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Carrboro Poetry Festival

Here's a nice little write-up about the NC poetry scene by Ken Rumble. Although there is an inaccurate lumping of: Black Mountain poets, Randell Jarrell, UNC Greensboro's MFA program, Jargon Society. I think the rhetorical strategy of the piece is dead-on, but not sure about placing all these people and scenes together as part of the innovative tradition in NC? Especially since the innovative tradition (esp. Black Mountain) directly opposed the literary establishment of Randall Jarrell (Randall Jarrell says you're a poet etc.)

Although as a welcoming gesture for the festival the article does a good job and Ken does a great job of highlighting the various scenes within scenes and magazines (like Backwards City Review out of Greensboro).

Check it out:

Indy Weekly Article on Carrboro PoFest


Ken Rumble said…
Hey Marcus,

Thanks for the shout-out about the article. And right you are about the innacuracy of lumping BMC & UNCG together. I have to apologize to Tost when I see him about that too (I think I credited him with that quote?)

At any rate, honestly I lumped those together to be politic -- give some ink to an organization (UNCG) that has had a role in keeping NC on the poetic map for a little while. It was, though, a mistake to lump it all in as innovative. On second look dropping "innovative" and just going with poetry's history in NC would have been smarter.

Thinking of UNCG reminds me of Silliman's comment about BMC and that it could have happened anywhere and didn't really matter that it happened in NC. Fish's response to that I thought was smart and spot-on -- it may have happened anywhere, but it did happen here.

I don't think BMC's influence on NC is as minute as Silliman does, but I wonder if UNCG maybe suffers from the same condition: being in a place and not having much influence on the actual place. I suppose Fred Chappell as NC Poet Laureate for so long might be an obvious rejoinder, but I'm still a little suspicious.

I wonder what your take on UNCG's realtionship to the wider community is?

At any rate, you're right -- I did innaccurately lump some traditions together that don't really go together. Good call -- I'll still hold your hair while you puke in the sink this weekend.

Angie DeCola said…
Hey Marcus,

Sort of responding to Ken's question to you about UNCG's influence on the surrounding community, I think the limited influence the program might have has more to do with Greensboro than with the program itself. Greensboro's lack of a cultural center, the "gateway" nature of the place (things pass through, move away from here) makes it hard for anything (artistic, musical, literary) to impact the city's people. Writers from UNCG tend to come in from elsewhere and leave, go on to success in another locale. Meanwhile, Greensboro residents remain unaware of the area's writing-related history.

Maybe the fact that some UNCG graduates are sticking around for a while and have started a magazine (Backwards City) that seems to be quickly making a name for itself will help re-establish the idea that writing and Greensboro have a relationship with each other.

Just some thoughts.

postpran said…
Good point Angie. I do think Backwards City might change the relationship between UNCG's writing program and Greensboro.

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