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Showing posts with label John Foster West Scholarship Fund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Foster West Scholarship Fund. Show all posts

Saturday, May 10, 2008

John Foster West, North Carolina poet, writer, teacher, mentor and activist


John Foster West taught English and creative writing for 42 years at three different colleges; Elon College, N.C., from 1949 to 1958, Old Dominion College in Norfolk, Va., from 1958 to 1968 and, in 1968, Appalachian State University (ASU) until he retired, professor emeritus, in January, 1991.

At ASU, along with teaching, he was writer-and-poet-in-residence and mentored hundreds of aspiring writers and poets throughout the years. After retiring, he traveled extensively to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Professor West was born December 10, 1918, in Wilkes County, N.C., to John Wilkes and Elvira Foster West during the flu epidemic of that year. He attended Mars Hill College in 1941, where he met his future wife, Nan Elizabeth Love.

He served in the Army Air Corps from 1943, where he learned to fly and taught airplane mechanics, until World War I ended. He was discharged in 1945.
John Foster West graduated with a BA in English from UNC, Chapel Hill in 1947 and a MA in 1949. As an undergraduate, he was involved in establishing the "Carolina Quarterly," a literary journal still in existence today. He also did doctoral work in English and Journalism at Chapel Hill and the University of Iowa.

His wrote his first book of poetry "Up Ego" while he was teaching at Elon College in 1951.

In 1965, John received wide acclaim for his first novel, "Time Was" published by Random House. The publishers submitted his novel to be considered for a Pulitzer Prize.

Other books were: "Appalachian Dawn," 1973 a sequel to "Time Was," the "Ballad of Tom Dula," 1990 and the Appalachian Consortium's Appalachian Fiction Award, "The Summer People" in 1989.
In addition to varied contributions to magazines and other periodicals, books of poetry include: "This Proud Land," photography by Bruce Roberts, "Wry Wine" and "High Noon at Pompeii."

John received many awards and acknowledgements during his prolific career. He has appeared in "Who's Who in the South and Southwest," "Who's Who Among American Scholars," "Contemporary Authors" and the "Dictionary of International Biography." He served as past president of the NC Writers Conference, NC Folklore Society and Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalism fraternity.
Professor West, 89, died Friday, May 2, 2008. John will be remembered most as a North Carolina writer, poet, historian and activist for the preservation and ecology of his beloved mountains. John Foster West was a fascinating, eccentric, brilliant, caring, introspective man and he will be missed by all who knew and loved him. John was preceded in death by his wife, Nan, who died in 1966.
A memorial service to celebrate his life was held on Friday, May 9 in Boone, NC. Memorial donations can be made to the John Foster West Scholarship Fund, care of the English Department at Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.
The information for this article was excerpted from his obituary in the High Point newspaper.