For National Poetry Month, we talked with four different North Carolina poets about their work and their relationship with the art form.
Name: Jacinta White
Location: Kernersville, NC
Organization: The Word Project, using poetry workshops to help with personal and community healing.
"Often times people are made to come to the workshop... and there's always bound to be at least one person who says 'I'm here because I have to be. I don't write. I'm not creative.' Inside of me, I'm jumping up and down saying 'Yes! They are in the right place." - Jacinta White
Name: Emily Demaionewton
Location: Raleigh, NC
Credits: Senior at Wakefield High, 2013 Poetry Out Loud district winner.
"Especially students, when we read pre-20th century poetry, they get go up in the 'Poetry is so confusing. It doesn't make any sense.' But the process of figuring it out makes you think. And that's what poetry is supposed to do."
Name: Joseph Bathanti
Location: Boone, NC
Title: Poet Laureate, state of North Carolina
“I was this unwashed Yanakee boy who came south who despereatly wanted to be a writer and I was really without having credential one welcomed into the ranks of North Carolina writers. It is just a generous community there is a not a pecking order or hierarchy I feel like there is not that kind of jealously, vanity.”
Name: Nathaniel Mackey
Location: Durham, NC
Credits: National Book Award Winner, Guggenheim Fellow, Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University
“[Poetry] is the closest to music. The sound of it, the impact of it on one’s ear and the rest of you via the ear was something that registered with me very early on and I think it stayed with me.”
Special thanks to the North Carolina Arts Council for helping connect us with some of the poets.