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ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Pre-registration closes Friday, November 13.

Laurence Avery, former Chairman of the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will lead the poetry workshop "To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme, That is the Question."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Laurence to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Laurence Avery's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"Where is the day that pursed into one rich person's snoring? Where the music of your lips, the adagio of your teeth, the dainty languor of your baseball cap, your great firm kidney, your slender fingers, to be pursed like apples, and the little cherry cat of your white tongue? And where are all the tiny stoves of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the mountains of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this beauty. You who were made for stone cutting, will laugh prostitution no more: in your dark attic the flood is silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that broken arm that we did not foresee, return not into Altamont, but into the Pisgah Inn, where we have never cried, into the enchanted wood, where we bear hunted, strewn on the basement. Come up into the hills, O my young J. Edgar Hoover: return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved W.O. Gant, come back again."

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At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Laurence Avery will lead the poetry workshop, "To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme, That is the Question."

The workshop will focus on that question—whether in a given poem to make use of rhymes and rhyme schemes, or not. Rhyme can be an important element in the sound activity of a poem, and there is no question that people find rhyming sounds pleasurable. But rhyme can also bring problems for the writer, as when he or she is tempted to move words out of their normal position in a sentence in order to get the needed rhyming sound at the end of a line. For this reason and a number of others, poets frequently decide that rhyme, on balance, isn’t worthwhile in a given poem. Such decisions reflect the sensibility of individual writers, of course, and may differ from person to person. But the decisions involve questions that are important to think about as you plan a poem. For instance, would rhyme help establish the tone you aim for—humorous, solemn, ironic, earthy? Do you want to expand the pool of rhyming sounds by experimenting with assonance and consonance? What considerations would lead you to forego the use of rhyme in a poem? In the workshop we will explore such matters, using poems by recent writers as examples.

Laurence Avery had a decades-long career as teacher and scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he served as chairman of the English department. He has published numerous articles on British and American playwrights and six books, among them A Southern Life: Letters of Paul Green, 1916-1981, winner of the C. Hugh Holman Award for distinguished contributions to the study of Southern literature. Avery also published the definitive edition of Green’s The Lost Colony, the play that launched the nation-wide outdoor drama movement. In 2006 he received the NC Literary and Historical Association’s R. Hunt Parker Award for significant contributions to North Carolina literature. Mountain Gravity, his first book of poetry, appeared in 2014.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is open through November 13.

 

 
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