Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina has a new poet laureate.
Joseph Bathanti, an award-winning poet, professor and literacy advocate from Vilas, was given the honor Thursday by Gov. Bev Perdue. He is the state’s seventh poet laureate.
“Joseph Bathanti brings a deep appreciation of our state’s diverse communities, geographies and traditions to his new role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature,” said Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle. “His appointment as poet laureate is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”
Bathanti will be installed in a celebration Sept. 20 at the State Capitol. succeeds Cathy Smith Bowers, the state's poet laureate from 2010 to June 30, 2012.
He is a creative writing professor at Appalachian State University, has written numerous poetry collections, taught writing workshops in prisons for more than three decades and is former chair of the N.C. Writers’ Network Prison project.
“I can’t imagine a better place in the United States to be a writer than North Carolina,” Bathanti said. “There is no place richer in literature and no place that has celebrated writers in quite the same way as our state does.”