Showing posts with label Cathy Smith Bowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cathy Smith Bowers. Show all posts

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Our annual picnic which took place on Sept. 12 on the picnic grounds at Western Carolina University, brought out some good food and even better words shared by our members and guests. Special guest Cathy Smith Bowers, our current Poet Laureate, read work from her most recent collections. She came with friend Jeff Davis, a poet from Asheville, who was in graduate school with me years ago. His blog is Natures ( Give it a look. Cathy herself is learning her way around cyberspace. She now has a facebook page and is working on a website. Her New and Selected Poems will be out in November from Press 53 in Winston-Salem.

(Cathy and Jeff)

An old friend, George Ellison (, came to visit, along with his wife, the painter Elizabeth Ellison, and treated us to some of the new work in his ongoing Permanent Camp manuscript, including a sonnet by his dog Zeke. George hopes to bring out this manuscript under his Unaka Range imprint soon. Some of you may remember the journal Unaka Range from several decades ago, its attempt to give voice to WNC poets. If so, you can see how George's new work has special resonance.
Here is Zeke's sonnet.

“If there was a dog heaven … a simulated sonnet,”

There would be mountains and valleys like these.

There would be a swift creek to drink from and wade in.

There would be bear brutes and wild hogs from hell to fight.

There would be lesser critters galore: coons weasels coyotes et al.

There would be a pinkish-white horse and a black barn cat to chase.

There would be a woman to walk with me feed me and fuss at me.

There would be a man who talks with me and writes poems about me.

There would be better company dog-wise than is presently the case.

There would be a dog like Maggie, now dead, who (or whom) I still miss.

There would be a house like this to sleep in and a deck to lie on.

There would be a tree-lined meadow across the swift creek and

a trail alongside the creek that leads into a

dark forest of smells and sounds … if there

was a dog heaven it would be like this.

Joyce and Allen Moore listen to George as he reads Zeke's sonnet.

After several readings by Nancy Simpson, Brenda Kay Ledford, Linda Smith, and others, we broke for food! Need I say more?

Dick Michener mans the book table. He looks happy!

After supper Angela Dove read from her recently published book.

Followed by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who drove up from South Carolina.

JC Walkup was on hand to share her fiction.

Even Lord Byron was there, charming Netwest member Deanna Klingel. I didn't want to leave him in the house on such a beautiful September afternoon. I am wondering when, or if, he will ever write a sonnet!

Thanks to all who came to this event. We hope you will continue to support Netwest in the months to come.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NC WRITERS NETWORK 19th Annual Picnic will be held at Western Carolina University Picnic Grounds in Cullowhee, NC.

NC Writers Network West's annual picnic will be held Sunday Sept 12, 2010 beginning at 3:00 at Western Carolina University Picnic Grounds.

N.C. Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers will be our special guest reader and an open mic will follow. Limit your reading to 5 minutes so that we can hear everyone who wants to share their writing.

NC Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers is the featured guest reader.

The picnic is open to all writers. You do not have to be a member of NCWN West to attend. Bring your family and friends. Bring a covered side dishes or desserts to share. Meat and tea will be provided. The Jackson County Netwest members will provide paper plates, etc. Bring a folding chair. Kathryn Stripling Byer, Program Coordinator will host the event. A table will be provided for books for sale by members. Those with books bring copies. Copies of Echoes Across the Blue Ridge will also be be for sale.

DIRECTIONS and a Campus Map.



Saturday, February 13, 2010


(At the state Capitol with Linda Carlisle, Head of the Dept. of Cultural Resources, and new Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers)
On Wednesday Feb. 10, Cathy Smith Bowers was officially installed as North Carolina Poet Laureate. ( )I was delighted to place the laurel wreath on her head. My Lasso blog will now be archived here, so please visit it as often as you wish. The NC Arts Council will be setting up its own laureate website soon and will link to this blog.
Thank you for visiting this blog. Please visit my other blog now--Here, Where I Am, where I will be now and then featuring poets and new books from NC and elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Photo credit: Jeff Davis. This photo of Cathy was snapped at the studios of WPVM when she appeared earlier this year on WordPlay, the station's program by, about, etc., "writers, their craft and ideas."
Cathy Smith Bowers will be reading at City Lights Bookstore,, this Friday night (Oct. 16) at 7:00 p.m.
Please plan to attend this reading, signing, and reception in Sylva, NC.

Anyone who has read Cathy Smith Bowers knows what I'm about to say, that she is one of the finest poets writing today, that her work fuses narrative with exquisite lyricism, as well as wit and vulnerability. Her new book, The Candle I Hold Up to See You, is just out from Iris Press.

ISBN-10: 1604542020ISBN-13: 9781604542028 Published: Iris Press, 05/01/2009 Pages: 96

Cathy Smith Bowers is a native of South Carolina. She was a winner of the 1990 General Electric Award for Younger Writers and a South Carolina Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared widely in publications such as The Altantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, The Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, and many others.
Cathy’s first book, The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas, was published in 1992 as the first winner of the Texas Tech University Press First-book Competition in their Poetry Award Series, subsequently named for Walt McDonald. Iris Press republished The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas in 1997. Iris Press published Cathy’s second book, Traveling in Time of Danger, in 1999. Iris Press published Cathy’s third book, A Book of Minutes, in 2004. Cathy teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte.

To view a portfolio of Cathy's work over her past several books, please go to

Here are two poems from her new collection.

Cool Radio

When she calls and asks
f I will drive her to the mall,
our city’s newest labyrinth

of glittering stuff, I know my sister
has come back to me, back
from November’s shock of blood,

the exams, the x-rays, the surgeon’s
winnowing blade. She is one week
out of the hospital, chemo bag

draped casually across her shoulder,
spilling its slow promise
into her veins. Odd how stylish

in the mall’s fluorescent lights,
a Gucci or von Furstenburg,
its pale blue plastic shiny

as the toy shoes and purses
we used to play grownup in.
I loop my left arm through her

frail right, her tired gait lanky,
almost chic, steady her against
the teenage throng, tattooed

and pierced and spiked, past
racks of skirts and dresses, tier
upon tier of stiletto heels

like the ones our dead mother
in her younger years
suffered in so beautifully.

At the base of the escalator,
beyond The Limited and The Gap,
a girl too young for fashion’s

fleeting realm spies the apparatus
around my sister’s neck. “Cool
radio,” she whispers to no one

as we all step on together.


Each morning in my mailbox
or tucked into a quiet cove
of my front porch, another
burden of solace
reminding me again
my husband is dead.

Last week, an oval cardboard box
decoupaged in stars, inside, its nested
offering—a cache of still-warm eggs
gleaned from my neighbor’s henhouse.

Yesterday, a Peruvian prayer shawl,
the warp and weft of its holy weave
climbing, like girders of a bridge,
its sturdy warmth.

And today this handmade flute,
turned and hollowed and carved
by Laughing Crow, enigmatic
shaman of some distant plain.

See its little row of holes
lined up like perfect planets,
as if having not yet learned
the universe had collapsed.

See my lips pressed to the tiny
breathless gape of its own mouth.
As if my lungs could conjure anything.
As if it were the one needing to be saved.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


There are still spaces available for the poetry workshop with Cathy Smith Bowers at the Network's Squire Summer Writing Residency, July 24-26, at Warren Wilson College.
has been described as "an inspiration and model for her students. Cathy is on fire with love for the written word and she fires up her students as well. Her students love and admire her; they flock to her creative writing classes."
Her work has appeared in publications such as the Atlantic Monthly, the Gettysburg Review, the Georgia Review, Poetry, the Southern Review, and the Kenyon Review. She served for many years as poet-in-residence at Queens University of Charlotte, where she received the 2002 J. B. Fuqua Distinguished Educator Award.

She now teaches in the Queens low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program, and at conferences throughout the United States.

The Squire Summer Writing Residency offers:
Affordable three-day session includes daily classes, free writing periods, evening readings & discussions, and group meals
Commuter rates for those who do not wish to stay on campus
Limited number of dedicated writers in each workshop
In-class exercises and "hands on" discussion of work

The registration deadline is July 8th. Please visit our website to get more information and to register online. We hope you can join us for a weekend of poetry and community in the cool mountain air.

Best Regards,

Virginia Freedman
Administrative Director

North Carolina Writers' Network
P.O. Box 954
Carrboro, NC 27510
Phone: 919.251.9140

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Squire Summer Writing Residency to be held in WNC

Western North Carolina Writers - Now is the perfect time to sign up for the Squire Summer Writing Residency at Warren Wilson College, near Asheville.

North Carolina Writers’ Network


Friday–Sunday, July 24–26
Warren Wilson College
Swannanoa, NC

Writing Workshops Featuring:

Poetry with Cathy Smith Bowers
Fiction with Tommy Hays
Nonfiction with Catherine Reid

Register by July 8 at or call 336-293-8844.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Literary Festival at Western Carolina University - Free events

From City Lights Book Store in Sylva, the following announcements:

(April 7-10): WCU Spring Literary Festival
Western Carolina University's sixth annual Spring Literary Festival will be held on campus in Cullowhee April 7-10 and includes a wonderful line-up of authors. Books will be available for sale at each reading, and all events are free and open to the public. As an encouragement to attendance, campus parking regulations will not be enforced for attendees from the community (as any tickets will be forgiven). For more information, please call the WCU English Department at 227-3265.

Monday, April 7, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723 Novelist Lee Smith reads from On Agate Hill. Performance of On Agate Hill by Barbara Bates Smith and Jeff Sebens immediately follows.Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia, nine-year-old Lee Smith was already writing-and selling, for a nickel apiece- stories about her neighbors in the coal boomtown of Grundy and the nearby isolated "hollers." In 1968, she published her first novel, The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723 Poet Thomas Lux will read from his work.Thomas Lux's many books of poetry include The Cradle Place; The Street of Clocks; New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995, which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Author and commentator Dagoberto Gilb reads from his work. Dagoberto Gilb's first story collection, The Magic of Blood, won the PEN/Hemingway Award. He is also author of The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His newest novel is The Flowers, published this year. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and as commentaries on NPR's "Fresh Air."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Poet's Panel: Joseph Bathanti, Sarah Lindsay, Carolyn Beard Whitlow. Poet and novelist Joseph Bathanti is the author of four books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; and This Metal, which was nominated for The National Book Award, and won the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer. His novels are East Liberty and Coventry, was a winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His collection of short stories, The High Heart, was winner of the 2007 Spokane Prize. Sarah Lindsay is the author of Primate Behavior, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Mount Clutter, as well as two chapbooks, Bodies of Water and Insomniac's Lullaby.Poet Carolyn Beard Whitlow is Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, where she teaches Creative Writing and African-American Literature. Her most recent collection of poems, Vanished, won the 2006 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Novelist Pat Conroy reads from his work.Pat Conroy is the bestselling and award-winning author of The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music and My Losing Season. His novels are populated with domineering fathers, southern belles of steel, and inexorable tragedy; all are elements the author is familiar with from his own life.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 12:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Cathy Smith Bowers presents Caleb Beissert, Haley Jones, and Tom Lambert. Cathy Smith Bowers, Distinguished Poet for the western region, presents emerging poets Caleb Beissert, Haley Jones, and Tom Lambert. The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. Three Distinguished Poets, one from each region, mentor a middle-school, a high-school, and a college or university student.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Poet Gloria Vando reads from her work.Poet Gloria Vando is publisher /editor of Helicon Nine Editions, a nonprofit literary press she founded in 1977. Her book of poems, Shadows and Supposes, was named the Best Poetry Book of 2003 by the Latino Hall of Fame.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Novelist Russell Banks reads from his work (an LCE event). Russell Banks grew up in a working- class world that has played a major role in shaping his writing. His titles include The Darling, Cloudsplitter, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Searching for Survivors, Hamilton Stark, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, Trailerpark, Continental Drift, Success Stories, and Rule of the Bone. The Angel on the Roof is a collection of thirty years of Banks' short fiction.