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Former Maine poet laureate to be featured at UVa-Wise Coffee Night

March 28th, 2012 10:51 pm by staff report

WISE — Betsy Sholl, a former poet laureate of Maine, will be the featured writer at Coffee Night, a reading and performing event dedicated to the poetry and prose of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and its community.


Coffee Night is set for 6:30 p.m. on April 10 in the college’s Chapel of All Faiths. Sholl will also present a public lecture, “I, Me, My/Hesitation in Poetry” the following day at 1 p.m. in the chapel. The public is invited to both events.


The UVa-Wise Department of Language and Literature, Department of Communication Studies, and the Jimson Weed literary journal sponsor Coffee Night. The spring edition of Jimson Weed will be released during Coffee Night.


Coffee Night will also feature “Spring Highland Voices: Writers and Performers of the College and Community.” All contributors to the 2012 spring edition of Jimson Weed are welcome to make presentations.


Others who are interested in participating or performing at Coffee Night may contact Collin Skeen at cas9hx@uvawise.edu by April 5.


Some of Sholl’s works are available in the UVa-Wise bookstore, and a book signing will follow both events.


Sholl, who taught at UVa-Wise for one semester, is the author of seven collections of poetry — “Rought Cradle,” “Late Psalm,” “Don’t Explain,” “The Red Line,” “Rooms Overhead,” “Appalachian Winter” and “Changing Faces.”


She also contributed poems to numerous journals and magazines including Orion Magazine, Triquarterly, the Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review and Ploughshares, and to two anthologies, “Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race” and “The Maine Poets: An Anthology of Verse.”


Recent poems have appeared in Cerise, Image, Field, Best American Poetry 2009 and Brilliant Corners. Her Appalachian reflections are collected in “Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers” and “Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women’s Poetry.”


In addition to the Felix Pollak Prize, her awards include the AWP Prize for Poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and two Maine artists grants.


Sholl is known as “the people’s poet” in Maine. Her social awareness through poetry began as early as her years spent in Appalachia, not only writing poems that surprise, but also teaching poetry at a correctional facility in Coeburn.


Sholl has been a visiting poet at the University of Pittsburgh and at Bucknell University. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine and the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Sholl lives with her husband, Dr. Douglas Sholl, in Portland, Maine. Before moving there in 1983, the Sholls lived in Boston and for seven years in Big Stone Gap.


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