Thursday, July 17, 2014

Former Poets Laureate 'Outraged and Deeply Disappointed'

Martha Waggoner of the AP reports that North Carolina's four former poets laureate have requested a meeting with Gov. Pat McCrory. Earlier today, the four -- Fred Chappell, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Cathy Smith Bowers and Joseph Bathanti -- issued a statement about their outrage:

"As former poets laureate of North Carolina, we remain outraged and deeply disappointed by the circumvention of the established process in place for a number of years to appoint the North Carolina  Poet Laureate, a cherished, time-honored, and crucial position in service to the citizens of the state. Instituted and administered expertly and transparently by the North Carolina Arts Council -- which has our unqualified support and loyalty -- the process insured that the poet laureate, ultimately appointed by the governor, was indeed a poet and educator of singular accomplishment, someone not only with a literary reputation in North Carolina, but beyond. The fact that that process was not recognized in the most recent appointment has resulted in disaster.

"Consequently, we stand at a crucial juncture in time for the literature and the writers of North Carolina -- not just its poets, but all of its writers, regardless of genre -- and, in truth, for literature and writers everywhere.

"Thus, we are dedicated to emerging from this crisis preserved and united as a state-wide community of writers, restoring the prestige and integrity of the Laureateship, and still enjoying our indisputable stature as one of the greatest states for writers and writing in this country."

Fred Chappell
Kathryn Stripling Byer
Cathy Smith Bowers
Joseph Bathanti

13 comments:

Ricky Garni said...

I like it–except for the misuse of "insured" (rather than "ensured"), the absence of space between paragraphs, and the use of double hyphens rather than em dashes. But these are issues for the Grammar Laureate, and the PLs get a pass here–chalk it up to poetic license.

Anonymous said...

lol @ "crisis" ... seriously, people.

Erin said...

Yeah. Crisis? Honestly. There's a crisis in Gaza. There's a crisis in Ukraine. There's a crisis at the Mexico/America border. There's a crisis in Iraq. This, people, is not a crisis. You are a bunch of self-important elitists with an over inflated sense of your own importance.

RobNClt said...

You have got to be kidding, crying about this is ridiculous. The world in turmoil and someone cares about this? I can't believe it!

RobNClt said...

Most North Carolinians and dare I say, the world does not care about this. These people need to get life and lower their arrogant noses.

John said...

Such exagerated indignation! Such hyperbolic prose! It makes me think Mr. McCrory, our 40th-percentile Governor, might have been on to something.

Anonymous said...

This "outrage" letter reads like a joke. Were they serious?

Anonymous said...

Is there a forum to reply to the PL's that wrote this letter directly? Yeesh.....

Anonymous said...

When a person does their job, or uses their gifts, with integrity and respect, it breeds integrity and respect. Whether the person is a sanitation worker, an artist or a politician, insulting people and their gifts or jobs, just because it does not seem “important" (or understoon)to a particular individual, is small minded and mean spirited. Signed, Lyn Triplett

Anonymous said...

Is this letter some kind of Onion spoof? A "disaster" and a "crisis"? Seriously? I can't imagine a more self-absorbed view of the world. How about using a word that is more appropriate to the situation like "disappointment"? That way we don't try to equate a disaster like Fukushima or a crisis like Ukraine to a difference of opinion about the makeup of a committee.

Harry Calhoun said...

Well, yeah, dese here peeples be writers and they might git a little bit carried away with terms like "disaster." But really, folks. I would say that "travesty" would do nicely here while agreeing that a disaster would do better describing the horrors of war. But let me say that somebody such as my humble self who has at least had several poetry books published on reputable presses and has won some awards has more of a claim to the title than this woman ... and I am not so pompous to ever suggest that I am anywhere near that status. Disaster, no. Travesty, ridiculous, yes. You heard it first here on Harry's Poetry Roller Derby. :-)

Amy Michelle Mosier said...

I don't have a problem with her being a self-published poet, if only she had ten books under her belt instead of two. What I do take issue with is this: 1) Why is a GOVERNOR appointing poet laureate? It should be a previous poet laureate doing that. 2) Does the fact that Valerie Macon works for the government have anything to do with this?

Anderson Orr said...

This “crises” is yet one more remarkable demonstration of how incorrigibly petty and chronically incompetent this Republican governor has proven to be.

Anyone paying any attention to McCrory, Pope, and the Republicans in the NCGA realizes they have little, if any, appreciation, respect, or commitment to supporting the humanities in particular and public education in general.

Ignoring the protocol for something as benign as selecting the NC poet laureate was not only arrogant and foolish, it was also a spiteful and specious attempt by the Governor to undermine and discredit the role and significance of the NC literary community.

It seems to me that for those who believe the arts are vital to maintaining a vibrant cultural life in our communities and state, the Governor’s riding rough shod over the process and deliberately appointing a remarkably unqualified person to the position was not just an insult, it was also correctly perceived as a critical threat to the life of the arts in NC.