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Kathryn Stripling Byer to Appear at Jackson Library on April 10 at 4 p.m.

When native Georgian Kathryn Stripling Byer came to UNCG to embark on her MFA in Creative Writing, she recalls being somewhat anxious in the presence of those who became her teachers, and her father was somewhat suspicious of his daughter going so far away. Byer is now a poet deeply rooted in North Carolina, having adopted the state as her home years ago.   On April 10 at 4 p.m. in the Hodges Reading Room on the second floor of Jackson Library, she will return to UNCG as one of the luminaries of American poetry to discuss and read from her new book Descent.  The event is free and open to the public.

Of UNCG, Byer said upon her recent induction into the NC Literary Hall of Fame, “I realized I was where I needed to be, surrounded by mentors like Robert Watson, Fred Chappell, and the venerable Allan Tate, not to mention the young writers who became my friends.  William Pitt Root, Bertha Harris, Patricia Peters, Lawrence Judson Reynolds, Kelly Cherry, to name a few.  I have never regretted my move to North Carolina. “

Byer was raised on a farm in Southwest Georgia, where the material for much of her first poetry originated, including the wonderful The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, which was published in the AWP Award Series in 1986, followed by the Lamont (now Laughlin) prize-winning Wildwood Flower, from LSU Press. Her subsequent collections have been published in the LSU Press Poetry Series.  She graduated from Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia, with a degree in English literature. Following graduation from UNCG’s MFA program, she worked at Western Carolina University, becoming Poet-in-Residence in 1990. Her poetry, prose, and fiction have appeared widely, including Hudson Review, Poetry, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Poetry Review. Often anthologized, her work has also been featured online, where she maintains the blogs "Here, Where I Am," and "The Mountain Woman." Her body of work was discussed along with that of Charles Wright, Robert Morgan, Fred Chappell, Jeff Daniel Marion, and Jim Wayne Miller in Six Poets from the Mountain South, by John Lang, published by LSU Press. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Award, and the Roanoke-Chowan Award. She served for five years as North Carolina's first woman poet laureate, succeeding Fred Chappell. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband and three dogs.


  1. Thank you so much for the invitation to come read at Jackson Library, and for the great blog post. Appreciative audience, good friends, good memories....what more could a poet ask? I'm glad I was able to read my recent poem for Bob Watson, whose presence during my 2 years at UNCG was invaluable in so many ways.

    1. It was our great pleasure to host your visit.


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