White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame




RALEIGH—Nominations for the state's next poet laureate, the ambassador of North Carolina literature, will be accepted from Wednesday, Nov. 15 to Friday, Dec. 8 online at www.NCArts.org.

The public is invited to nominate any North Carolina poet, or themselves, if they feel they are best suited for the position. Only current North Carolina residents are eligible to be nominated. Judging will be based on the following criteria:

  • A North Carolinian with deep connections to the cultural life of the state;
  • Literary excellence of the poet’s work;
  • Influence on other writers, and appreciation of literature in its diversity throughout the state;
  • Ability and willingness to conduct the public engagement duties of the office;
  • Statewide, national or international reputation.

The post of Poet Laureate was created by the General Assembly in 1935 to promote North Carolina writers and the power of poetry and the written word. The program is implemented by the North Carolina Arts Council, and is an example of how artists are recognized and supported across the state.

Poets nominated for the post will be contacted to affirm their interest in being considered, and will be invited to submit materials in support of their nomination by the deadline, January 5, 2018.

After review of all applicants, a selection committee will recommend names to Governor Roy Cooper, who will choose the ninth poet laureate of North Carolina. An installation ceremony, open to the public, will take place during the first quarter of 2018.

Shelby Stephenson was installed as the poet laureate of North Carolina in February, 2015. An accomplished poet and educator, Stephenson has been a tireless advocate for literacy and a respected ambassador for literature in service to the people of our state.

Since his installation, Stephenson has made 129 appearances in forty-three different North Carolina counties; published three books of poetry (one a reissue), with two additional books scheduled to be published; was awarded the prestigious 2016 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, for Elegies for Small Game; and received The William "Singing Billy" Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Southern Letters from the University of South Carolina-Union, to name a few highlights.

Stephenson’s signature areas of interest included conducting writing workshops in assisted living and retirement communities; implementing workshops for those interested in exploring local archives and their family histories; and promoting writings about farming and farm life in North Carolina.

To start the nomination process, click here.

To learn more about the North Carolina Poet Laureate program visit: https://www.ncarts.org/resources/north-carolina-poet-laureate.

For more information contact David Potorti, Literature and Theater Director at the N.C. Arts Council at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (919) 807-6512.

Media inquiries should be directed to: Rebecca Moore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (919) 807-6530.

About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s longstanding love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in new innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. www.NCArts.org.


Crystal Simone Smith

DURHAM—In this current media environment, we are bombarded with snippets and soundbites. It's easy to forget why Henry David Thoreau once said, "Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short." It takes time and effort to write short, especially for poets, whose medium is already defined by the somewhat narrow constraints of the form.

On Wednesday, December 13, at 7:00 pm, Durham poet and editor of Backbone Press Crystal Simone Smith will lead the online class "Micropoetry, the Ritual of Chiseling Words!" 

Registration is closed.

This course is capped at forty (40) registrants, first-come, first-served. There is a $25 fee to register.

Less is more is so cliché, but who can deny the genesis of tiny poems? They can embody a narrative or sear a stunning image into our minds. Using very few words one must craft a worthwhile poem that is, at once, complex and poignant. In this course, we will discuss aspects of the micropoet’s practice and the concept of “outside” inspiration mirrored by the idea that poetry is  “A Dialogue of Self and Soul”—W.B. Yeats. Rather haiku or free verse, accomplishing the task of a tiny poem is challenging. We’ll take a look at some techniques that make up this exciting genre. 

Crystal Simone Smith is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Routes Home (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and Running Music (Longleaf Press, 2014). She is also the author of Wildflowers: Haiku, Senryu, and Haibun (2016). Her work has appeared in numerous journals including: Callaloo, Nimrod, Barrow Street, Obsidian II: Literature in the African Diaspora, African American Review, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. She is an alumna of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and the Yale Summer Writers Conference. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and lives in Durham with her husband and two sons where she teaches English Composition and Creative Writing. She is the Managing Editor of Backbone Press.

"Micropoetry, the Ritual of Chiseling Words!" is the North Carolina Writers' Network's first offering in their 2017-2018 Winter Series of online classes.

"This new program initiative is a great way for writers from all over North Carolina to connect without having the hassle of driving somewhere and finding parking," said NCWN communications director Charles Fiore. "These online classes offer top-shelf instruction for a fraction of the cost, and the software itself is very intuitive and easy to use."

The online class "Micropoetry, the Ritual of Chiseling Words!" is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Wednesday, December 13, will be sent to registrants no less than twenty-four hours prior to the start of class.

Registration is closed.

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.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—On-site registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach, will open at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 3, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn.

At 6:00 pm, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Creative Writing will host the grande finale of Writer's Week, followed immediately by the Opening Reception for NCWN's Fall Conference. The evening will culminate with a Keynote Address by New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash, whose new novel is The Last Ballad, about the real-life 1929 Loray Mill strike and the murder of balladeer Ella Mae Wiggins. 

Weekend offerings include Saturday morning’s “All Stories Connect” panel discussion with the North Carolina Humanities Council, which will include the announcement of the winner of the 2017 Linda Flowers Literary Award.

Saturday’s luncheon will feature the documentary CreativeNC, by Dev T. Smith. The film, which debuted at the North Carolina Museum of History, sheds light on what it's like to be a creative in a country fueled by industrial ideals.

On Saturday night, the Fall Conference Network Banquet will celebrate fifty years of the North Carolina Arts Council with special guest Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. As Secretary, Hamilton has focused on economic development, ensuring children and families have a chance to succeed by encouraging companies to bring well-paying jobs to Southeastern NC. She is also a strong advocate for preserving Wilmington’s historic district.

Sunday morning will once again feature the popular “Brilliant at Breakfast” panel discussion, “Agents and Editors,” featuring Malaga Baldi of the Baldi Agency; St. Martin’s Press editor Jaime Coyne; Christopher Rhodes of The Stuart Agency; and Emily Louise Smith of Lookout Books / Ecotone.

Attendees will want to make sure to set aside time to visit the exhibit hall, where literary journals, small presses, and literary organizations from all across North Carolina will be on-hand. It's a great chance to talk about the literary landscape with editors and publishers in a casual setting. Conferencegoers will have the chance to buy books, subscribe to literary journals, and join other writerly organizations around the state.

2017 Fall Conference sponsors include the Arts Council of Wilmington & New Hanover County; Coastal Carolina University; Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN regional rep Al Manning; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; the UNCW Department of Creative Writing; WHQR Public Radio 91.3 FM; and Alice Osborn & Write from the Inside Out.

For more information, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.


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