Overview & Goals
The goal of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) is to support the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society (NCPS), that being to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state, with the following priorities:
- Increase outreach across the state
- Involve students new to the NCPS
- Provide expert guidance to promising student poets
- Increase skills of poets, both student and adult
- Develop new venues for student poets and experienced poets to read together
- Provide opportunities for student poets to read at local venues such as their local libraries
- Develop mentoring relationships between student poets and experienced poets
Three Distinguished Poets, one each from the east, central, and west of North Carolina, will mentor a middle-school, a high-school, and a college or university student within the respective regions (as defined, by counties, on the list at the end of these guidelines). Home-school students will be eligible to participate. Within these regions, each Distinguished Poet will present one reading with his or her students. Each Student Poet will present one local reading of his or her own work in his or her local library, and the Distinguished Poet may attend these readings, as feasible. When possible, the North Carolina Center for the Book will provide funding for Distinguished Poets to read at local libraries, if they choose to participate in the Student Poets’ local readings.
Distinguished Poets may also be invited to read at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, in Southern Pines, NC, as part of the Sam Ragan Writing Series on a Sunday afternoon. Funding for this reading may come through the Weymouth Center. If the coordinators of the Weymouth Series desire such an event, they will be responsible for contacting the poets and arranging the event.
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. The GCDPS plans evolved from that correspondence and earlier discussions by Board members.