Martin Discusses Poetry With Stephenson
In 2008, the distinguished poet Allen Grossman selected Shelby Stephenson's "Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl" as the winner of the Bellday Poetry Prize.
Grossman called the Benson native's winning entry "an intense and heart-breaking poetic narrative which, in its exploration of historical and personal materials, holds affinities to the work of Susan Howe and to James Agee's classic 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.' 'Family Matters' is a strenuous questioning and exposure of the fictions of ownership, whether of persons or places, graves or farms."
In an all-new episode of UNC-TV's local literary series "North Carolina Bookwatch with D.G. Martin," premiering Sunday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m., Stephenson shares his latest collection of poems examining slaves, slave owners and slave owning in North Carolina.
Former Southern Pines resident Shelby Stephenson grew up on a small farm near Benson, in the coastal plain of North Carolina. After leaving the farm for college, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he has edited Pembroke Magazine since 1979. The state of North Carolina presented him with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature.
He has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award, North Carolina Writers' Network Chapbook Prize, Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award and the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Prize.
In addition to "Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl," he has published a poetic documentary, "Plankhouse" (with photographs by Roger Manley), "Middle Creek Poems," "Carolina Shout!", "Finch's Mash," "The Persimmon Tree Carol," "Poor People," "Greatest Hits," "Fiddledeedee" and "Possum."
With his wife, Linda, he has made three musical CDs: "Hank Williams Tribute," "Stephenson Brothers & Linda Sing the Old Songs" and "When Country Was Country." Shelby and Linda live on the farm where he was born.
For additional information about series guests and airdates, plus links to Bookwatch on Facebook, visit the Web site. www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.
Funding for North Carolina Bookwatch is provided by UNC-TV members and by Quail Ridge Books and Music, Raleigh's independent, full service bookstore, bringing readers and writers together since 1984.
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