This October, poet Shelby Stephenson will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
But this summer, writers have the chance to "sit at the feet" of one of North Carolina's most beloved poets by registering for the 2014 North Carolina Writers' Network Squire Summer Writing Residency, July 10-13, at William Peace University in Raleigh.
"I try to set an atmosphere for writing," says Stephenson, who will lead the weekend-long poetry workshop. "I use the participants' writings as text. We will read each other's work aloud and respond. And as the sessions gain momentum, we shall hope to see the sessions make themselves, with discussion, revisions, visions for new, the breakthoughs which might free us from stasis or stoppage, blockage. Hopefully things like image, forms, figures, personal experiences, reading—all those matters—plus the music of the lines (I've forgotten who said poetry is the music of the soul)—those things will happen, as the writing, the poem or poetic expression, finds itself.... Mainly we shall read our work to each other. And respond. I have learned this: if a poem, a piece, wants to live—it will. And the magic word seems to be 'cut.'"
Shelby Stephenson has published many collections of poems, plus the poetic documentary Plankhouse (with photos by Roger Manley). Shelby is former editor of Pembroke Magazine. His Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, judged by Allen Grossman. Stephenson’s latest collection, The Hunger of Freedom (2014), is from Red Dashboard (www.reddashboard.com). Shelby's website is Shelbystephenson.com.
The Squire Summer Writing Residency offers an intensive course in a chosen genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry), with fifteen hours of workshop sessions over the four days of the program. Registrants work in-depth on their own writing, as well as their colleagues’, while also studying the principles of the genre with their instructor. Other features include faculty readings, panel discussions, and open mic sessions for residents.
Plus, conference-goers will benefit from being a short walk from many historical and cultural sites in downtown Raleigh. Karen Wells, Executive Director of ARTS North Carolina, will lead a Table Talk in a special program on Friday night.
Admission is limited to the first fifty registrants. And while workshops are at the heart of the conference programming, the weekend is a “residency” in the sense that attendees will enjoy meals together and have the option of staying overnight in on-campus accommodations. Free WiFi and parking are available.
The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame celebrates and promotes the state’s rich literary heritage by commemorating its leading authors and encouraging the continued flourishing of great literature. There are fifty-three current members. Stephenson will join other renowned poets such as Kathryn Stripling Byer, Fred Chappell, and Randall Jarrell in the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame's hallowed halls.
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.