Watson Presents Program on McNeill
The Moore County Historical Association presents Dr. Mary Wayne Watson, who will speak on John Charles McNeill Sunday, April 6, at 2 p.m. at the Southern Pines Civic Center.
As the great-niece of McNeill, Watson will present "Poet Laureate's Home Songs."
A member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, McNeill was the author of several books including "Lyrics from Cotton Land," "Possums and Persimmons," "The Pocket John Charles McNeill,"and "Songs Merry and Sad." His poetry features the landscapes of the Sandhills, particularly Scotland, Richmond, Moore, Hoke, Cumberland and Robeson counties.
A lawyer by training, McNeill was skilled in the oral tradition of storytelling in regional dialect as well as in the use of conventional poetic forms. Because of his enormous popularity as a poet, achieved largely because of his regular contributions to The Charlotte Observer, he was elected a state legislator, but his heart remained with his poetry.
His poetry still captures audiences today, partly because it is so accessible. The presentation by his great-niece, who also grew up in Scotland County, places his work in a historical context and includes readings and songs from his poetry.
Watson received her doctorate from the University of Virginia and her master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She created the John Charles McNeill seminar at the urging of a childhood neighbor in Wagram. Creating this presentation motivated Watson to look further into the landscape and traditions that were common to McNeill.
She has taught English at all levels of public education including middle and high school and at James Madison University and now at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount. She teaches composition, research writing, American and British literature and film.
For more information about the one-hour program, contact the Moore County Historical Association at 692-2051 or visit www.moorehistory.com
Admission is complimentary, but donations are gladly accepted, says a spokesman.
The Southern Pines Civic Club is located at 105 South Ashe Street at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue.
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