Showing posts with label Newt Smith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newt Smith. Show all posts

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Writers' Night Out Features Newton Smith & Robert Lee Kendrick

Our 2017 Season Opens on April 14 in Blairsville, GA

You're invited to hear poems from two Ph.D. poets who have new, highly acclaimed books: Newton Smith will read from his Camino Poems: Reflections on the Way, and Robert Lee Kendrick from his Winter Skin. After the featured readers, there's an open microphone for anyone wanting to share their own poems or prose. All this takes place at 7 pm on April 14 at the beautiful Union County Community Center. Please note, we will be meeting in a first floor conference room this month rather than the ballroom, and the grill will not be open for dinner until May.

Of the two books, celebrated North Carolina author, Ron Rash, says: “Newt Smith’s spiritual journey is rendered with such attentiveness and fidelity that we become his fellow travelers. We too share the pain and effort but above all the wonder, and are reminded that in matters of the spirit the journey and destination can be one,” and “Robert Lee Kendrick’s poems transport the reader into the deep, dark souls of his narrators, but the elegance of his language gives the poems a rough, hard-earned grace.”

Smith, who lives in Tuckasegee, NC, received his Ph.D. from University of North Carolina. He's the treasurer of NCWN-West and a retired professor who taught creative writing, poetry and literature at Western Carolina University. He has been published widely in literary magazines including Southern Poetry Review, Carolina Quarterly, Ann Arbor Review, Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, and others. Smith now devotes his time to travel, gardening, Buddhist studies, mindfulness practices, and hiking in nature, especially in the Smoky Mountains. During his 2014 pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago he wrote a poem every day reflecting on the physical body, nature, and the spiritual.

Kendrick also has a Ph.D., earned from the University of South Carolina. He grew up in Illinois and Iowa, but now calls Clemson, South Carolina home, where he lives with his wife and their dogs. His poems have appeared in top journals, such as Tar River Poetry, Xavier Review, Louisiana Literature, South Carolina Review, The James Dickey Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Winter Skin, was released in 2016 by Main Street Rag Publishing.

Writers’ Night Out is a free monthly event, sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network-West. It takes place on the second Friday of the month, April through November. Open mic readers sign up at the door and can read for three minutes each. The Union County Community Center (map here) is located at Butternut Creek Golf Course at 129 Union County Recreation Rd., Blairsville, Georgia 30512, off Highway 129 near the intersection of US 76,  phone (706) 439-6092. Food is available for purchase in The View Grill, but please arrive by 6 pm to get served.  For more information, please contact Karen Holmes at (404) 316-8466 or

Monday, June 21, 2010

Not Your Stereotypical Southern People

In my older brothers’ generation, memorizing poetry was a part of school curriculum. I remember as a child hearing two of them, Max and Ray, chanting out the verses to Gunga Din, by Rudyard Kipling. While milking cows or feeding livestock, my teenage brothers recited poetry or sang together. As you will see below in another post, this is a long poem, but they knew every word and Max can still recite it in his 81st year.

The stereotype of farm boys in the Deep South in the 1940s and ‘50s did not include reading and loving poetry. But in our schools, English teachers enjoyed poetry and made it part of the required reading. Max and Ray often entertained me with The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

My role models were my sister and my mother. Both were avid readers. Both enjoyed school. Winken, Blinken and Nod, one night, set off in a Wooden Shoe. I begged my big sister, June, to say that poem as she tucked me into bed each night. She pulled the covers up around me and repeated Eugene Fields' words to me in the dark while I traveled out on the night with Winken, Blinken and Nod.

Recently Newt Smith, Treasurer of Netwest, commented at Coffee with the Poets in Sylva, that his mother, as a child, would take a book of poetry with her and read while she milked the cow. In rural America, it was hard to find free time to engage in a pastime such as reading and learning poetry. There was always work to be done.

The stereotype in movies and on television would have you believe southern boys and girls were lazy, ignorant and hardly attended school. I did not know any of those stereotypical children where I grew up in southwest Georgia. My siblings and our neighbors’ kids graduated from high school while also working on the farm with their parents. All four of my brothers, along with my husband, in 1969, built a national manufacturing business which thrived in a tiny little town in Georgia until the company was sold to a California firm in the nineties.

After World War II, my brother who served in the Navy, graduated from college, ,thanks to the GI Bill. After college, he taught school and on Saturday mornings when he was home, he filled the house with the sounds of classical music and Opera. I was a high school student at that time and hardly appreciated his choice of music.

Reciting poetry, as my brothers and sisters did, seems to be a fading art today, except for a few performance poets and the Poetry Slams I read about. Michael Beadle from Haywood County is an exciting performance poet. I also enjoyed Charley Pearson’s recitation at a Netwest Picnic a few years ago. We see this in larger cities, but not in small towns.

Another southern man named Max often drops in to Coffee with the Poets in Hayesville, NC at Phillips and Lloyd bookstore. His brain is stocked with verses he learned while growing up in Georgia. We enjoy hearing him recite a few each time he comes.

Newt suspects memorizing poetry was popular in the early past century because books were hard to come by back then. The only books my brothers had were their school books or a book checked out from the book mobile in summer.

I am happy to say that the children in Hayesville and Murphy schools in North Carolina are exposed to poetry. I know this because I have read their poems in the annual Poetry contests held each year, and each year I am amazed at the work from these kids.

If you are a teacher or a parent of children in school, do you think the schools devote enough time to reading and learning poetry? Should they spend time on poetry? We would love to have your comments. Did you learn to recite poetry as a child?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coffee with the Poets at City Lights in Sylva

I appreciate those who came to hear my reading today.

Coffee with the Poets at City Lights Books in Sylva started with a bang. Newt Smith, Treasurer for Netwest, served as MC for the reading. Kathryn Stripling Byer was not able to attend today.

Cynthia Gallinger, William Everett, Pat Montee

Mary Mike Keller and Rosemary Royston from Young Harris, GA made the trip over the mountains. Both shared poetry with the group which included William Everett, author of Red Clay, Blood River,and Pat Montee, wife of the late Ralph Montee, writer and poet. It was especially nice to see Pat again, in pink above.

From right, Newt Smith, Chris Wilcox, Diana Jurss, Rosemary Royston, Mary Mike Keller.
William and I have been communicating by E-mail for two years, and finally met today. I am very disappointed that both times Bill came to Hayesville I had to be out of town and was unable to see his presentation of his book in which he uses music and a professional actress.
Diana Jurss is the featured reader for the next Coffee with the Poets in Sylva. Her book is forthcoming in August. Cynthia Gallinger was also present today. I look forward to next month's CWP at City Lights. Perhaps other poets and writers will come and share their work at Open Mic.

Chris Wilcox, owner of City Lights, could not have been nicer and more accomodating. We bought books and sold books.

The refreshments were delicious, and we had an informal opportunity to discuss our opinions about poetry, line breaks, reading aloud and reading on the page. After the reading, some of us went downstairs to the Spring Street Restaurant were we had excellent service and excellent food.r more information on Coffee with the Poets in Sylva, contact Newt Smith, or Chris at