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Wednesday, 29 March 2017 00:00

Events for readers and writers

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Bryson City poetry reading

Swain High School student Jade Shuler and Pat Riviere-Seel, the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the Western Region of North Carolina, will host an evening of poetry at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City.

• Shuler is a junior at Swain County High School who has been writing poetry since she was 13, and used poetry as a method of self-discovery and escape from problems she did not fully understand. In 2016, two of her poems were published in Speechless, an online publishing site associated with her school. She also read her poems at a Speechless gathering. 

This year she was selected to participate in a program with Narrative 4, an international nonprofit organization focused on increasing empathy through the exchange of personal narratives. Shuler enjoys reading, being outside, painting, and listening to music. She hopes to attend Lenoir-Rhyne University after graduation.

• Riviere-Seel is a poet, runner and a woman who has lived long enough to have “past” and “former” prefixes for more jobs and volunteer positions than she can name without looking at a resume. She is a co-editor of the anthology Kakalak and the author of two prize-winning poetry chapbooks: No Turning Back Now and The Serial Killer’s Daughter, winner of the Roanoke-Chowan Award. Her most recent poetry collection, Nothing Below but Air, was a semifinalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. The Serial Killer’s Daughter has been turned into a one-act play and performed by Shared Radiance Theatre. 

Riviere-Seel has taught in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, and in 2012 she held a unique position as poet-in-residence at the NC Zoo. Before earning her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, she worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and lobbyist. 

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) is a free program of the North Carolina Poetry Society that pairs an established North Carolina poet with four student writers who wish to develop their work. From December through May, the students and the Distinguished Poet correspond or meet to discuss and work on about a dozen of each student’s poems. The series includes a GCDPS reading at Western Carolina University’s annual Literary Festival in April and the opportunity to set up joint readings of the student poets and the Distinguished Poet at the students’ home libraries. 


The Resilience of Southern Identity

WCU professor Chris Cooper and College of Charleston Professor H. Gibbs Knotts will present their book The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

The American South has experienced remarkable change over the past half century. Black voter registration has increased, the region’s politics have shifted from one-party Democratic to the near-domination of the Republican Party, and in-migration has increased its population many-fold. 

At the same time, many outward signs of regional distinctiveness have faded — chain restaurants have replaced mom-and-pop diners, and the interstate highway system connects the region to the rest of the country. Given all of these changes, many have argued that southern identity is fading. 

But here, Cooper and Knotts show how these changes have allowed for new types of southern identity to emerge. For some, identification with the South has become more about a connection to the region’s folkways or to place than about policy or ideology. For others, the contemporary South is all of those things at once — a place where many modern-day southerners navigate the region’s confusing and omnipresent history. 

To reserve copies of The Resilience of Southern Identity, call City Lights Bookstore at 828.586.9499.


Through the lens of life

Asheville photographer and writer Sue Wasserman will sign copies of her new book, A Moment’s Notice, at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. 

Comprised of pieces about gratitude, patience, presence, and other meditations inspired by mountain nature, A Moment’s Notice is at once a field guide to the region and a meditation on what it means to exist in the world. Wasserman casts her well-trained eye on Southern Appalachian wildlife and translates what she sees and experiences in nature into thoughtful reflections. Included are the common names of the flora and fauna depicted.

A freelance writer, Wasserman’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Southern Living, American Style, as well as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Asheville Citizen-Times.




• A “Theme Team Book Club” is now being offered by the Waynesville Public Library. The group meets quarterly from 2 to 4 p.m. on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is April 7, with the theme “A Fresh Start: Books About Starting Over.” Pick any book you would like to read for the theme. Everyone gets a chance to discuss their book. 828.356.2507. Refreshments provided by the Friends of the Library.

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