Western North Carolina has long history as a mecca for the written word. From Thomas Wolfe to Wilma Dykeman, O. Henry to Charles Frazier, our mountains have been home to a diverse group of esteemed authors, many of them poets. Is it coincidence that the last three poets laureate of North Carolina — Fred Chappell, Kathryn Stripling Byer and Cathy Smith Bowers — are from the mountains? And we know there are more poets in these hills.
We are proud to announce the 2011 Mountain Xpress Poetry Prize! We are searching for quality poetry from you, our talented community of writers — from the established professional to the avid amateur.
The theme this year is “A Day in the Mountains.” Interpret that any way you choose! Be poetic about it! Be, as Walt Whitman wrote, “of ample hills”!
The format is quite simple. Submit two poems via our website. There is a small fee of $5, but few restrictions regarding style or form. So, as William Carlos Williams said, “get said what must be said.” But please say it originally: No translations, adaptations or other directly derivative work. And poets do need to reside in WNC, upstate South Carolina or Eastern Tennessee.
We will accept poems through March 17, 2011 and select ten poems based on originality, creativity and artistic quality. One poet from these 10 will be selected (by a committee of local poetry lovers) as the 2011 winner of the Mountain Xpress Poetry Prize! All ten poets will also receive a special prize from Mountain Xpress.
Mountain Xpress will publish the winning poems and feature their authors throughout the month of April. April is National Poetry Month and a perfect time to celebrate our homegrown talent. In addition to being published in Mountain Xpress, the winning poets will read their work on Friday, April 8 at a very special event here in Asheville. We have secured the Masonic Temple, a place rich in local history with perfect acoustics, for a “poetry show.” We will finish the evening with a mixed-media performance to close things in style! The winners of the Mountain Xpress Poetry Prize will also read at Asheville Wordfest, held in early May here in Asheville.
So select your best work — or better yet, write a new poem or two. Submit them by March 17 at www.mountainx.com/poetry2011 and see what happens. We are ready on our end and look forward to a celebration of poetry here in the mountains!