Jaki Shelton Green has been named as North Carolina's ninth poet laureate. The poet, teacher, and community arts advocate served as a Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University during the spring 2016 academic semester. Green is the first African American and the third woman to serve as N.C.'s poet laureate.
During her time at Lenoir-Rhyne, Green taught a creative writing workshop in poetry course to twelve students including, Brittany Badertscher, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in English. "I was completely enthralled with Jaki's class and feel fortunate to have gained knowledge from her while I was a student at Lenoir-Rhyne," Badertscher said. "Jaki's work, her dedication to teaching and learning, and her vivacious personality sparked a passion for writing in me which inspired me to join a local writing group."
LR's Visiting Writer-in-Residence program is sponsored through LR's Visiting Writers Series. Like Green, several other LR Visiting Writers-in-Residence have gone on to outstanding careers after teaching at LR. These include, Ron Rash who received the O' Henry prize in 2005 and 2010, Billy Collins who served as United States Poet Laureate from 2001 - 2003, and Jennifer Horne who was named Alabama Poet Laureate in 2017. Each year, the Visiting Writer-in-Residence also presents as part of the VWS which celebrates its 30th anniversary during the 2018-2019 academic year.
"Lenoir-Rhyne was extremely fortunate to land Jaki Shelton Green as the 2016 Visiting Writer-in-Residence," said Dr. Rand Brandes, Martin Luther Stevens professor of English and director of the Visiting Writers Series. "Jaki being named as North Carolina's poet laureate further confirms the exceptional instruction in writing and poetry the students she taught at Lenoir-Rhyne received. We appreciate Jaki sharing her creativity and teaching talents with us, and Lenoir-Rhyne congratulates her on her well deserved honor."
The North Carolina Poet Laureate advocates for the power of poetry and the written word to illuminate, educate, entertain and transform the minds and hearts of people of all ages and from all walks of life. The laureate acts as an ambassador for N.C. literature and literacy, using the office as a platform from which to highlight not only his or her own work, but also the work of other writers in the state. The standard appointment is for a two-year term, but this can be extended at the discretion of the Governor.
To learn more about LR's Visiting Writers Series and Visiting Writer in Residence, visit lr.edu/VWS.