NC gov defends his self-published poet laureate - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

NC gov defends his self-published poet laureate

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Department of Cultural Resources). This photo provided by the Department of Cultural Resources shows Valerie Macon, North Carolina’s new state poet laureate. (AP Photo/Department of Cultural Resources). This photo provided by the Department of Cultural Resources shows Valerie Macon, North Carolina’s new state poet laureate.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Immigration debate roils politics in ... Maine?

    Immigration debate roils politics in ... Maine?

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:28:01 GMT
    The debate over immigration is quickly becoming a central issue in one of the nation's most closely watched governor's races - in Maine.
    In the whitest U.S. state, thousands of miles from the Mexican border, the debate over immigration is becoming a central issue in one of the nation's most closely watched governor's races.
  • New Hampshire man held on $1M in teen's kidnapping

    New Hampshire man held on $1M in teen's kidnapping

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:15 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:15:23 GMT
    A 34-year-old man charged with kidnapping a New Hampshire teen more than nine months ago is heading to court.
    A New Hampshire man charged with kidnapping a teenage girl nine months ago was ordered held on $1 million bail Tuesday as the girl watched from the front row of the courtroom.
  • US appeals panel strikes down Miss. abortion law

    US appeals panel strikes down Miss. abortion law

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:15 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:15:11 GMT
    A federal appeals court panel has ruled that a Mississippi law that would close the state's only abortion clinic is unconstitutional.
    A federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that a Mississippi law that would close the state's only abortion clinic is unconstitutional.
By MARTHA WAGGONER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's governor, facing criticism that he bypassed a traditional selection process in choosing a poet laureate with only two self-published books to her name, said Wednesday he seeks to give opportunities to those who aren't part of "elite groups."

But Gov. Pat McCrory also said he would review the procedure he used after picking Valerie Macon to serve a two-year term in the high-profile position. A disability examiner for the state, Macon has two self-published books of poetry and a dedication to helping the homeless.

Several previous poets laureate have criticized McCrory for bypassing the traditional though not obligatory process of involving the North Carolina Arts Council in the selection.

"We were not aware of the traditional process that was in place," McCrory said Wednesday. "It wasn't written down anywhere on the walls."

When told the guidelines once were on the Arts Council's website, McCrory replied: "We must have missed that website."

The sections on the selection process have disappeared from the council's website.

However, the governor's news release about Macon's appointment included some of the same guidelines as those of the council: "Guidelines call for the poet to be a North Carolinian with deep connections to the cultural life of this state, literary excellence and influence on other writers and appreciation of literature in its diversity throughout the state ..."

The Arts Council also said the poet laureate should have: an appreciation of literature in its diversity throughout the state; a statewide, national or international reputation; and an ability and willingness to engage in the public duties of the office.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Macon said she does not have a national or international reputation. Asked if she has a statewide reputation, she replied: "I don't know. There have been people who have told me they read my book, and they come from another state. It's hard to judge."

McCrory said Wednesday that one of his objectives is to open appointments to people who aren't part of "the standard or even elite groups ... It's good to welcome new voices and new ideas."

In naming Macon, McCrory noted her self-published books "Shelf Life" and "Sleeping Rough." His original statement said she also had served as a regional distinguished poet in North Carolina.

Macon has since confirmed she wasn't the distinguished poet but was mentored by a poet who had won that honor.

Typically, the poet laureate receives a stipend of up to $15,000 for a two-year project. Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, said there are no plans now to award a grant to Macon, although that could change if she develops a project that has public value.

"I have had a chance to meet her, and I'm excited about the focus of her work," Martin said. "She's very interested in shedding light on the issues of people who are homeless, and she's worked very hard on that. I think she has a lot of potential to do good work."

___

Follow Martha Waggoner at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.