The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) congratulates the four emerging poets selected to be mentored by Distinguished Poet (DP) Pat Riviere-Seel in 2016-2017: high school junior Jade Shuler of Bryson City, Mountain Heritage High School senior Mary Coggins of Burnsville, and adult poets Benjamin Cutler of Jackson County and Cathy Larson Sky of Spruce Pine.
The series, a free program of the North Carolina Poetry Society, pairs an established North Carolina poet with four emerging writers who wish to develop their work: one from middle grades, one from high school, one from college, and one graduate student or non-student adult. From December through May, the students and the DP correspond or meet to discuss and work on about a dozen of each student’s poems. The series includes a GCDPS reading at Western Carolina’s annual Literary Festival in April and the opportunity to set up joint readings of the student poets and the DP at the students’ home libraries.
Pat Riviere-Seel is the author of two chapbooks: No Turning Back Now (2004) and The Serial Killer’s Daughter (2009). Her most recent poetry collection, Nothing Below but Air (2014), was a semifinalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. The Serial Killer’s Daughter won the Roanoke-Chowan Award and has been staged by several theatrical groups. Pat has taught in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, has been poet-in-residence at the NC Zoo, co-edits the anthology Kakalak, and has worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and lobbyist. She lives in Asheville, NC.
The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. The GCDPS originated when the NCPS Board voted in 2003 to follow the advice of Fred Chappell, then North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. He had written and advised the NCPS president about various approaches to take in furthering the NCPS mission of encouraging the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry. Prior Distinguished Poets have included Mary Adams, Joseph Bathanti, and Brent Martin.