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Public reading schedule announced for 2012 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series Central Region Winners

In December, Caitlin Johnson, Beebe Barksdale-Bruner and Susan Seawolf Hayes were announced as the 2012 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series Central Region winners.

Since that time, they have been working with Distinguished Poet Ann Deagon to prepare for public presentations of their work. Each reader will join Deagon for a free and open to the public reading prior to their group reading at St. Andrews University April 12 beginning at 8 p.m. in DeTamble Library.

Johnson, a Charlotte native raised in Detroit, will present with Deagon on Monday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in the Tannenbaum Room of the Central Library in Greensboro. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC. In 2008, her chapbook, Miles, winner of the Alan Bunn Memorial Chapbook Award, was published by St. Andrews College Press.

After graduation, Johnson became Office Manager and Editorial Assistant of St. Andrews College Press as well as Managing Editor of CAIRN: The St. Andrews Review. She also serves as Resident Director of Granville Hall and Assistant to the Director of the General Honors Program. Johnson is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In her free time, she blogs at What We Covet, the shopping weblog she founded in 2010.

Barksdale-Bruner will take her turn next, with a reading Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. at the Hickory Grove Branch Library in Charlotte. Barksdale-Bruner holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA in Poetry from Queens University and has worked in a variety of art fields, visual as well as literary. Her ceramic work is featured in the collections of Central Piedmont Community College and R. J. Reynolds, and has been displayed at Springfest in Charlotte, Rolfe’s Winterfest, New Morning Gallery in Asheville, and elsewhere.

Her poetry collection, It Comes To Me Loosely Woven, was published in 2007. She has received the Margaret Reid Poetry Award as well as awards from Mad Hatter’s, Delaware Bay, Tidal Basin Review, and a non-fiction award from New Southerner. She is currently writing poems in response to her own photographs and those of other artists, and has work coming out this year in the anthology Open to Interpretation.

Hayes will complete the individual reading events with a reading March 31 in the Tannenbaum Room of the Central Library in Greensboro. Hayes holds a BA in English from UNC-G, where she edited and published poems in Coraddi. She also holds a J.D. from Wake Forest University.

After stints as classical mezzo-soprano and criminal defense attorney, she returned to writing. She presented her debut recital at Carnegie Hall and performed with Winston-Salem Symphony, Greensboro Oratorio Society, Cleveland Orchestra, Blossom Festival, New York Opera Theater and Bel Canto Opera.

Hayes has facilitated writing workshops for children in after-school programs, mentally frail seniors and homeless women. She just completed Anjail Ahmad’s year-long Fractured Writers boot-camp. Writers’ Group of the Triad has published her work, and her poems/recipes are in final consideration for the Walt Whitman Birth Place anthology.

Deagon took her doctorate in Classics at UNC-Chapel Hill and served as Hege Professor of Humanities and Writer in Residence at Guilford College until her retirement in 1992. She edited The Guilford Review, directed Poetry Center Southeast, and helped establish the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Among her poetry collections are: Carbon 14 (U. Massachusetts), Poetics South (Blair), There Is No Balm in Birmingham (Godine), and The Polo Poems (U. Nebraska-Omaha), plus several chapbooks. Her fiction includes short stories Habitats (Green River) and the novel The Diver’s Tomb (St. Martin’s). Her plays have received reader’s theatre production at various colleges and theatre conferences. Her awards include a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Since retirement Deagon has acted in theater and film and performed her original songs with a comedy troupe of elderly women entitled “The Wise Cracks.” She continues to present readings and workshops in creative writing, and does critiques for NCWN. In 2011 she was the honoree of the North Carolina Writers Conference meeting in Asheville, and was named Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for 2012.

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series originated in 2003 upon the advice of then North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. It is named after Chappell and former NCPS president Marie Gilbert. The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster reading, writing and the enjoyment of poetry across the state.

About St. Andrews University

St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.


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