Friday, July 23, 2010


If MVP meant “Most Valuable Poet” and some organization deemed to present such a prize, Glenda Beall would be my nominee for the inaugural award.

In the world of NC poetry, there is no doubt that central NC--Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham--is the hub of activity. We keep things going pretty well in the Hickory area, but relative to the critical mass of poetic endeavors in the Triangle, Hickory might rightfully be considered “the provinces.” And if Hickory is considered the provinces, then what might one call Hayesville, where Beall has lived for 15 years?

And yet, thanks in large part to Beall’s unwavering commitment to poets and poetry, the Hayesville area is home to one of the most vibrant poetry communities in the state. Beall has long been a leader in the organization NCWN West, more commonly Netwest, which facilitates networking, publishing and learning opportunities, and communication among the writers of NC’s far western counties. She has served as Program Coordinator, Website Administrator, and Publicity Chair. In those capacities, she has helped dozens of western NC writers find publishers, audiences, and the support of other writers.

Beall, however, hasn’t stop there. To give area poets an opportunity to share their work and gain exposure to writers from outside the area, she also founded a reading and discussion series, called Coffee with the Poets, held monthly at Phillips & Lloyd Bookstore in Hayesville, and has contributed to the founding of two other reading series in the area as well. And having concluded a career of public and private school instruction, she continues to teach writing at the John C. Campbell Folk School and Tri-County Community College.

She has carried on this service to writers while also pursuing her own writing career, resulting in the publication of poems, stories, essays, and articles in a wide array of journals and anthologies, and culminating last year in her poetry collection Now Might As Well Be Then.

On August 10, Beall will give a reading of her work at Poetry Hickory, 6:30 at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory. Here is a sample poem from her recent collection.

Miracle of Love
for Barry

You brought me spring in winter.
The cold melted away, as jonquils
bloomed and tilted delicate edges
toward the sky.

You brought me youth when I was old,
you found my childhood self.
You touched me with your tenderness,
a touch of love so deep my spirit wept.

You brought me sunbeams in the storm.
When dark clouds formed above me,
you opened bright blue mirrors overhead
for sun to shine down on me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Campbell and Owens Collaborate on New Collection of Poetry

Reprinted from "Outlook" Newspaper (Observer News Enterprise, Newton, NC)


“I never imagined writing a series of poems with someone else would be so easy,” says Hickory poet Scott Owens when asked about the process he went through with Florida poet Pris Campbell in creating their new collection of poems, The Nature of Attraction, due out from Main Street Rag on July 26.

“Poets tend to be rather hard-headed about their work, but Pris and I never really struggled with ego. I think we both became so interested in the developing story of our two characters, that we let go of all preconceptions of how things ought to be and just kept responding to one poem with another one. Before we knew it we had almost 30 poems, half of which she had written, half of which I had written, one of which we had written together, all of which we had revised together, and all of which combined to tell an interesting and coherent story. I think we both felt extremely lucky.”

Owens has become a fixture in the Catawba County and NC world of poetry. Three years ago he founded the monthly reading series Poetry Hickory and began editing the online journal Wild Goose Poetry Review. Two years ago he began writing a regular column on poetry for Outlook. Since that time, he has published 4 new collections of poetry -- this will be his sixth in all -- and more than 400 poems in journals and anthologies across the country. He has also given over 100 public readings of his work and become Vice President of the Poetry Council of North Carolina and Regional Representative of the NC Writers’ Network.

Campbell does virtually all of her work in poetry from her home in Florida, where she is frequently homebound due to her contraction of CFIDS in 1990, prior to which she had been a clinical psychologist. This will be her fifth collection of poetry. Both writers have been nominated for 3 Pushcart Prizes and received a number of other awards for their work.

“The story,” Owens says, “is a love story that begins in unrevealed tragedy and ends in revelation and further tragedy, at least it seems tragic to me.”

The Nature of Attraction will debut at a book release party from 5:30 to 7:00 on August 5 at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory. The event will include a reading of poems by Owens and the playing of a recording of Campbell reading selections of her own. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and personalization as well. Refreshments will be served. Prospective readers can learn more about the book and its authors by visiting