Pinesong Dedicatee

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Kay Byer2017 Pinesong Dedicatee: Kathryn Stripling Byer

A singer knows how to navigate deep water, setting the ripples spreading, sailing the song on its way.—from “Deep Water” by Kathryn Stripling Byer

The 2017 issue of Pinesong is dedicated to Kathryn Stripling Byer, North Carolina poet, teacher, and first woman poet laureate in the state.  In 2001, she was honored at the Emory & Henry Festival celebrating a writer with strong ties to the Appalachian region. That same year she received the North Carolina Award in Literature at a ceremony in Raleigh.  Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to encourage and celebrate fellow North Carolina poets at every age and stage of their development.  She is the consummate champion of networking and sees groups such as our North Carolina Poetry Society as an integral part of that rich offering.  Because of her friendship and support, the founder of the Nazim Hikmet festival began coming to The NCPS Awards Day each year and invites the Poet Laureate Award winner to read at the upcoming festival.

Kathryn Stripling Byer grew up in Southwest Georgia, graduated from Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia, with a degree in English literature, and afterward, received her MFA degree from UNC-Greensboro, where she studied with Fred Chappell and Robert Watson, as well as forming enduring friendships with James Applewhite and Gibbons Ruark.  Drawn from childhood to the North Carolina mountains, she moved to Cullowhee after graduation, where she became Poet-in-Residence at Western Carolina University in 1990. Her first book of poetry, The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, was published in the AWP Award Series in 1986.  Wildwood Flower, published by LSU Press, received the Lamont (now Laughlin) Prize.  Subsequent collections have been published in the LSU Press Poetry Series, receiving various awards, including the Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Award, and the Roanoke-Chowan Award.  A chapbook, The Vishnu Bird, was published by Jacar Press in 2015.  She served for five years as North Carolina’s first woman poet laureate, and her blog, My Laureate’s Lasso, can still be found online.  She was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2012 and lives in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Thanks to the Pinesong 2017 Dedication Committee: Earl Huband, Susan Lefler, and Eric Weil


Previous Annual Awards Anthology Dedicatees from 1987 through 2016

1987 – Christine Sloan

1988 – Carolyn Kyles

1989 – Sallie Nixon

1990 – Leon Hinton

1991 – Sam McKay

1992 – Gladys Hughes

1993 – Margaret Baddour

1994 – Shelby Stephenson

1995 – Sam Ragan

1996 – Ron Bayes

1997 – Sally Buckner

1998 – Mary Belle Campbell

1999 – Betty Bolton

2000 – Ellen Johnston-Hale

2001 – Marie Gilbert

2002 – Ray Dotson

2003 – Ruby Shackleford

2004 – David Mannning

2005 – Lois Wistrand

2006 – Marsha Warren

2007 – Susan Meyers

2008 – Ann Deagon

2009 – Sharon Sharp

2010 – Libby Campbell

2011 – Bill Griffin

2012 – Carolyn & Guy York

2013 – Bill Blackley

2014 – Sara Claytor

2015 – Pat Riviere-Seel

2016 – Scott Owens


Notes:  Anthologies were not dedicated to individuals before 1987.  The anthology name was Award Winning Poems before 2003.
The anthology name was changed to Pinesong Awards in 2003.