For the second time in as many weeks, the North Carolina literary community finds itself mourning the loss of a wonderful friend and writer, after learning that North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Ronald H. Bayes passed away over the weekend. He was 89 years old.
“Ron Bayes does not consider life a spectator sport,” reads his official biography from the NCLHOF, “and he has not lived his creative life in isolation from the world. Not diminishing his own creative production or dedication to classroom teaching, he founded, directed, and nurtured the St. Andrews Press, the St. Andrews Review, Cairn: The New St. Andrews Review, Gravity Hill, the student literary journal, and the Writers’ Forum.”
Over his long career, Bayes published 16 books of poetry, three critical works, two plays and seven collaborative works with visual artists. He was inducted into the NCLHOF in 2014.
“When I enrolled at St. Andrews as a freshman in the fall of 1969, I knew I wanted to be a poet,” writes Beth Copeland (’73) in the St. Andrews by the Lake alumni newsletter. “What I didn’t know was that Ron Bayes shared my fascination with Japan, the country where I was born and lived as a young child…When I met Ron, I felt as if I had returned to my homeland. Ron recognized and nurtured the developing poet. With Ron’s encouragement, I found my voice and my passion for poetry.”
To watch former NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti read Bayes’ poem “For a Friend Who Walked Girders,” click here.
“He’s a loss to the writing community of the state,” writes NCWN member Elaine Thomas, “and to all his former students (of which I am one — loved him dearly).”
Details about services and more have yet to be released.