Origin of the Series:
The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. Three Distinguished Poets from the east, central, and west of North Carolina will mentor each a middle-school, a high-school, a college or university student, and an adult within their respective regions.
The GCDPS originated when the NCPS Board voted in 2003 to follow the advice of Fred Chappell, then North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. He had written and advised the NCPS president about various approaches to take in furthering the NCPS mission of encouraging the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry. The GCDPS plans evolved from that correspondence and earlier discussions by Board members.
The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series offers a way for poets to give back to the North Carolina poetry community. Past Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets include Ann Deagon, Joseph Bathanti, John Hoppenthaler, Becky Gould Gibson, Lavonne Adams, Catherine Carter, among others.
Introducing the 2015-2016 Distinguished Poets
Son of a high school music teacher from New York City and a graphic artist from Boston, Eric A. Weil was born in West Virginia and grew up near Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to North Carolina, where he completed MFA and PhD degrees at UNC Greensboro, and he is now an associate professor of English at Elizabeth City State University. Eric’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Silk Road, Dead Mule, The Greensboro Review and others. He has three poetry chapbooks: A Horse at the Hirshhorn, Returning from Mars, and Ten Years In. Three of Eric’s one-act plays have been produced: “Enter/Exit,” which won the Page to Stage playwriting contest at the College of the Albemarle in 2010; “Hamlet, Act VI” at Southeast Raleigh High School; and “Heart to Heart” in Triangulate, the First Annual North Carolina Playwrights Festival, held in Raleigh in 2014. He has published articles on Chaucer, Hawthorne, Fred Chappell, and African American poetry, and he writes quarterly book reviews for Main Street Rag. He and Anne have two grown children and one grandchild.
Ruth Moose was on the Creative Writing faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill for 15 years. Her first novel, Doing it at the Dixie Dew, was published by St. Martin’s Press, May 2014. Previously published are three collections of short stories, The Wreath Ribbon Quilt, Dreaming in Color, and Neighbors and Other Strangers with individual stories in Atlantic and other places; six collections of poetry, most recently, The Librarian and Other Poems. She’s received a MacDowell Fellowship and a Chapman Fellowship for Teaching. She lives in Pittsboro, NC.
Brent Martin lives in the historic Cowee community of western North Carolina where he works for The Wilderness Society. He as an M.A. and A.B.D in History from Georgia State University, and is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry, Poems from Snow Hill Road, A Shout in the Woods, and Every Breath Sings Mountains, which he co-authored with writers Thomas Rain Crowe and Barbara Duncan. His poetry and essays have been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Pisgah Review, Tar River Poetry, Chattahoochee Review, Eno Journal, New Southerner, Kudzu Review, Smoky Mountain News, and elsewhere.
Goal of the Series:
The goal of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) is to support the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society (NCPS), that being to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state, with the following priorities:
- Increase outreach across the state
- Involve students new to the NCPS
- Provide expert guidance to promising student poets
- Increase skills of poets, both student and adult
- Develop new venues for student poets and experienced poets to read together
- Provide opportunities for student poets to read at local venues such as their local libraries
- Develop mentoring relationships between student poets and experienced poets
Overview of the Series:
Three Distinguished Poets, one each from the east, central, and west of North Carolina, will mentor a middle-school, a high-school, a college or university student, and an adult not currently enrolled in a school program within the respective regions (as defined, by counties, on the list at the end of these guidelines). Home-school students will be eligible to participate. Within these regions, each Distinguished Poet will present one reading with his or her students. Each Student Poet will present one local reading of his or her own work in his or her local library, and the Distinguished Poet may attend these readings, as feasible. When possible, the North Carolina Center for the Book will provide funding for Distinguished Poets to read at local libraries, if they choose to participate in the Student Poets’ local readings.
Distinguished Poets may also be invited to read at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, in Southern Pines, NC, as part of the Sam Ragan Writing Series on a Sunday afternoon. Funding for this reading may come through the Weymouth Center. If the coordinators of the Weymouth Series desire such an event, they will be responsible for contacting the poets and arranging the event.