murray Prize; the 2012 Ragan-Rubin Award for Literary Achievement; the 2012 Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, the 2013 Mary Frances Hobson Prize; and others.

He was named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the Western Region for the North Carolina Poetry Society for 2011-12.

For more information about commencement, including parking information, visit http://registrar.appstate.edu/graduation