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NC Poet Laureate returns to SHJ Library in Aulander

AULANDER – North Carolina’s current Poet Laureate, Dr. Shelby Stephenson (appointed December 22, 2014), will present the Mature Patrons’ Program at Sallie Harrell Jenkins Memorial Library in Aulander beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Dr. Stephenson earlier presented a Mature Patrons’ Program at the library on March 31, 2015, when he read poetry (his and others) and accompanied himself (mostly country and gospel songs) on his Martin Backpacker Guitar. His enthusiastic audience wanted the program to continue, but it had to end that day. Now, it will continue.

Dr. Shelby Stephenson

Dr. Shelby Stephenson

Born in Benson in 1938, Stephenson writes poetry proving that wherever he may roam, he never leaves home; he and his poetry are inextricably linked with the land.

After receiving his B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he left North Carolina to pursue his M.A. at the University of Pittsburg, and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.  Returning to his native state, he served as Chairman of the English Department at Campbell College for several years, eventually returning to the family farm in Johnston County and teaching creative writing at UNC-Pembroke until his retirement in 2010. From 1979 until 2010, he edited Pembroke Magazine.

His first poetry was published in 1972, and he has published 15 books of poetry. In 2014, he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary hall of Fame. 

Established by the North Carolina Legislature in 1935, the position of Poet Laureate was originally a life-time appointment, but in 1997, Governor Jim Hunt, recognizing that North Carolina was so fertile for writers that numerous ones should be recognized, created term limits.

The public is encouraged to visit SHJ Library on Nov. 16 and hear Dr. Stephenson before his two-year term expires.

In addition to his appearance at Sallie Harrell Jenkins Memorial Library, Dr. Stephenson will also make a presentation at the Cultivator Bookstore in Murfreesboro at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16, and at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Ahoskie at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Sallie Harrell Jenkins Memorial Library, a branch of Albemarle Regional Library, is located at 302 Broad Street in Aulander. For more information call 252-345-4461.