Award-winning poet Kathryn Stripling Byer will give a public reading at the Cleveland Hall Alumnae House across Main Street from the Converse College campus on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. The evening will include a reception and book signing by the author. The reading, which is open to the public and free of charge, is part of Byer’s month-long residency as the 2004 Sara Lura Mathews Self Distinguished Writer-in-Residence for the Winter Term at Converse. For more information, contact Richard Mulkey at (864) 596-9099 or email@example.com.
Byer is author of The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest (1986 Texas Tech University Press and an Associated Writing Programs award winner), Wildwood Flower (1992 LSU Press and a Lamont Poetry Prize Selection), Black Shawl (1998 LSU Press) and Catching Light (2002 LSU Press and winner of the Southeastern Booksellers Book of the Year Award in Poetry). Her poems and essays have appeared in Georgia Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, Hudson Review, Carolina Quarterly and The Boston Globe. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the N.C. Arts Council. Her short story, Hook, was recently selected by novelist Charles Frazier as one of two Honorable Mentions in Now and Then Journal’s fiction contest. In 2001, Byer received the 2001 N.C. Award for Literature. She is the former poet-in-residence at Western Carolina University (1990-98).
“During my public reading, I will read something from all four of my books to help the audience get a sense of where I’m coming from,” said Byer. “I’d like for the audience to come away with real excitement over what language can do, and for them to feel a connection with my poems and with me as a writer.”
Attendees of Byer’s reading can anticipate her sharing her enthusiasm for the collective contributions that culminate in a writer’s work. “No writer writes alone,” she said. “At each reading I always read some work by other writers I admire and learn from. I’d like for the audience to realize that we are all connected through our memories, our imaginations, and the richness of the English language. We inhabit a well populated world of the imagination, whether we are writers or not. Artists just help put us in touch with what’s already there.”
Each January, a distinguished visiting writer joins the Converse English department faculty as the Sara Lura Mathews Self Distinguished Writer-in-Residence. The visiting writer teaches Advanced Tutorial in Creative Writing, a course that combines weekly one-on-one tutorials with a series of masterclass workshops for Converse students.