A Brief Focus on North Carolina Writers and Poets

North Carolina claims some of the greatest authors of the 20th century and enjoys a reputation as an inspiring and nurturing home for writers both young and old. The late Poet Carl Sandburg spent the last 22 years of his life in North Carolina and those years were among his most productive. His home in Flat Rock, NC is now a national historic site. As a condition of the designation, Sandburg’s widow made a stipulation that the rooms and furnishings be kept exactly as they were at the time of his death, so that visitors to the home will feel as if the family “just stepped out for a while”. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov

"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on" - Carl Sandburg

Two publications, Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, both written by Georgann Eubanks and published by the N.C. Arts Council in conjunction with UNC Press, describe 18 tours of sites that various North Carolina authors have explored in their fiction, poetry, plays and creative nonfiction. The two books contain works from nearly 400 writers and include excerpts that illustrate the authors’ connections to specific places and local culture. North Carolina honored the literary arts with the creation of the office of State Poet Laureate in 1935. Former NC poet laureate, Tryon NC resident Cathy Smith Bowers, (2010-2012) in conjunction with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the Greensboro Public Library and the N.C. Arts Council has created an online poetry toolkit featuring poetry program success stories from librarians, poetry lesson plans for teachers, writing tips and poems. The goal is to provide inspiration and instruction to teachers as well as to writers and readers of poetry. 
Click here to view the NC Poetry Toolkit

Author Hinton Rowan Helper, born December 27, 1829, near Mocksville, North Carolina. In 1857 he published The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It Which was was credited with helping to elect Abraham Lincoln. The book was banned in North Carolina and across the South because of its inflammatory nature.  Helper referred to slaveholders as “more criminal than common murderers,” who “deserve to be at once reduced to a parallel with the basest criminals that lie fettered within the cells of our public prisons.”   At another point, Helper said he hoped to see reason prevail to end slavery, but if not then slaves “would, in nine cases out of ten, be delighted with an opportunity to cut their masters’ throats.”
Hinton Rowan Helper wrote a book in 1857
that challenged the practice of slavery
and predicted slaves uprising against their masters.
The book was so controversial that he was forced
to leave the state of North Carolina.

 I have lived in North Carolina over half my life and it has been a huge influence – both positively and negatively - on my literary career. My first Documentary, Freedom vs. Liberty, Life in the Old North State was filmed here in 2005. My first spoken word album, Infusion was recorded here in NC back in 2004. It was based on my book of poetry called The Glint of Bayonets Which drew heavily on NC novelists as well as existential philosophy. This philosophic influence culminated in the publishing of my semi-autobiographical narrative monologues entitled Always Never Forever. To read more about the ANF project please visit https://skippulley.com

Inside photo from the glint of bayonets by Skip Pulley

To learn more about our state’s literary heritage and for countless opportunities to experience the work of writers and poets in person or online at the literary resources of the North Carolina Humanities Council at http://nchumanities.org/content/literary-resources

Skip Pulley
Editor in Chief 
Catharsis Magazine 


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