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By Jack Niven

By Jack Niven

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Prestigious Poets of The Dead Mule
What with the controversial appointment of the hapless V. Macon to the post of poet laureate in NC and her subsequent resignation from said post, let the Mule ring out with some damn fine poetry from southern poet laureates who graced the Mule’s poetry page.
And a salute to Helen Losse, who brought those poets to us.

North Carolina’s own:
Joseph Bathanti, Cathy Smith Bowers
and Kathryn Stripling Byer.
Virginia’s 2006-2008 poet laureate:
Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda 

Introductions all around, let us start first with:
Joseph Bathanti

From our Mule issue of April 2013:

“…He was installed as the seventh North Carolina Poet Laureate on September 20, 2012, at a ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina. During his two-year term, he will be an “Ambassador of N.C. Literature” and will remain free to create his own long-term projects. The position requires the laureate to participate in various literary activities across the state, working with “with schools, community groups, and the press.” We see the two extraordinary poems here in the Dead Mule as an extension of his poetic mandate.”

Statement from the Dead Mule’s Editors:

Every year, in April, the Dead Mule publishes the poet laureate of a Southern state as the centerpiece of its Poetry Issue. Helen Losse established this tradition early in her career as Poetry Editor here a the Mule. In past years, we have featured such esteemed poets as: Kathryn Stripling Byer, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Marjory Wentworth, Claudia Emerson, Sue Brannon Walker, and Cathy Smith Bowers.

This year we are fortunate to have two unique and wonderful poems from Joseph Bathanti, the Poet Laureate of North Carolina 2012-2014. He was appointed by Gov. Bev Purdue.

Cathy Smith Bowers

From the April 2012 issue of the Dead Mule:
Each April the Dead Mule publishes a Poet Laureate of a Southern State at the top its list of fine poets. This year’s honor goes to Cathy Smith Bowers, Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Born in South Carolina and Southern to the core, Cathy is the sixth in the Dead Mule’s April Poet Laureate Series.

So help me welcome Cathy to our Dead Mule’s Big Ol’ Southern Family.


 Kathryn Stripling Byer

From the April 2007 issue of the Dead Mule:
Kathryn Stripling Byer has not forgotten her southern roots. True, she is the current North Carolina Poet Laureate. True, she has received accolades and praise. True, she is very, very busy. But when the Mule contacted her, asking for poems. she promptly said, “yes,” because she is as southern and polite as we are.

These poems come from Byer’s new manuscript, more mountain women’s voices.


Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born in Farmville, Virginia, and raised in Richmond and the mountains of southwestern Virginia, I’m a lifelong southerner. As a child, I frequently visited the tobacco farm, where my mother was raised. My siblings, cousins, and I would head to the barn to fetch the mules for a saunter along the dirt paths that straddled the tobacco curing sheds. I cared little if the mules sweated buckets and soiled my blue jeans. My rural background spent wallowing in mud piles and chasing chickens around the henhouse prepared me to accept the earthy side of country living, including the swarming flies that swirled around my neck during visits to the outhouse. Often my writing pays homage to my humble roots and to Virginia’s terrain. Most recently, I’ve written a book about the natural beauty and the environmental challenges facing the Chesapeake Bay region of eastern Virginia, where my husband and I currently live on a cove.

and again in April 2008:

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda was appointed Poet Laureate, 2006-2008, for the Commonwealth of Virginia by Governor Timothy M. Kaine. She is the author of several books and anthologies. Her poems have appeared throughout the United States and abroad in numerous publications. Her many poetry honors include three Pushcart Prize nominations. She has been named a Virginia Cultural Laureate for her contributions to American Literature. And yet, when the Mule asked her for poems, she replied by saying, “How kind of you to write to request a poetry submission.” The last three poems are from Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda’s newly released book, River Country.

Please welcome our newest Poet Laureate Mule Poet, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda.

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