I long to hold onto the last, lazy days of summer. One event that lets me do that is the Annual N.C. Writers Network West Picnic, which is held somewhere in the western North Carolina Mountains each second Sunday in September. This year the
19th annual picnic was held on the picnic grounds at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee on September 12, 2010.
The picnic was hosted by NCWN West's Program Coordinator Kathryn Stripling Byer and the Jackson County members. The food was the best ever and showed someone did some serious planning. Kathryn Stripling Byer is NC Poet Laureate Emerita. Her many books of published poetry can be bought at Louisiana State University Press and on Amazon.Com, including Black Shawl, Coming to Rest and Catching Light.
Each year the writers' network invites a special guest to read from their newly published writing or someone who has something to celebrate. This year's special guest was N.C.'s newly named Poet Laureate, Cathy Smith Bowers.
A native of South Carolina, Cathy Smith Bowers has enjoyed a long poetry career. In 1990 she received General Electric's Award for younger poets. She was named the N.C. Poet Laureate by Governor Bev Purdue and was crowned with laurels on Feb. 10, 2010 in Raleigh. NC Writers living in the Netwest area said they were honored to have her come to the far western part of the state to read and share her writing with them.
During the Open Mic session several members read a brief sample of their work: Dorothea Spiegel probably traveled the fartherest, coming from her new home in Tennessee. She read three poems, one which was included in the newly published anthology ECHOES ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE (Winding Path Publishing) . Poet Clarence Newton came from Young Harris, Georgia. Jayne Joudon Ferrer also traveled a long way from South Carolina. She read two poems, one from the new anthology, and Linda M. Smith of Hayesville read one poem from ECHOES .... Nancy Simpson read three poems from her newly published collection, LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE (Carolina Wren Press.) Brenda Kay Ledford of Hayesville read her title poem from her chapbook SACRED FIRE ( Finishing Line Press).
Writer Dick Michener from Waynesville manned the Members' BOOKS FOR SALE table.
It was a special day. All who were there wished for more summer days.