North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, Visits for a Reading

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, Visits for a Reading

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 17:47

Wilkes County Public Library and Friends are organizing a special event to honor National Poetry Month. The event will take place on April 30, featuring Jaki Shelton Green, North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. Starting at 4:00 p.m., Wilkes County Friends of the Library will provide refreshments and host Green for a Meet & Greet in the library. At 5:30 p.m., Green will read aloud her poems and talk about her work as the state poet, followed by a brief Q&A session. Suzanne Moore, Wilkes County Librarian, said, “We are proud to have our State Poet here to help us wrap up the end of National Poetry Month. She has some powerful stories to tell with her poems and hearing them spoken adds even more depth and beauty to the written words.”

Jaki Shelton Green is the first African American and third woman appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate. When he appointed her in 2018, Governor Cooper stated that “Jaki Shelton Green brings a deep appreciation of our state’s diverse communities to her role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature. Jaki’s appointment is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”

“Being the first African-American Poet Laureate really does matter to me on so many different levels,” she says. “I’ve been receiving depths of love in terms of what it means to total strangers of all different hues and belief systems and ages across the state. People really celebrate the space I’m in and appreciate what I’m trying to bring to the post. Yes, it’s about being an ambassador for poetry, but also compassion and kindness and how we might reimagine how art helps cross boundaries.”

Green is a 2019 Academy of American Poet Laureate Fellow, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate appointment, and 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature.  She is also a poet, author, and activist who explores themes of race, oppression, religion, and grief in her work and activism

Green teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies and was appointed the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at UNC-Chapel Hill. Additionally, she received the George School Outstanding Alumni Award in 2021.