For a long time, NCWN West has hoped to establish an annual writing conference and that goal was approved two years ago by NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. NCWN West Program Director Ellen Schofield coordinated this event with the help of Kathryn Stripling Byer and Newton Smith, Jackson County's Netwest Representatives who hosted the event held at the historic Jackson County Courthouse Complex and also with the help of former Program Director Glenda Beall, Gay Moring, J C Walkup, Linda M. Smith, Joan Howard and Lana Hendershott.
Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate Emertia and NC Writers Network West Program Coordinator Ellen Schofield
JC Walkup, long time NCWN member from Haywood County, author of new novel Partners and William Everett, author of seven books and many articles in English and German on ethical issues in Religion and Society, who taught ethics many years in theological seminaries and graduate schools.
Poet and long time member of NCWN West Dr. Gene Hirsch and his wife Ginny, residents of Pittsburg, PA and Cherokee County North Carolina. Gene Hirsch joined Netwest only two years after it began and he established NCWN West's first monthly critique group for both poets and writers that still continues to meet monthly 21 years later.
I want to assure you, I also returned home with a deep feeling that I too was appreciated, carrying in my arms an exotic multi-blooming purple orchid, which was presented to me as ( they said as founder of NCWN West). Those who know me know that I always say and will always say "I am a co founder." I still deeply appreciate the guidance of then NCWN Executive Director Marsha Warren who defined the best of what NCWN West would become and Debbie McGill then NC Arts Council Literary Director in Raleigh who organized our first meetings and ultimately got us mountain writer invited to the NCWN Fall Conference in 1991 and got us connected to NCWN. I honor Kathryn Stripling Byer as a cofounder because she signed and sent the first letter to invite the mountain writers to meet in Jackson County when Debbie McGill came out to the mountains to meet with us, and thus brought us all together for that first meeting. How could I say no to "having dinner in Sylva with Debbie McGill when I had just received the NC Artist Fellowship for Poetry from her. I admit I did not know what I was getting myself into. Some months later, Kathryn and I were the two members there in the room at the NCWN fall Conference when Marsha Warren and then President Anthony Abbott invited us to bring the mountain writers in as a special program under the umbrella of NCWN. This is the true account of how and when NCWN West began. Kathryn Stripling Byer has served as consultant to NCWN West from the beginning and served one year as Program Coordinator when our PC Glenda Beall had to resign during her husband's illness. That was a crucial year, as some of you remember well, because it was at the very time we were bringing our our second anthology --Echoes Across the Blue Ridge. It was the sale of that anthology that now affords NCWN West the opportunity to hold regular writing events here in the far western NC mountains. At the time Kathryn Stripling Byer served as P.C. she gave invaluable service in getting an introduction written by Robert Morgan and also got the best blurbs from renowned authors for the back book cover. Many times through the past 23 years I confessed and still say that I will never do much of anything related to poetry without first consulting with Kathryn Stripling Byer.
My orchid is the most beautiful flower I have ever seen. I am determined to keep it alive. If you have any inside knowledge of how to care for an orchid, please let me know as soon as possible.
Back home now, more than a week later, I am still thinking about that very special day. I want to remind the poets who attended our discussion about "Building a Readership for Your Poetry, " that my offer still stands to reprint some of your poems on this blog. Send 3-5 already published poems ( giving credit to the place it was first published) with your photo and a brief bio.
(firstname.lastname@example.org) This is in keeping with the idea of getting your poems out there and keeping them out there in print, the old poems as well as the newly written ones. Also, in the future, I am working to get this site revamped. I need more readers and more comments. In return, each week, I plan to give a listing of five open markets looking for poems.