A book and two-act play by Shelby Stephenson, NC poet laureate.
Shelby Stephenson grew up on a small farm near Benson, in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. “Most of my poems come out of that background,” he says, “where memory and imagination play. My early teachers were the thirty-five foxhounds my father hunted. The trees and streams, fields—childhood.” After leaving the farm for college, he was graduated from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has worked as a radio and television announcer, salesman, farmer, right-of-way agent for American Telephone & Telegraph Company, Long Lines, White Plains, New York. He chaired the Campbell College Department of English, then retired as professor of English emeritus at the University of North Carolina–Pembroke, where he edited Pembroke Magazine from 1979 to 2010.
The state of North Carolina presented him with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature and the 2011 Order of the Long Leaf Pine. In 2014 he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. He has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award, the Oscar Arnold Young Poetry Prize, the Playwright’s Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize, Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award, and the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Prize. In addition to Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl (winner of the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize) he has published Fiddledeedee and a poetic documentary Plankhouse (with photographs by Roger Manley), plus ten chapbooks: Middle Creek Poems, Carolina Shout!, Finch’s Mash, The Persimmon Tree Carol, Poor People, Greatest Hits, Possum, Playing Dead, Play My Music Anyhow, and Steal Away. With his wife Linda he has made four musical CDs: Hank Williams Tribute (1997); Stephenson Brothers & Linda Sing the Old Songs (2004); When Country Was Country (2007), and Shelby & Linda Stephenson Sing Don Gibson (2013).
Parents of Kate and Jacob, Shelby and Linda live on the farm where he was born.