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Flashbacks: Echoes of Past Issues

I don’t mean it to be of the cranky or rueful “I wish everything could return to the way it was” kind; these prose explorations, like my poems, are meant as appreciations, paying close attention to things that have mattered to me, savoring their details while exploring their larger design, and saving my versions of them even as they may change or fade or disappear altogether.

Throughout this collection, McFee reaches out to the reader as if to say, “Hey writer, especially, you, poet, I’ve been there, and I know the ups and downs. Ride the ups.” No doubt, the author of Appointed Rounds is a writer and teacher looking back on a long, rewarding career, knowing



that the years in the classroom are drawing to a close quickly – McFee says he has already purchased his last Riggs’ gradebook. It’s just as clear, though, he will continue to compose poems, put pen to paper, and help those on their way, if they ask. n

“As a reader, as a reviewer, as an editor, as a writer, and as a teacher of writers, I am mighty fortunate to have been born in this state at this time and then to have become part of that community of locally rooted and hardworking and fun having authors who revere the almighty written word. What more could a lyric poet ask.” —Michael McFee (1994), and This Is Where We Live: Short Stories by 25 Contemporary North Carolina Writers (2000). His honors include the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for Literary Achievement from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. McFee served as Poet in Residence at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, before returning to North Carolina in 1990 to teach in the Creative Writing Program at UNC Chapel Hill, where he is Professor of English and Comparative Literature. At UNC, he has taught the four levels of poetry writing – Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced, and Senior Honors, and seen students go on to graduate study at many of the finest MFA programs in the country. McFee has also been honored with a Bowman and

Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professorship, which recognizes College of Arts and Sciences faculty members for their distinguished undergraduate teaching; with the Women’s Leadership Council Faculty Mentoring Award, which recognizes outstanding faculty who go the extra mile to guide, mentor, and lead; and with the James M. Johnston Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as two Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Awards. McFee takes his expertise and knowledge beyond the classroom to North Carolinians. He was a long-time book reviewer for public radio station WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill and for national venues such as Monitor Radio in Boston. In addition to the airwaves, he wrote hundreds of book reviews and features for The Arts Journal in Asheville, a monthly publication, and The Spectator in Raleigh, a weekly magazine. For his work as a poet, teacher, essayist, critic, and champion of North Carolina’s literary culture, Michael McFee receives the 2018 North Carolina Award for Literature. n

“I think many of us are raised or taught that poetry is written in a kind of code that you have to have the secrets to unlock. It’s true that poetry has a mysterious quality to it, but it’s not a secret code. If you’re somebody who enjoys words, you can enjoy poetry.”—Michael McFee

Profile for East Carolina University

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2019  

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

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2019  

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