January 2023 begins a new year for Mountain Wordsmiths, an online writers’ gathering sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network-West. Our first gathering will meet on Thursday morning, January 26, at 10:30 a.m. on Zoom, and our featured speaker will be poet Louise Runyon, who will be sharing poetry from her fifth and most recent book of poems, Where Is Our Prague Spring?
Her book examines Runyon’s deep love for the mountains of Western North Carolina, her childhood experience of love here, and her attempts to reconcile this love with the hatred and division found in the present. A great-niece of Lucy Morgan, founder of the renowned Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Runyon honors her visionary and activist family in these poems.
A resident of Sylva, Runyon was born and raised in New York City but grew up at Penland School in the summertime. She lived most of her adult life in Atlanta before coming back to western North Carolina in 2019. A dancer and choreographer as well as a poet, she is Artistic Director of Louise Runyon Performance Company. The publication of her new book is supported by the Jackson County Arts Council.
Poet Catherine Carter of Western Carolina University says, “…Runyon interrogates the place and her family’s long history there to illuminate a complicated tradition of Appalachian progressivism dating both back to and forward from the Trail of Tears. These thoughtful poems evoke an Appalachia that few outsiders know: simultaneously progressive and conservative, woven into the wider world in unexpected ways, and rooted deeply in the labor and vision of women.”
NC Writers’ Network-West is continuing to take precautions as we stay in touch and use technology to share our writing. We will offer writing events and writing classes online with some writers’ groups now meeting in person with careful safety guidelines.
Mountain Wordsmiths will meet via Zoom on the fourth Thursday of each month Those wishing to attend our gatherings may contact Carroll Taylor at vibiaperpetua[at]gmaildotcom to receive the Zoom link. Also, those who wish to participate in Open Mic may sign up upon entering the meeting. We welcome those who would simply like to listen to the beauty of wordsmithing.