State News

Uproar: Self-published poet laureate in NC resigns

Posted July 17, 2014 7:22 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2014 8:09 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina's poet laureate is resigning amid criticism of the governor for choosing a writer with just two self-published books.

In a letter dated Thursday, Valerie Macon said she's resigning because she didn't want the negative attention her appointment has raised to distract from that prominent post.

She says she remains passionate about the mission of poetry to touch all people, regardless of their education or social status.

"I would like to encourage everyone to read and write poetry," Macon wrote. "They do not need a list of prestigious publishing credits or a collection of accolades from impressive organizations – just the joy of words and appreciation of self-expression."

When McCrory chose Macon last week, he bypassed the traditional selection process that involved the North Carolina Arts Council. That drew criticism from the state's established writers, including the four previous poets laureate.

McCrory accepted Macon's resignation Thursday.

"I’ve decided to regretfully accept Valerie Macon’s resignation, but I hope that she continues to share her talents with others," McCrory said in a statement. "I’m also disappointed by the way some in the poetry community have expressed such hostility and condescension toward an individual who has great passion for poetry and our state. As we continue to review our appointment process, we will ask for recommendations from the public and hope that those candidates represent talented poets from both traditional and non-traditional organizations."

Macon is a disability examiner for the state whose poems reflect her interest in helping the homeless.