Sound the alarm: The “poetry community” is rankled. That’s right. Rankled.

crying babyThe testosterone-deprived newsroom at McClatchy Central in Raleigh is up in arms.  Gov. Pat picked a new poet laureate and did not bother to consult with them or any of their artsy-fartsy Prius driving, latté-sipping, patchouli-munching comrades:

 Poet laureate is a coveted position in North Carolina’s literary world. Fred Chappell and Sam Ragan are among the nationally known previous laureates, while outgoing Laureate Joseph Bathanti has published a dozen books and won major awards, including the Carolina Novel Award and the Sam Ragan Fine Arts Award.

Bathanti’s two-year term is up, and a new poet laureate was announced Friday: Valerie Macon of Fuquay-Varina, a state employee whose publication résumé consists of two self-published poetry collections. Given the stature of the poet laureate position, the thinness of the largely unknown Macon’s poetry output and the fact that Gov. Pat McCrory made his selection with no input from the North Carolina Arts Council – which oversaw nominating and vetting in previous years – North Carolina’s poetry community reacted to her appointment with swift vehemence.

Kathryn Stripling Byer, who was poet laureate from 2005 to 2009, called McCrory’s handling of it “a slap in the face” even as she pledged to help Macon with her new position.

“While the governor is not bound by law to consult with the Arts Council, it’s supposed to be an open, transparent, democratic process,” said Byer. “It does very much seem to us that he either didn’t know what he was supposed to do, or he just didn’t give a damn, frankly.” […]

Neither do we, sweetheart.   Anybody who raises the hackles of this particular crowd wins brownie points from us.

What is going on?  Pat won’t talk to Senator Berger.  He will talk to June Atkinson and Thom Tillis. Now, we hear he won’t talk to the,um, “poetry community.”  *How insensitive.*

Apparently, the holder of this laureate gig gets their grimy mitts on some government money.  So, in this era of tight budgets, one has to ask:  Why in the hell has it not been cut? 

Who — outside of the Carrboro drum circles or faculty lounges in Chapel Hill — would even miss the poet laureate?

9 thoughts on “Sound the alarm: The “poetry community” is rankled. That’s right. Rankled.

  1. Picking a poet laureate in secret is akin to the Watergate scandal. This will be the end of the GOP in North Carolina. What is a poet laureate anyway?

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Rielle who?

  2. My submitted works never even got considered. I guess limericks are not as cool as they used to be.

    There once was Thilli$ the speaker
    Tyrannic and cocky, not meeker.
    Influenced by the most;
    And in forum’s a ghost.
    With Hagan and Haugh, it’s a squeaker.

    Berger, Thilli$ and McCrory
    The each get to spin their story.
    Trying to smell like roses
    While us constituents hold our noses
    But they’ve all been blessed by ‘the Pope’

    A lapdog, or maybe a cur
    The boy wonder Justin Burr
    Campaign funds he loots
    For some Brooks Brothers suits
    On that we can all concur.

    Tholl roads and amnesty, oh my!
    Seems they want to stick it in our eye.
    ALEC and Rove…you guessed it..
    They’ve already gone and finessed it.
    We don’t own our state…say goodbye.

  3. My dear mother sometimes told me my shirt was rankled. And then she would iron it for me.

  4. Is a “poet laureate” a “provost” that talks in rhyme? Does the NC Teapot Museum have its own “poet in residence” ?

    Will “rankled poets” now be joining BullyBarber’s Monday Hoot ‘n Hates? Will their signs be misspelled too?

    1. “Does the NC Teapot Museum have its own “poet in residence” ?”

      I read that question, and now I’m having a hard time letting go of the mental image of them having James Earl Jones recite “I’m a Little Teapot” blaring over the loudspeakers in that museum.

      (That goes on the “things I would do if I ran a teapot museum” list) 🙂

  5. If the people of North Carolina feel it’s important to have someone named “poet laurate” periodically, or even think it’s important to have a “North Carolina Arts Council” at all, they should be entirely free to do so, and to donate as much time and money as they want.

    But why in the world is this considered a necessary function of government?

    I’d be much happier if this, and that entire department, was something the state government of North Carolina had zero responsibility for entirely.

  6. Once upon a summers night dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint TCM pirate lore,
    Suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my modest castle door.
    Toward the clock, I did look, and with a low growl, my head I shook, while grasping the lever of my trusty, crusty recliner, thought, this is my home, not a truck stop diner.
    I opened the door, six inches, no more, to peer a my unwanted guest.
    To my shock , and dismay, a bad end to a long day, discovered the intrusion was Pat.
    The door should have slammed, but no, my pirate movie be damned, there he stood on my unwelcome mat.
    “Poet Laureate?”, was all that he said, with that unnerving, boyish grin.
    My eye did twitch, as I muttered softly, but rich, ” Go thou to sit,,, and thoroughly spin.”
    Then in a cold, clear voice, with much unrest, “Name Dr Seuss, or Mother Goose, or whom ever Thom thinks is best!”
    “Ask me of taxes, immigration, health care, education. Could you at least still act like a conservative government gets the high score?”
    Quoth the Governor, “Nevermore.”

  7. Speaking of the artistic crowd drinking their wine coolers and speaking in the Southern drawl:

    Whatever happened to the museum exchanges that Gov. and Mrs. Easley went to Europe to arrange? I think their trip during the dying days of his administration was called the “Cheeseburger in Paradise Tour.”

    As I recall the couple rented a Mercedes limo to the tune of some $17,000. And when questioned about the expense of the trip Gov. Easlely responded that “A cheeseburger and onion rings costs $60.00 over there.”

    I think they were setting up things so that the Hermitage would send us some Russian art or either a poet laureate.

    I think we should appoint Jesse Jackson as the poet because he talks in such pretty rhymes. Rev. Barber has a way to go with his rhymes but his talking in riddles is getting him there.

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