Article Published: Oct. 25, 2012 | Modified: Oct. 29, 2012
Award winning poet, professor and advocate for literacy Joseph Bathanti will present the premiere “Reading at the Chapel” on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. at the historic Chapel of Rest in Happy Valley.
Co-hosted by Chapel of Rest Preservation Society and by Caldwell Arts Council, the reading will be followed by a reception with Bathanti. Admission is $8.
Bathanti was named North Carolina’s poet laureate by Gov. Bev Perdue in August 2012.
“Joseph Bathanti is an award-winning poet and novelist with a robust commitment to social causes,” Perdue said. “He first came to North Carolina to work in the VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program and has taught writing workshops in prisons for 35 years. As poet laureate, he plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry – a valuable and generous project.”
Bathanti is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University, where he is writer in residence in the university’s Watauga Global Community and also director of Writing in the Field, a new site-based creative writing initiative. He has taught writing workshops in prisons for more than three decades and is former chairman of the N.C. Writers’ Network Prison project.
Bathanti’s six books of poetry include “This Metal” (1996), “Restoring Sacred Art” (2010), “Land of Amnesia” (2009), “Anson County” (1989), “The Feast of All Saints” (1994) and “Communion Partners” (1986). He has published two novels, “Coventry” (2006) and “East Liberty” (2001), along with a book of short stories, “The High Heart” (2007).
Bathanti arrived in North Carolina in 1976 as a member of VISTA, a national service program designed to fight poverty, and he never left the state. Assigned to work in Huntersville Prison in Mecklenburg County, he met fellow volunteer and future wife Joan Carey on his first day of training. They have been married for 35 years.
The Chapel of Rest is located nine miles north of Lenoir on N.C. 268, adjacent to the campus of The Patterson School.