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Friends of the Carlyle Campbell Library: Spring 2014 Dinner

Annual Membership Meeting

Poetry Panel featuring NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti with Al Maginnes and Debra Kaufman

Friends of the Library Spring Dinner and Annual Membership Meeting

Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 6:30pm Belk Dining Hall


 Space is limited.

Join us for a wonderful evening of poetry and conversations about poetry as Bathanti, Maginnes and Kaufman include us in a conversation about their work.



Debra Kaufman

Debra Kaufman

Poet and playwright Debra Kaufman is the author of two full-length collections—A Certain Light and The Next Moment—and three poetry chapbooks—Family of StrangersStill Life Burning (winner of the 1996 Kinloch Rivers Chapbook Competition), and Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and literary magazines, including Virginia Quarterly Review,North Carolina Literary Review, Spoon River Quarterly, and the Greensboro Review. She received a playwriting scholarship from the North Carolina Arts Council and a Central Piedmont Regional Artists Hub Program grant. The mother of two sons, she worked at Duke University for over twenty years and currently teaches writing workshops to people of all ages. Her short and full-length plays have been performed throughout North Carolina and elsewhere.



The sun had not risen

when I slipped into the kitchen


and saw my father at the sink,

where he never stood.


He did not order me back to bed,

but turned and tenderly


showed me the gold

he’d reeled in himself.


Their scales glittered like fairy wings.

He called them sunnies,


his voice a low rumble

like the night train that slowed


as it passed through town.

He too was always leaving.


He smelled of the lake and coffee,

happy and sad together.


The dome light shone on the cold linoleum

and a sifting sort of lavender


air made me shiver. A wren

chittered in the weeping cherry.


I stepped my bare feet onto his huge brown shoe

and balanced there.


Joseph Bathanti

Joseph Bathanti

Joseph Bathanti is Poet Laureate of North Carolina. He is the author of eight books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal, nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award; Land of Amnesia; Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year; Sonnets of the Cross; and Concertina. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His latest novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. His new book of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is forthcoming from Mercer University Press in 2014. A new novel, The Life of the World to Come, is forthcoming from University of South Carolina Press in 2014. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

Domenico Giusseppe
Joseph Bathanti

Singled from the queue filing 
through airport security,
my 90 year old father is fully cooperative, 
even amiable; not even surprised, it seems,

that fate has tapped him on the shoulder 
to answer for something he is innocent of.
Two uniformed buxom matrons,
coiled hair and black patent leather

Sam Browns, heart-shaped 
silver badges, ask him
if he’s accepted anything from strangers
since he’s entered the terminal.

He assures them he never accepts things from strangers.
They study him as if his affability
is part of the ploy, a filament 
wired to the bomb he’ll trigger.

They prod over him an electric wand,
slip him out of his overcoat, shake his cane. 
He smiles and calls them young lady.
He’s ordered to remove his shoes,

a pair of white Addidas,
not a scuff upon them; and his hat,
an old brown fedora they flip over
and over and empty of its nothingness,

before patting him down like a convict,
armpits and crotch, sliding 
their hands up and down his arms and legs,
each skeletal ridge and knob

as if by magic he might divide
and reveal the vault of Armageddon.
Suddenly my father is terrible as Isaiah.
Yet he remains smiling, even as they strip him,

tottering naked on bare yellow feet, 
white hair smoking off his chest,
millwright’s legs tungsten blue,
from him emanating an audible tick.
Then they peel him out of his skin,
jackknife him open: 
sprung, mis-spliced wires, 
capped sockets, taped frays –

the mysterious circuitry of detonation.
Still they don’t find what they’re searching for,
and he can’t remember

where he’s hidden it.

Read more!

Take a look at these books from our poets.

Al Maginnes

Al Maginnes

Al Maginnes is the author of five full length collections of poetry, most recently Inventing Constellations (Cherry Grove Edition, 2012) and Ghost Alphabet (White Pine Press, 2008), winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize as well as four chapbooks of poems. His poems appear widely in a number of national and regional journals including Poetry, Georgia Review, Southern Review, and Tar River Poetry, among many others. A former recipient of an Individual Artist’s Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and teaches composition, literature and creative writing at Wake Technical Community College. 

Cutting Grass on Easter Morning


Here is the season’s certain resurrection.

So I crank the mower loud enough to drown


any church bells, pull my cap brim low

so I won’t see what is not in my path


and push through what shines before me,

lush and bent with last night’s rain.


Last week a tornado hit a mile from here,

ripped power lines loose, pushed through houses and stores,


left us without electricity but untouched, filled

with the slow-breathing gratitude of those


who suddenly know exactly what things

they are grateful for. It is one requirement


of faith that we find ways to love

what we are given. Sometimes we need


the chaos of wind and lightning to remind us.

Today, and for a while, we will need less.


Even this task arrives as a blessing.

In a few hours I’ll kneel in the rich cuttings,


in the air of what is ripe and broken,

to hide eggs from the kids coming to find them,


then rise, palms and knees stained green

by grass that is already growing again.