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2018

NORTH CAROLINA L I T E R A R Y RE V I E W

IN MEMORIAM excerpted from tributes at the North Carolina Writers Conference Rocky Mount, 29 July 2017

Joseph Bathanti remembers PHOTOGRAPH BY SYLVIA FREEMAN

Kathryn Stripling Byer Elegant and eloquent, fierce in her unswerving devotion to poetry as the heart and soul of the people – especially those cast aside, marginalized, and ignored – Kay Byer was a great teacher and humanist, grand friend, North Carolina’s fire-breathing first woman Poet Laureate. She was simply one of our state’s spectacular and loyal citizens. She brought to bear, in the big and little places all across North Carolina, and beyond, her social conscience and generous spirit. She saw and heard and loved everyone. It was impossible not to love her in return. We should pause as long as we need to in the profound, seemingly insurmountable, loss we feel today and in the days to come and remember Kay, remember her poems – that will live on – and read them to one another. What I think Kay would tell us – what she’s been telling us all along, what she’ll continue to tell us – is to then get back to the business of writing and championing poetry, to continue her tireless advocacy and the conversations about poetry in the service of love, reconciliation, and shared humanity she instigated. This is ultimately what we owe her and her memory. n n n

KATHRYN STRIPLING BYER (November 25, 1944–June 5, 2017) By Shelby Stephenson

ABOVE Kathryn Stripling Byer, at Flyleaf

Books, Chapel Hill, 11 Aug. 2016

Though you cannot lift the burden of the Camilla Massacre of September 19, 1869, you know your home’s

gloriously sky-high over Camilla, Freedom’s house-servants salvaging scraggly Love: mourning doves coo for threads

near Hope, the color line opening and closing syllables against what we do to one another.

fingers thimble in calloused bobbing motions for home toward hearts shaped Good. Sorrowing tenses loosen

Considering Camilla’s population – about two-thirds African-American, a third Caucasian, with Native American,

Love for child’s play, hoping more Good will eclipse Bad the mirror gives back: we want to walk together,

Asian, Hispanic, Latino – play again, please, Wildwood Flower, as if Mother Maybelle picks her f-hole guitar, melodies

holding hands all the way.

Read biographical notes on JOSEPH BATHANTI and BARBARA PRESNELL within reviews of their latest books in this section of the issue.

North Carolina Poet Laureate SHELBY STEPHENSON’s many honors include the North Carolina Award for Literature and induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry. His poet laureate projects include conducting writing workshops in retirement and assisted living communities.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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