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For The TMake plans to attend the annual “Walking into April Poetry Day” to be held at Barton College on Saturday, April 13, in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center. This year brings another distinguished group of poets to celebrate the written word in the spirit of Sam Ragan.
Featured writers for the “Walking into April” morning session are Lewis Bowling and Phillip Shabazz. The afternoon will feature Deborah Doolittle, Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for Eastern North Carolina, and the Gilbert-Chappell student poets. “Walking into April” is sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society, Barton College and the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series.
The program is open to the public at no charge, with the exception of lunch. Participants may reserve space for lunch, catered by ARAMARK, at $10 per person, by mailing a check (made out to Barton College) to Rebecca Godwin School of Humanities, English Program, Barton College, P.O. Box 5000, Wilson, NC 27893-7000. The deadline for lunch reservations is April 10.
The daylong event will begin at 9:15 a.m. with “Coffee and Conversation.” Bowling will kick off the morning discussion at 10 a.m. with a presentation titled “Sam Ragan, Our Literary Godfather.” Following a brief break, participants will hear from Shabazz, who will provide “A Reading and Discussion of the Poetic Imagination.” Lunch will be held at noon. Following a 1 p.m. book signing, participants will enjoy presentations by Doolittle and the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series Student Poets at 1:15 p.m. The “Open Microphone” session at 2 p.m., a time for all participants to share their work, will conclude the poetry event.
For additional information, contact Godwin at firstname.lastname@example.org. All poets are welcome to bring items for the book table.
• Lewis Bowling is the author of “Sam Ragan: North Carolina’s Literary Godfather” as well as six books on Granville County history and three books on sports, including “Wallace Wade: Championship Years at Alabama and Duke,” as well as “Duke Basketball: A Pictorial History.” Bowling writes history columns for Oxford Public Ledger and Butner-Creedmoor News and has taught in Bangkok and Malaysia. He also is an assistant professor of physical education at North Carolina Central University and an instructor of History of Duke Sports classes at Duke University.
• Phillip Shabazz has published poetry collections “Freestyle and Visitation,” “XYZoom” and “Flames in the Heart.” His novel-in-verse is “When the Grass was Blue” and his forthcoming memoir “Holding Space.” His poetry appears in “Home Is Where: African-American Poetry from the Carolinas” and in journals such as The Louisville Review, Obsidian and The American Voice. Shabazz has been an artist-in-residence at Duke University’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture and a visiting writer at Warren Wilson College, Appalachian State University, Elon University, Winthrop University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, he tours as a poet-in-the-schools.
• Deborah Doolittle is the author of three books of poetry: “No Crazy Notions,” “That Echo” and “Floribunda.” Her work has appeared in Bear Creek Haiku, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Poets’ Espresso Review, Collateral, Steam Ticket,and Blue Stem Online. A volunteer at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, she teaches at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville.
Student poets selected for this year’s Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series are Christie Lambert of Clayton, Jennifer Raha Newhouse of Murfreesboro, Mary Jo Larkin of Greenville and Joan Leotta of Calabash.