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Joseph Bathanti is the Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, he has BA & MA degrees in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. Bathanti came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC where he is also the Writer-in-Residence for the University’s Watauga Global Community and Director of Writing in the Field.
Bathanti is the author of six books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal, nominated for The National Book Award, and winner of the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer; Land of Amnesia, in 2009; and, Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year. His first novel, East Liberty, won the Carolina Novel Award. He is the recipient of Literature Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (for poetry) and 2009 (for fiction), The Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period, and a Fellowship from The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry among others.
Jaki Shelton Green was awarded the 2010 International LINKS (Raleigh Chapter) Fine Arts Emerald Award and selected as the first NC Piedmont Laureate in 2009. In 2007 she received The Sam Ragan Award for contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina.
As the 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature (the highest award the state can bestow for significant contributions in science, literature, fine arts, and public service) she was formally inducted into the prestigious North Caroliniana Society. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as The Crucible, The African-American Review, Obsidian, Poets for Peace, Ms. Magazine, Essence Magazine, KAKALAK, Callaloo, Cave Canem African American Writers Anthology, and The Pedestal Magazine.
Author of Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, and Blue Opal, a play. She is the co-editor of two anthologies: Poets for Peace and Immigration Emigration Diversity. She is a creativity coach and facilitates workshops and poetry readings throughout the U.S, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America.