LRU News

An evening with North Carolina Poet Laureate: Joseph Bathanti

Fri Feb 14 2014

Hickory, N.C.— Professor, poet and author: Joseph Bathanti will speak at Lenoir-Rhyne University on Thursday, March 6
in Belk Centrum at 7 p.m.

Bathanti, a creative writing professor at Appalachian State University, first came to North Carolina by what some might consider an unorthodox path. In 1976 Bathanti graduated from college and joined Volunteers in Service to America (the domestic branch of the Peace Corps). As a volunteer with the VISTA program he was assigned to teach and mentor prisoners in the Huntersville Prison work camp in north Mecklenburg County.  It was during his VISTA training that he met his wife of 35 years.

Bathanti has continued his work with prisoners for more than three decades while going on to publish two novels, a collection of short stories a non-fiction book and six volumes of poetry.

In 2012 North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue named Bathanti the state’s seventh Poet Laureate, a post he has held from 2012 until 2014.

At Appalachian State University Bathanti serves as Director of Writing in the Field and Writer-in-Residence in the University’s Watauga Global Community. He’s also the former chair of the N.C. Writers’ Network Prison project.

“I can’t imagine a better place in the United States to be a writer than North Carolina,” Bathanti said in an interview with the N.C. Arts Council. “There is no place richer in literature and no place has celebrated writers in quite the same way as our state does.”

Bathanti is a two-time recipient of Literature Fellowships from the N.C. Arts Council (1994 and 2009) and received the 2012 Ragan-Rubin Award, made to an outstanding North Carolina writer, from the N.C. English Teachers Association. He has received numerous other awards including the 2002 Linda Flowers Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Humanities Council; 2006 Novello Literary Award; 2002 Sherwood Anderson Award; 2006 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, to name a few.

This event is open to the public, and free for all guests. No tickets or reservations are required.

Sponsors of the 2013-2014 Series include: Crowne Plaza—Hickory, WFAE 90.7fm, Our State: North Carolina, the Hickory Public Library, the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, the United Arts Council of Catawba County, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and the Catawba Valley Community Foundation.

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