When I first moved to North Carolina in 2007 I was preoccupied with a new job, closing on my first house, and learning where all the good restaurants were. Writing was not a priority. A year later I felt settled and curious. I went to the first place I could think of that should be a compass to writers in the area: The library.
I walked into Cameron Village Library that fall and asked a librarian about writing groups, “Where can I find poets?” She told me there were too many groups to track and that I should check out Meetup.com Over those next few months I joined every writers group in the area. Now I organize two and co-organize another group myself! As of this writing, if you search for writing-related Meetups within 25 miles of Pittsboro, about two dozen results appear.
Meetup is a tremendous resource for people all over the world. But what about other great resources just for folks in North Carolina? Read on:
North Carolina Poetry Society With a few gatherings per year, monthly reading series, contests, and informative newsletters, for just $30 annually this organization’s membership fee is a bargain.
Winston-Salem Writers Poetry in Plain Sight Winston-Salem Writers launched this program a few years ago. A committee reads poetry submissions from North Carolina writers and selects a few poems each month to print on posters and display around the city. Cost to submit? Free.
North Carolina Laureates Hillsborough recently commissioned their poet laureate, for a number of years and Carrboro has had their own laureate cycle. (Hey, Pittsboro, maybe you’re next?) Our current North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson hosts several readings and workshops throughout the year. In between town and state laureates, there are also regional ones. The Piedmont Laureate application is currently open and considering poet applicants – deadline is September 22, 2016. [Editor’s Note: Chatham County resident Gary Philips was recently named the Carrboro Poet Laureate.]
Living Poetry As the largest group of poets in the Raleigh area, Living Poetry shares everything related to poetry on their Meetup calendar. You’ll find open mics, poetry critique groups, poet lounges, readings, and more. Membership is free. (Full disclosure: I’m one of the co-organizers of this group.)
Open mics You shouldn’t have trouble finding these on Meetup or at your local coffee shop. On just about every night of the week you can find an open mic somewhere in North Carolina. These are great spaces to share your work and connect with other poets.
Do you know of other poetry resources? Share in the comments.
Upcoming Event: Tara Lynne Groth will read along with Hilde Weisert and Bennett Myers on Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 2pm at McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro as part of the North Carolina Poetry Society Reading Series.
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Our guest blogger Tara Lynne Groth has made her living entirely by the pen since 2010. She was a semifinalist for the James Applewhite Poetry Prize in 2015 and 2016, and has twice had her poetry selected for Poetry in Plain Sight. She blogs at www.writenaked.net and more about her work is at www.taralynnegroth.com. You can find her on Twitter @writenaked.