|Abbott Will Unveil New Poetry Volume in Public Reading at Davidson
December 03, 2009
Contact: Bill Giduz
Tony Abbott, the Dana Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College, has compiled some of his previously published poems with ten new ones in a volume titled New and Selected: Poems 1989-2009, published by Lorimer Press.
This dean of North Carolina literature, hailed by former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell as "a celebrated, widely published and warmly appreciated poet" will read from the new book on Sunday afternoon, December 6, at 3 p.m. in Tyler-Tallman Hall of Sloan Music Center. Charlotte writer and newspaper columnist Dannye Romine will introduce Abbott at the event. There is no charge to attend the event.
The book has been given a starred review in the American Library Association's Booklist magazine, and has been well received in the literary community. Author Robert Morgan wrote, "The range and depth of Tony Abbott's work are now clear. He is a dramatic poet, a narrative poet, a poet of love and meditations on kinship, mortality, change and memory. But rare among contemporary poetry, there is a vein of relish, human connection and joy coursing through Abbott's poems."
Abbot told an interviewer several years ago that his poems "celebrate that which is precious, and that which is always in danger of being lost. We try to hold the moment before it is gone. Part of the function of poetry is to hold the dark back."
The new book is Abbott's fifth volume of poetry. His first one, The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat (1989) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His 2005 volume, entitled The Man Who, won the Oscar Arnold Young Award for best poetry book of the year from the Poetry Council of North Carolina. It consists of about fifty narrative poems about characters real and imagined that Abbott links with the first three words of their titles. His other poetry volumes are A Small Thing Like a Breath and The Search for Wonder in the Cradle of the World.
He is also the author of two novels, the Novello Prize-winning Leaving Maggie Hope and its sequel The Three Great Secret Things.
Last year Abbott received the Irene Blair Honeycutt Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts at a Central Piedmont Community College's annual ArtsFest because he is "committed to the artistic life, shares skills and talents, produces exemplary art, and has achieved public recognition in the art field."
Three times he won the Thomas H. McDill Award of the North Carolina Poetry Society, and in 1996 was honored by St. Andrews College with the Sam Ragan Award in recognition of his writing and service to the literary community of North Carolina.
He maintains a vigorous schedule of activities as a writer, educator, visiting artist, and lecturer. He currently serves as president of the North Carolina Poetry Society, has been president of the Charlotte Writers Club and the North Carolina Writers Network, and has chaired the North Carolina Writers Conference.
He corresponds frequently with established and amateur writers across the state, generously promoting current work and nurturing the next generation. Every year he teaches a seven-week poetry workshop at Queens University, and last spring taught fiction writing at Catawba College. He frequently presents programs about religion and literature, and teaches an adult Sunday School class in that area every year at Davidson College Presbyterian Church where he regularly worships. Beginning in January he will teach a 12-week course on religion and literature for Union Theological Seminary in Charlotte.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.