White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame




Michael Gaspeny

GREENSBORO, NC–Michael Gaspeny, the winner of the 2012 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, was as a college freshman inspired by Jarrell himself.

“At Randolph-Macon in 1961, I was prepared to stay awake long enough to respond to my name on the roll when my teacher brought a guest to class, Randall Jarrell. We had to be told who he was. He read Frost's poem ‘The Witch of Coos’ and spoke about its glories with such eloquence that the louts in that class were stunned by his brilliance,” Gaspeny said. “So this award has a special shine for me, and maybe a little redemption.”

Gaspeny’s poem “Shore Drive” was picked by judge Maria Hummel out of more than 100 entries. “It's hard to say what I liked more about this poem: the surprising and tender characterizations of speaker and subject or its gorgeous, slant-rhyming musicality,” Hummel wrote. “I also admire how the poem's syntax moved from complexity to a painful, candid simplicity, and the end sent me back to the beginning to appreciate it all over again.”

Gaspeny will receive a $200 prize from the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the contest’s sponsor, and his winning poem will be considered for publication in the literary journal The Crucible. Gaspeny is a poet and fiction writer living in Greensboro. His work has appeared in Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature, Cave Wall, and Main Street Rag. He won the O. Henry Festival Short Story competition in 1998. For many years, he reviewed books for the Greensboro News & Record. A former reporter and retired High Point University professor, Gaspeny has also received the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteer Excellence for his work with hospice. He’s married to the novelist and essayist Lee Zacharias; they have two sons, Al and Max.

Hummel also named “My Kitchen” by Sandra Ann Winters and “Then Wear the Gold Hat If That Will Move Her” by Dannye Romine Powell as runners-up.

Maria HummelCurrently teaching at Stanford University, Hummel is the author of the novel Wilderness Run (St. Martin's) and the chapbook City of the Moon (Harperprints). Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Poetry, The Missouri Review, New England Review, Narrative, and Creative Nonfiction. Her awards include the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award (2009), runner-up for The Iowa Review Creative Nonfiction Prize (2010), and a Pushcart Prize (2011). This year, she is coordinating and teaching in the Creative Nonfiction program at Stanford University.

This year’s preliminary judge was David Bruzina, whose poems have appeared in a number of literary journals and magazines including storySouth, The Greensboro Review, and Waccamaw. He received his Ph.D in creative writing from Ohio University and teaches reading, writing, and rhetoric at the University of South Carolina - Aiken.

The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition honors the work and legacy of the poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who taught at what is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for nearly eighteen years. The competition is administered by Terry L. Kennedy and the graduate program in creative writing at UNCG, and is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Visit for more information on this and other contests.


Kathryn Stripling ByerSOUTHERN PINES – Bestselling poet and memoirist Maya Angelou, former state Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer (right), and 18th-Century explorer and naturalist John Lawson will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame this fall.

The induction ceremony will be 2:00 pm, Sunday, October 14, at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines, where the NCLHOF is housed. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

In addition to the three new inductees, the NCLHOF has launched a new website,, with expanded multimedia resources on the fifty North Carolina writers currently enshrined.

Maya Angelou is the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, whose faculty she joined in 1982. A celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist, Angelou is perhaps best known for her 1970 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration, and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Lincoln Medal, three Grammy Awards, and more than thirty honorary degrees.

Dr. Edwin G. Wilson, Provost Emeritus at Wake Forest University, will present Angelou for induction, and accept the induction on her behalf. Poet Jaki Shelton Green, the Triangle’s first Piedmont Laureate, will read Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” in her honor.

Kathryn Stripling Byer served as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate—the first woman to serve in that role—from 2005 to 2009. She has published six books of poetry, with a seventh due from the Louisiana State University Press this fall, and taught for many years at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Byer and her work have won the AWP Award, the Roanoke-Chowan Award, the Brockman-Campbell Award, the SIBA Book of the Year Award in poetry, fellowships from the National Endowment for Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Hanes Award in Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Sally Buckner—herself a noted poet, editor, and advocate for North Carolina literature—will present Byer for induction. Bestselling novelist and fellow NCLHOF inductee Lee Smith will read Byer’s poem “Mountain Time.”

John Lawson Captured by IndiansJohn Lawson came to the Carolina colony in 1700, appointed by the Lords Proprietors to survey the colony’s interior. Setting out from Charleston on December 28, Lawson covered about 550 miles in fifty-nine days, ending his journey near Bath on the Pamlico River. His observations on the topography, flora and fauna, and native peoples were published in England in 1709 with the title A New Voyage to Carolina, considered “the first significant effort to describe the natural history and the natives” of North Carolina and North America, and “a classic of early American literature.” Lawson was also one of the founders of New Bern, and was the first casualty of the 1711 Tuscarora War.

Lawson will be presented for induction by noted nature writer Phillip Manning. Danny Bell, the Program Coordinator for the curriculum in American Indian Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, will read an excerpt from A New Voyage to Carolina. Kay Williams, the executive director of Tryon Palace in New Bern, will accept the induction on Lawson’s behalf.

The NCLHOF was founded in 1996, under the leadership of poet laureate Sam Ragan, and is a program of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Since 2008, the Network and the Weymouth Center collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill to produce the induction ceremony and to promote the NCLHOF and North Carolina’s literary heritage.


Hats Off! to LC Fiore and Liza Wieland, who were both finalists in the 2011 Balcones Fiction Prize: Fiore for his debut novel, Green Gospel, and Wieland for her collection of stories, Quickening.


Hats Off! to Glenda Beall whose poem, "One Flaw", was published in the most-recent issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review.


Hats Off! to Valerie Nieman and LC Fiore. Nieman and her novel, Blood Clay, won the General Fiction category of the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, while Fiore's debut, Green Gospel, was named First Runner-Up. Nieman was also short-listed for the Montaigne Medal, while Fiore was short-listed for the First Horizon Award.


Hats Off! to Lisa Williams Kline, whose new book, Summer of the Wolves, received the following favorable review from Kirkus:

"Blended families that resist blending are a middle-grade–fiction staple, but this funny, gentle and compassionate story feels fresh, thanks to appealing, closely observed characters, both major and minor, and a compelling setting.

"In alternating chapters, Diana and Stephanie describe their eventful week at a rustic North Carolina resort where Diana’s mom and Stephanie’s dad have arranged their new family’s first vacation. Both girls are entering eighth grade, but Diana, having repeated third grade, is older. Burdened with an unspecified mood disorder, she’s a difficult kid—inattentive, impetuous, angry—bonding more deeply with animals, especially horses, than people. Pretty, timid Stephanie is smart and kind but anxious about horses and river rafting; Diana tries her patience and exacerbates her fears. Each—her self-confidence shaken by family breakup and reconfiguration—pushes the other’s buttons until, in a rare bonding moment, they set two captive wolves free. However, the fallout from their “good deed” will have unpredictable consequences on those around them, human and animal. Mitigating the damage will take individual soul searching and cooperation. While drawing from several well-known Cherokee tales, Kline avoids didacticism; the girls’ discoveries, flowing from their natures and experience, feel earned. Recognizing how much of life they can’t control is tough but liberating, freeing them to focus on what is within their power: their own responses. A fresh take on an old story."



Hats Off! to Sandra Ervin Adams, who had three winning poems in the 2012 Fields of Earth Poetry Contest sponsored by Writers' Ink Guild. "The Thread" won third place in the love category; "Sanctuary in the Park" won an honorable mention in the religious/inspirational category, and "Gone" received an honorable mention in the "open" category. Sandra also won third place in the literary/poetry division of the 2012 Onslow Senior Games for her poem, "Finding Yesterday," and third place in the literary/life experiences division for her story, "My Santa Claus Memories." In addition, she won first place for her visual-mixed media art work, titled "True Art," which included her poem, "True Art." Also, Sandra's poem, "Blue Bell Wood," appears in the 2012 Lyricist, published by Campbell University.


Hats Off! to Philip Gerard, whose collection of essays, The Patron Saint of Dreams , won the Gold Medal in Creative Nonfiction in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.


Hats Off! to Gregg Cusick, Ronald Jackson, and Kathryn Lovatt, whose stories were selected as Honorable Mentions in the 2012 Doris Betts Fiction Prize contest. To read nice things about each of the Honorable Mentions, click here.


Hats Off! to MariJo Moore, who was featured in the May-June issue of Southern Writers Magazine.


Hats Off! to NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern, who was featured in the May-June issue of Southern Writers Magazine.

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