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. 

Che on My Mind book cover

In her new book, Che On My Mind (Duke University Press Books, 2013) Margaret Randall, renowned poet and activist, considers the power and the limitations of Che Guevara as a symbol. She will read at the Internationalist Bookstore and Community Center in Chapel Hill tonight at 7 p.m. 

Composer Dan Asia smiling.

Poet Yehuda Amichai is one of Israel’s most acclaimed artists. His poems explore different aspects of the Jewish faith. American poet Paul Pines also examines the many components of Judaism in his work. American musical composer Dan Asia set both their works to music which will be performed tonight at Elon University

Poetry Meets Dance

Oct 15, 2013
Coffee House Press


The poet Lightsey Darst found inspiration for her new book “Dance” (Coffee House Press/ 2013) from some unlikely sources: the Zodiac, Dante, the Guinness Book of World Records and Vogue magazine. 

In dance, Darst finds a metaphor for Hell, Earth, and Paradise.  Host Frank Stasio speaks to Lightsey Darst about dance, writing and her latest work.

Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante
MK Asante / mkasante.com

M.K. Asante grew up in what he calls "Killedelphia," bouncing in and out of schools, hanging out in gangs, and struggling with troubled parents. Discovering a love of writing opened his eyes to new opportunities. His new book, Buck: A Memoir follows his coming-of-age story growing up in Philadelphia (Spiegel & Grau, 2013).

New River Breakdown by Terry L. Kennedy
http://www.unicorn-press.org/books/Kennedy-New-River-Breakdown.html / Unicorn Press


Terry Kennedy wanted nothing more than to become a business maven and take over the world when he was in college. Literature was for people with too much free time on their hands. But he gradually learned that he was terrible at business and passionate for creative writing. Kennedy's latest book of poetry is called “New River Breakdown” (Unicorn Press/2013).  

Cover of Lee Ann Brown's book of poetry, 'In The Laurels, Caught' (Fence Modern Poets Series/2013).
Fence Books / fenceportal.org

Lee Ann Brown splits her time between New York City and Marshall, North Carolina, but she has a special love for her southern home.

Jay Bryan speaking at the Carrboro Centennial.
Justin Valas/ Flickr / creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en

The small town of Carrboro was once a prominent mill town in the early to mid-1900s. But after all of the mills closed down and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill continued to grow, the town became a haven to students and an evolving arts scene.

The cover of Boyishly, a new book by Tanya Olson.

  Tanya Olson will tell you that being an eight-year-old child in the world allows you a lot of room to be whoever and whatever you want. You can be a whale, a man, a spaceship, and few will tell you otherwise. After that age though, the feeling doesn't necessarily go away. She explores that desire to transform in her first book of poems, "Boyishly" (YesYes Books, 2013). Tanya Olson is a poet and an English professor at Vance-Granville Community College.

Fred Moten
http://english.duke.edu / Duke University

Fred Moten grew up in a home and in a time where revolution was not portrayed as a romantic dream for the future, but a vital necessity for survival. He was raised in Las Vegas in the late '60s and '70s by a family who understood the need for change.

Senator Thom Goolsby, Republican, is the primary sponsor of a bill repealing the Racial Justice Act

This week the North Carolina Senate voted along party lines to repeal the Racial Justice Act. Also in the legislation are measures designed to restart executions, which have been unofficially on hold in the state since 2006.

Critics contend that eliminating the Racial Justice Act will prevent those unfairly sentenced to death because of racial bias from getting justice. More than 150 people in the state are awaiting execution.

Republican Senator Thom Goolsby of New Hanover County sponsored the legislation repealing the Racial Justice Act, and he said on The State of Things that the Act isn’t necessary.

http://ltabgso.tumblr.com/ / Louder Than a Bomb Greensboro

The Louder Than a Bomb Poetry Slam competition started in Chicago in 2001. Inspired by the competition and a documentary about it, local group Poet.she Female Performing Arts & Spoken Word decided to bring the competition to Greensboro.

Poet Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz grew up on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation. While many of those around her struggled with the lack of opportunities, she saw basketball as her way out.

Ron Rash's latest collection of short stories is 'Nothing Gold Can Stay.'
Harper Collins Publishers

  Author Ron Rash has been chronicling the Appalachian way of life for nearly two decades. His poetry and fiction have earned him wide acclaim and a position alongside other esteemed writers from western North Carolina. He joins host Isaac-Davy Aronson to discuss his latest book of short stories: “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (HarperCollins/2013).

When you go to a poetry slam, you’ll probably notice the majority of spoken word artists who hit the stage are men. But that’s not representative of the spoken word community at large. Starr, a slam poet, will represent the Bull City Slam team next year in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam in Minneapolis. Host Frank Stasio talks to her about what it’s like to be a woman in the slam world.

Triangle poet Jeffery Beam has been prolific since his retirement last year.

He has two new books coming out called “The Broken Flower” (Skysill Press/2012) and "The New Beautiful Tendons" (Triton Books/2012). Along with his book “Gospel Earth” (Skysill Press/2010), they form a trilogy. “The Broken Flower” in particular is Beam’s exploration of brokenness and how we put ourselves back together. Host Frank Stasio talks to Jeffery Beam about his new book.

Poet Peter Cole is known for his translations of Hebrew literature and medieval Hebrew poetry, but in his latest translation, "Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition" (Yale University Press/2012),  he explores the spiritual side of Jewish faith.

Terri Kirby Erickson's third volume of poetry, "In the Palms of Angels" (Press53/2011) won a 2012 Nautilus Silver Award for poetry. The national award is given for a book of poetry that “engenders compassion, wisdom, greater understanding, empathy, or passion through the artful use of language.”