NC Literary Hall of Fame



WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Peter Makuck, a two-time winner of the Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry by a North Carolinian, will lead the class "Object, List, and Place Poems" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Peter Makuck lives on Bogue Banks. In 2010, his Long Lens: New & Selected Poems was published by BOA Editions and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Southern Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Sewanee Review, and so on. His sixth collection of poems, Mandatory Evacuation, was published in October, 2016, as was his fourth collection of short stories, Wins and Losses (Syracuse University Press). He founded and edited Tar River Poetry from 1978 to 2006, when he retired from East Carolina University as Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Peter to tell us about his first publication.

"First publication is the kind of milestone you never forget," Peter said. "Back in graduate school at Kent State University, I was complaining about a stack of journal rejections to my new office mate. She asked me where my poems were under consideration. 'Nowhere,' I said. I’d kind of given up. How did I expect to get published, she asked, if my poems weren’t submitted anywhere? We both started laughing. Then she asked to see some of my work. I pulled a folder out of the desk drawer and gave it to her. Next day she said, 'I think these are six of your best, send them out.'

"Lewis Simpson, editor of The Southern Review, had recently been on campus to give a lecture on Southern writers. My doctoral dissertation, in progress, was on William Faulkner, so I decided to send Simpson the six suggested poems. One of them, a long narrative, was titled 'Dziadek'; it was about photography and my Polish grandfather. Maybe three weeks later, I received a very nice letter from Simpson accepting 'Dziadek' for The Southern Review. The envelope also contained a check for fifty bucks!

"Not only did I thank my office mate, Phyllis; I took her out to dinner, and we celebrated with a bottle of wine. Two years later we married, and she’s still my first reader/editor."

In "Object, List, and Place Poems," attendees will focus attention on list, place, and object poems, emphasizing overall the importance of imagery. Peter will distribute model poems by writers like Gary Soto, Ellen Bryant Voigt, James Wright, May Swenson, Richard Hugo, and others. These, registrants will look at closely for structure and technique. The goal is to have writers leave the workshop with a draft or the beginnings of a poem of their own. Time permitting, Peter will talk about the art of revision and the range of questions we should ask ourselves when we think a poem is ready to be submitted for publication.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction). New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit


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