Monday, July 14, 2014

Former poets laureate take high road on McCrory's appointment

Kathryn Stripling Byer
Many poets in the state are incensed that Gov. Pat McCrory bypassed standard procedure in selecting Valerie Macon of Fuquay-Varina as the new N.C. poet laureate, to follow the current poet laureate Joseph Bathanti and serve the state for two years.
Macon, who's 64, and a graduate of Meredith College, has two poetry chapbooks that are self-published.

Other poets laureate, in this state and throughout the nation, typically have a stellar list of  publications, awards and honors.

But two former poets laureate, Kathryn Stripling Byer of Cullowhee and Fred Chappell of Greensboro, want to help support Macon.

"I feel it's part of my role as a former poet laureate to offer my assistance to the incoming poet laureate, no matter the violation of protocol that led to her selection," says Byer.

Chappell hopes that Macon's friends in the poetry community will show her the ropes and help her learn to talk to young kids about poetry.

"The idea (of being poet laureate)," he says, "is to spark interest in literature in general, in poetry in particular and in N.C. poetry especially. And to make sure the laureateship is representative and not just about herself."

That doesn't mean that Byer and Chappell are happy the governor circumvented policy.
Byer feels the violation damages our "strong literary reputation throughout the nation and damages the state of North Carolina."

Chappell calls the violation an "arbitrary seizure of power that's liable to result in unfortunate circumstances."


Anonymous said...

The headline should read: Can New Laureate Even Drive?

Jiminy Cricketts! Can she even hold a pen on her own?

Why not get off your fanny and call Macon for an interview?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen anything in the press or literary blogs about this: how DID the gov select this poet? I hear a lot about what he did NOT do, which is bad enough -- so I am very curious to learn what his process was and how he came up with this selection.

How did he hear of her? Who put her name in? Who advised him? What were the selection criteria? Names of other nominees or candidates, and who assembled the long list / short list and how? When did the process start, who among his administration officials was involved, and so on.

Someone in the poetry community really ought to push his press officers for such information. It could be a request for public records and the gov would have to produce it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he read about her in IndyWeek ... you know, the paper that claims to not know who she is? When they promo'd her reading at Fearrington Village last summer? Or maybe he just asked Art Pope. It's not a mystery.