The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is a campus with poetry woven into the very fiber of its soul, so it’s only fitting that the university receive a visit from North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson.

Stephenson will be speaking Thursday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. in the Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room in Jackson Library.

book cover image for "Fiddledeedee" by Shelby Stephenson

Book cover for “Fiddledeedee” by Shelby Stephenson

Stephenson was born and raised on a farm near Benson, and much of his poetry is inspired by his humble North Carolina upbringing.

Stephenson went on to study at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a professor emeritus at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he served as the editor of the international literary journal, Pembroke Magazine, for more than 30 years. Stephenson also taught at Campbell University.

He was awarded the poet laureate position last December, a two year appointment intended to raise awareness of North Carolina literature. Stephenson’s focus is on agricultural writing, family histories and facilitating writing workshops in assisted living communities.

Stephenson is a decorated poet, having received the following awards: the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award, North Carolina Network Chapbook Prize, Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award and the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Prize. “Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl” won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize and the 2009 Oscar Arnold Young Award. Stephenson has also published a poetic documentary called “Plankhouse” with photographs by Roger Manley, as well as ten chapbooks – or short books of poetry centered around a single topic.

Stephenson’s presentation, hosted by the Friends of the UNCG Libraries, is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the program.

 

Story by Jeanie Groh, University Relations