THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Making Thanksgiving Last: Priscilla Chappell
This Thanksgiving, while the turkey was in the oven, I was thinking about those literature-lovers who have made a difference in our lives and the lives of their students. I had already posted ArtPark, begun by my friend Jane Wood, in Wilson, NC, and supported by the county arts council and the 4th grade teachers in Wilson. My thoughts then turned to Priscilla Chappell, who teaches at Enloe High School in Raleigh, whose three students she nominated took top honors in the newly established Student Poet Laureate Awards given by the NC Teachers Association. (see http://ncpoetlaureate.blogspot.com/2008/10/nc-student-poet-laureate-awards.html)
(At the annual NCETA convention in Winston-Salem with the three Student Poet Laureate Winners: from left Anuja Acharya, Katherine Indermaur, and Sarah Bruce.)
Here is what Ms. Chappell has to say about her role in encouraging these young poets and how she came to her love of literature and teaching.
"I am utterly in love with poetry, true, but one of the reasons that I am able to guide so many of my students in their writing and reading of poetry is that I have been privileged to teach a poetry elective (two creative writing electives, really--Short Story Honors and Honors Poetic Voices). Enloe has granted me this class my entire tenure, which now approaches its eighth year. In our English department, we are also very fortunate to have two other teachers who support the creative writing program, including my department head Joyce Nelson who has been teaching a Writer's Studio class for many many years beyond my eight. In fact, Joyce Nelson was Anuja's teacher last year, and she worked extensively with her; I was simply a previous elective teacher for Anuja, perhaps her first creative writing teacher at Enloe. And while I do incorporate poetry in my other classes--AP 11 and Honors 9 courses--I absolutely revel in poetry every Spring semester during that elective. I just wanted to make sure this was clear.
I grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and finished high school at the NC School of Science and Mathematics, where I received some of the best training for writing in my life. A whole new door opened for me in regards to the depth of my training and the joys of literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I graduated with a B. A. in English and a Masters in Teaching. I immediately came to William G. Enloe High School and have stayed for almost eight years. During that time, I have marveled at the talent that has come into my classroom, advised the Enloe Literary Organization--which produces an award-winning student-run literary magazine entitled Stone Soup, and achieved my National Boards Certification. And my students have taught me far more than I could ever teach them. "
I will have more about Ms. Chappell, as well as her department head Joyce Nelson, in later posts, as well as good teachers across the state, from Cherokee to Supply--from the mountains to the coast, as we like to say when we talk about what's happening in our state.
We will, in other words, make Thanksgiving last, by expessing our gratitude to the teachers who give their energy, their time, and their own passion for literature to their students.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.