Upcoming Event Benefits Weymouth
Who knows where the time goes?
It’s been 15 years since poet laureate, Pilot editor and arts advocate Sam Ragan died, but his many achievements live on, enhancing the lives of all North Carolinians.
On Friday, May 13, at 5 p.m. at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, Ragan’s friends and admirers will meet to remember the man who was the force behind the Weymouth Center and the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, which will be celebrating 15 years of recognizing writers who have made a significant contribution to N.C. literature.
The program will feature a short readers theater production composed of Ragan’s poetry and prose. Ragan’s daughter, Talmadge, an actress and playwright, will perform along with The Pilot’s current editor, Steve Bouser, poets Shelby Stephenson, Lois Holt, Marsha Warren and others.
The program is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the play.
For more than 50 years, Sam Ragan was a North Carolina icon. Born in Granville County in 1915, he graduated from Atlantic Christian College and worked as a reporter in Wilmington, where he mentored journalist David Brinkley.
He served as the first Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources and was one of the founders of the North Carolina School for the Arts. A former chairman of the North Carolina Arts Council and the Library Resources Committee, Ragan served on the faculties of N.C .State University, St. Andrews College and Sandhills Community College as a teacher of journalism and creative writing.
He was the recipient of the North Carolina Award. He lectured widely on freedom of the press, and he was the author of four award-winning collections of poetry and the editor of many poetry anthologies and several books of nonfiction, including “Free Press and Fair Trial.”
For 20 years, he was the executive editor of The News & Observer and was the owner of The Pilot for more than 25 years.
Poet Fred Chappell has called Ragan “one of the country’s most accomplished journal poets,” and much of his poetry was written in Moore County, as with this stanza from “Sandhills Summer”:
They say the sea was once here,
And sometimes at night
When the wind is rising
I can hear the sea’s surge
In the sound of the pines….
A chapbook of Ragan’s poems will be available at the reading.
The May 13 program will also celebrate the founding of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, which is located at the Weymouth Center.
The first induction was held on May 18, 1996, at the Weymouth Center and 15 inductees were recognized — James Boyd, Charles Chesnutt, Jonathan Daniels, Inglis Fletcher, Paul Green, Bernice Kelly Harris, O. Henry, George Moses Horton, Randall Jarrell, Gerald Johnson, Guy Owen, Thad Stem Jr., Richard Walser, Manly Wade Wellman and Thomas Wolfe.
Since the first induction more than 20 authors have been inducted into the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame, and in 2010 W.J. Cash, Allan Gurganus, Walter Morgan, William Hines Page and Samm Art-Williams were inducted.
The history of the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame is foremost a history of Sam Ragan, who was responsible for its founding.
It also celebrates the incredible literary legacy we have inherited from so many writers who have gone before.
The Literary Hall of Fame, located on the second floor of the Weymouth Center, will be open during the May 13 celebration.
Contact Stephen Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story