Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Poetry Council of North Carolina, January 15, 2009

In 1949 the Poetry Council of North Carolina was established in Asheville, NC, by four friends from that part of the state. The Council was devoted to essentially three purposes listed in its mission statement. The primary mission was “to foster a deeper appreciation and love of poetry among the people of NC.” Supporting that were two other purposes: “to carry on Poetry Day activities” and “to establish a Poetry Shrine.”
The Poetry Shrine mentioned in that mission statement was begun with a donation of 150 volumes of poetry, and since 1997 has also included copies of all entries in the organization’s annual book competition and copies of the annual awards anthology, first published in 1952. That shrine has been housed since its inception at Catawba College in Salisbury.
Poetry Day was designated by Governor William Kerr Scott to be October 15 in 1950. Since that time, the Council has conducted an annual Poetry Day Celebration in early October on the campus of Catawba College.
The primary activity of the Council has been the coordination of a series of annual poetry competitions, and the entry period for those competitions has arrived yet again. Between January 15 and May 15, residents of NC are invited to submit their poetry to whichever of the seven PCNC competitions best suits their work. Competitions are offered for the best book of poems and for the best individual poem in the following categories: traditional form poetry, light verse, free verse, free verse on the theme of family heritage. Two additional competitions are for elementary and middle school students, and high school and undergraduate students.
Prizes for competition winners range from $25 to $100. All winning poets, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers as well as up to three honorable mentions in each category, are published in the Council’s annual awards anthology called Bay Leaves. Winning poets are also invited to read their work at the Poetry Day Celebration, which this year will be October 10 at Catawba College.
Supporting the Poetry Council of North Carolina, attending the Poetry Day Celebration, and entering the PCNC poetry competitions are all wonderful ways to get involved in the world of poetry in NC. For more information on the Council or any of its activities, including complete guidelines for the competitions, visit the Council’s website at www.oldmp.com/poetrycouncilofnc.com.

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