Monday, April 9, 2018

Shelby Stephenson, Poet Laureate of NC and Mary Ricketson to read at the Curiosity Shop Books and Gifts, Murphy, NC, Friday, May 4, 2018

Curiosity Shop Books and Gifts of Murphy, NC and North Carolina Writers' Network West will host a poetry reading with special guest Shelby Stephenson, the North Carolina Poet Laureate, along with Mary Ricketson, local poet and mental health counselor. The readings will be followed by an open mic with local poets, on Friday May 4, 3:30-4:30 pm in the bookstore, 46 Valley River Ave, Murphy NC 28906. 

Both of the featured poets are often inspired by nature and give lively literary presentations.  Poets are invited and encouraged to participate and share their poems aloud with the NC poet laureate.

Stephenson’s work is widely published and often influenced by heritage, his early life on a hog farm in costal NC, and his exquisite observations of ordinary life.  The famed Fred Chappell, former NC Poet Laureate, compares Stephenson to Walt Whitman, saying “a poet like Stephenson will hear words as poetry, every syllable salted with the soil, every sentence a redolent wake of the plowshare.”

Ricketson currently merges her poetry with the healing and empowerment related to her profession as a counselor.

Shelby Stephenson of Benson NC, is Professor Emeritus, UNC-Pembroke, serving as editor of Pembroke Magazine from 1979 until his retirement in 2010.  He received the Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award, 2015, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  His recent books are Paul’s Hill:  Homage to Whitman (Sir Walter Press); Our World (Press 53); Elegies for Small Game (Press 53), winner of Roanoke-Chowan Award; Fiddledeedee (reissue, Press 53); Family Matters:  Homage to July, the Slave Girl (Bellday Books), the Bellday Prize; Maytle’s World (play). 

Mary Ricketson, local mental health counselor and blueberry farmer, has been published in Wild Goose Poetry Review, Future Cycle Press, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Old Mountain Press, Whispers, and her books, I Hear the River Call My Name, and Hanging Dog Creek.  She placed first in 2011 Joyce Kilmer national poetry contest.  She writes a monthly column, Woman to Woman, for The Cherokee Scout and has recently released a new collection of poetry, Shade and Shelter, published by Kelsay Books.

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