Humanities Council Trustee Joseph Bathanti Named NC Poet Laureate

Humanities Council Trustee Joseph Bathanti Named NC Poet Laureate

via NC Arts Council - Award winning poet, professor and advocate for literacy, Joseph Bathanti, of Vilas, has been named North Carolina’s Poet Laureate by Governor Bev Perdue.

“Joseph Bathanti is an award-winning poet and novelist with a robust commitment to social causes. He first came to North Carolina to work in the VISTA program and has taught writing workshops in prisons for 35 years,” Perdue said. “As North Carolina’s new Poet Laureate he plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry — a valuable and generous project.”

North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate, Bathanti serves as the ambassador of North Carolina literature, past and present. He succeeds Cathy Smith Bowers, the state’s poet laureate from 2010 to June 30, 2012. Bathanti will be installed as N.C. Poet Laureate in a ceremony at the North Carolina State Capitol, One Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh, Thursday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public.

“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 A. Carlisle. “His appointment as Poet Laureate is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”

Bathanti is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University where he is also Director of Writing in the Field and Writer-in-Residence in the University’s Watauga Global Community. He has 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 says. “There is no place richer in literature and no place that has celebrated writers in quite the same way as our state does.”

For videos, samples of Bathanti’s poetry and more information, please visit