North Carolina is home to many nationally regarded poets. In the mountains, the piedmont and on the coast, poetry has a presence. But, in large part that presence lives within the world of academia. In an attempt to spread the poetry bug, Carrboro Poet La

North Carolina is home to many nationally regarded poets. In the mountains, the Piedmont and on the coast, poetry has a presence. But, in large part that presence lives within the world of academia.

Cover Image for On the Bevel.
Janice Fuller


When poet Janice Fuller sits down to write, she chooses three random words and uses them to jump start her creativity. 

Photo of poetry writing.
Flickr/Lorenzo Tomada


Triad poets are gaining local and national recognition for their creative approaches to poetry and poetry-inspired community work. 

woman lying on the grass

Walt Disney's fairy tale adaptations are known for their neat, happy endings. But in their original states, these tales were rife with darkness and despair. 

Writer and poet Maureen Sherbondy embraces the gloom in her new book, "Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh" (Main Street Rag Publishing Company/2014). For example, Sherbondy's Rapunzel loses her hair to chemotherapy.

What the Prince Doesn't Know

By Maureen Sherbondy

Two months ago the mammogram revealed
a lump, and days since then have passed.

She can no longer throw her hair over the wall
for him to shimmy up beneath the star-scarred sky.

In a nauseous-chemo blur, clumps of golden thread
fell from her head to the tower's cold stone floor.

Still, the witch keeps her here, caged and ill, the left breast
completely gone. Her head a pale bald egg.

So when the Prince yells up to her, Rapunzel, throw down your golden hair, she hides beneath the sterile sheets.

Reel to Reel book cover shows a galaxy

Poet Alan Shapiro says good science writing, like good poetry, asks questions and evokes a sense of wonder. His new book, "Reel to Reel" (University of Chicago Press/2014), takes inspiration from biology, astronomy and physics.

The poems move between the intimately familiar and the vastly unknowable, considering both the frustrations of political hypocrisy and the mysteries of human consciousness. 

Homeric Turns, Part 2

The gods laugh, that’s what they’re good at, laughing.They laugh at the crippled god, his shriveled legs,
His hobbling, and his mother, in a little
Shadow play of suffering at the sight of him,
Her crippled baby, laughs the loudest, and then
Laughs even louder when she hurls him out
Of heaven, and he falls, and while he falls
The laughter echoing around him is
The measure of the pure unbreathable cold
Height of the heaven he’s falling from and through,
Hilarity of light and air, delight’s
Effacement of everything but itself.
And the crippled baby tumbling to earth
In a charade of terror? Don’t let him
Deceive you—he’s a god—he’s laughing too.

Alloy book cover shows woman in toga


Inspiration for poetry can strike anywhere, even at the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro. A visit there sparked one of the poems in "Alloy" (2014, WordTech Communications), the latest book from Larry Johnson. 

Jacinta White, Poet

For National Poetry Month, we talked with four different North Carolina poets about their work and their relationship with the art form.

Name: Jacinta White

Location: Kernersville, NC

Organization: The Word Project, using poetry workshops to help with personal and community healing.

chain on a park swing
Brent Danley / Flickr/Creative Commons

There is some intense poetry writing happening this month in Eastern North Carolina.  Select groups of students are participating in the Teach for America Poet Warriors project.

Sepia upper half of the cover is a tone image of a marsh and bottom reads Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee
books.wwnorton.com / WW Norton and Company


When Li-Young Lee's parents received a classical education in China, they memorized dozens of poems. As a child, he heard his parents playfully recite poem after poem to one another. Today Li-Young Lee draws much of his poetic influence from that same classical Chinese poetry. 

Veteran salutes other veterans


The complexities of war do not fit neatly into a poem or a novel. Writers grapple with how to address conflict responsibly, honestly and creatively. An April 12th panel at the North Carolina Writers' Network Spring Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro will examine the challenges of writing about war.