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WCU Hosts Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series

From our friends at the North Carolina Poetry Society:

Pat Riviere-Seel

Western North Carolina poets participating in the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) will be reading their work at the 15th Annual Spring Literary Festival at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee on April 3, 12:00–1:00 pm. Participating poets include Pat Riviere-Seel, the region’s Distinguished Poet for 2016-2017, and four student poets: Mary Coggins, Benjamin Cutler, Jade Shuler, and Cathy Sky.

The series, a free program of the North Carolina Poetry Society, pairs an established North Carolina poet with four student writers who wish to develop their work. From December through May, the students and the Distinguished Poet correspond or meet to discuss and work on about a dozen of each student’s poems. The series includes a GCDPS reading at Western Carolina’s annual Literary Festival in April and the opportunity to set up joint readings of the student poets and the Distinguished Poet at the students’ home libraries.

Pat Riviere-Seel is the author of two chapbooks: No Turning Back Now (2004) and The Serial Killer’s Daughter (2009). Her most recent poetry collection, Nothing Below but Air (2014), was a semifinalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. The Serial Killer’s Daughter won the Roanoke-Chowan Award and has been staged by several theatre groups. Riviere-Seel has taught in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, has been poet-in-residence at the NC Zoo, and co-edited the anthology Kakalak 2016. She has also worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and lobbyist. She lives in Asheville.

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. The GCDPS originated when the NCPS Board voted in 2003 to follow the advice of Fred Chappell, then North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, who advised the NCPS president about various approaches to take in furthering its mission. Prior Distinguished Poets from the western North Carolina region have included Mary Adams, Joseph Bathanti, and Brent Martin.

To apply to the GCDPS in western North Carolina, students need to fill out the application form found at the North Carolina Poetry Society’s website,, and e-mail it with a three-page sample of the student’s poetry to Dr. Catherine Carter at Western Carolina University (

Counties included in the western region are listed at The application requires the signature of a parent and of a teacher or public librarian for students under eighteen.

Poems and applications can be mailed to:

Dr. Catherine Carter
421 Coulter Building
Department of English
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723