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Poetry Sessions at NCWN’s Online Spring Conferences Will Instill Confidence and Freedoms

WINSTON-SALEM, NC—On Saturday, April 24, the North Carolina Writers’ Network Online Spring Conference 2021 will offer two poetry sessions aimed at helping poets give memorable readings and find the form(s) of their truest expressions.

Registration is open.

This year’s conference will offer one session between 10:30 am and noon and a second session between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm. This year’s conference is “Pay What You Can.” Can you afford $10? $75? 0? Great! We can’t wait to see you.

Ashley Lumpkin will lead the session “Form and Freedom,” an exploration of traditional and more recently created poetic forms. In this generative workshop, participants will explore how forms are developed and the many creative doors opened by adhering to the constraints they provide.

Ashley is a Georgia-raised, Carolina-based writer, editor, actor, and educator. She is the author of five poetry collections: {} At First Sight, Second Glance, Terrorism and Other Topics for Tea, #AshleyLumpkin, and Genesis. Her book I Hate You All Equally is a collection of conversations from her years as a classroom teacher. A lover of performance as well as the written word, she has been a competing member of the Bull City Slam Team since 2015 and currently serves as its assistant coach. She is one-fifth (and only Slytherin member) of the Big Dreams Collective and currently serves as a member-at-large on the board of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Above all else, Ashley considers herself a teacher, poet, and fryer of food. She is a lover of mathematics and language. She loves you too.

“How to Read Your Work to Others” will be lead by Joseph. Mills. Why does listening to some readers help us more fully understand their work while others make us wish we were anywhere else, even the dentist? What are the elements of a “good reading”? What should someone consider when giving a reading? In this workshop, we’ll talk about what it means to have an audience and what, if any, are your obligations to them. Some topics will include delivery, “poet voice,” poem selections and sequences, forums, and, yes, Zoom.

A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities, and has been honored with a UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has published six collections of poetry with Press 53, including Exit, pursued by a bear which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His book This Miraculous Turning earned the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. In 2019, he published his debut collection of fiction, Bleachers, which consists of fifty-four linked pieces that take place during a youth soccer game. He also has edited the collection of film criticism A Century of the Marx Brothers, and with his wife, Danielle Tarmey, he researched and wrote two editions of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries. More information about his work is available at

Other features of the NCWN Online Spring Conference 2021 include classes on creative nonfiction, fiction, and “Authors as Entrepreneurs,” as well as faculty readings, open mics, and an online picnic lunch social hour. Spring Conference is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. 

Register here.

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