Twenty-eight years ago, Glenis Redmond was a clinical counselor for the state of South Carolina and the mother of twin toddler girls when she learned her excruciating condition had a name, Fibromyalgia. 

After absorbing the ramifications of her diagnosis, she recalls thinking of a prescient line of verse from the poet Lucille Clifton. 

“‘Everyday something has tried to kill me and it’s failed,’ and it was an awakening of sorts,” Redmond recalled. “That poem made me think, ‘Well, if you’re going to be sick, if you’re going to not feel well, what’s going to make you want to get up in the morning?’” 

Lilly Knoepp

  This month, universities said good-bye to graduating seniors in unusual ways. BPR takes us to UNC Asheville’s English graduation: 

On May 9, Professor Lori Horvitz, head of the English Department said goodbye to her students: “I have the pomp and circumstance theme music. Do you hear that?” 

The department graduation was held over Zoom. Each professor gave some final advice and then many of the students expressed their thanks to the department. Alyssa Vincent transferred to UNC Asheville her sophomore year: 

Matt Peiken | BPR News

In his debut collection, titled “Jesus in the Trailer,” Andrew Clark’s poetry reads like connected but fragmented short stories. Clark, who lives in Candler, sees this work as a sort of roadmap of hurt, turmoil and hope in the American Southeast.

“There’s some darker moments in the book. Addiction is a topic that comes up, violence comes up. I try to talk about race relations in the South,” Clark said. “I try to talk about the beauty of what we have as southerners but also try not to mask the ugliness in our history.”

Clark reads from “Jesus in the Trailer” 4 p.m. Jan. 12 at Malaprop’s in Asheville.

Lilly Knoepp

Blue Ridge Public Radio’s Lilly Knoepp sat down with North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green after she visited Western Carolina University writing students. Shelton Green talked about how she views her work as a part of Southern Literature, why poetry is important and where real change happens. Here are some key parts of the conversation. 

How people should be introduced: 


Lilly Knoepp

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate stopped by Western Carolina University this week to hear students share their poetry. 

Pam Duncan is an associate English professor at Western Carolina. Every year she starts her creative writing class with poetry. 

“I’m hoping that they will see that poetry can live in the real world. It’s not just limited to the classroom,” says Duncan. “I believe we all need poetry everyday.” 

Courtesy of Tina Barr

Tina Barr earned a PhD in poetry and a tenured professorship at a small college, and then she met a jazz pianist.

“My husband was willing to do his work or die, so he spent years living in Brooklyn, sleeping on a futon rolled up under his piano,” Barr said. “He really was an example to me of how to be an artist, and so I feel like now I can call myself a writer.”

University of North Carolina-Asheville

Juan Sanchez is an assistant professor of modern languages and literatures at UNC-Asheville.  He recently won the National Prize in Literature in his native Colombia for his book of poetry Altamar.  The title of the book translates to 'high sea'.  It's also the last name of Sanchez's great-grandfather.  The poems in the book are written from the perspective of water.  Sanchez has also done a lot study on indigenous cultures, and incorporates that into his poetry.