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Women Writers and the Southern Experience

Chapel Hill author Sam Stephenson interviews Raleigh poet Betty Adcock and Virginia poet Claudia Emerson in the Paris Review this week:

“I asked Betty what odds a young female poet faced in 1960s North Carolina.

‘Poetry,’ she said, ‘had a hard time gaining traction among women writers in the South. Part of the reason is that there were so many good models to follow in fiction—Katherine Anne Porter, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Doris Betts. They were like comets. But the poetry world was controlled by the universities in the South, and women didn’t have access to the faculty lounges and English departments back then. I never considered myself a feminist poet, as it were, because I don’t write out of that drive. But perhaps my work helped change the way the Southern experience is seen in poetry.’”

To read the full interview (and see pictures of the fabulous Adcock house, where Stephenson conducted the interview), click here.

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