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Kathryn Stripling Byer

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A native of southwest Georgia, Kathryn Stripling Byer lives in the mountains of  North Carolina where she served as the state's Poet Laureate from 2005 till 2010.  A graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia and  the UNC-Greensboro MFA program, she studied with Allen Tate, Fred Chappell, and Robert Watson.  Her  six collections of poetry include  Wildwood Flower, Black Shawl, Catching Light, and most recently, Coming to Rest, from LSU Press. Her first collection, The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, was chosen for the Associated Writing Programs Award Series in 1986. Essays have appeared in Shenandoah, Boston Globe,  Carolina Quarterly, as well as newspapers across North Carolina.  Her poetry has appeared in journals ranging from The Atlantic to  Appalachian Heritage  and was recently featured in Six Poets from the Mountain South, by John Lang (LSU).  She has received the Hanes Poetry Award from The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Award for  Catching Light,  the Lamont (now McLaughlin) Award from the Academy of American Poets for Wildwood Flower, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the NC Arts Council.   Her poetry has been set to music by composers Harold Schiffman, Martin Bresnick,  and William Bolcom.  Falling, based on two of her poems along with one by David Bottoms premiered at Wesleyan College in 1995, Blood Mountain  for soprano and piano in New York in 2008, Alma,  a cantata,  in Gyor, Hungary in 2007 (Shiffman) and  Four Piedmont Songs (Bolcom) in Winston-Salem, NC by the Piedmont Chamber Singers last year.
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