This dazzling array of poems preserves in precise and imaginative language many of the crucial perceptions, dreams, experiences, and concerns of North Carolinians during this exceptional century. The quietest personal moments, the noisiest public conflicts, the most profound social issues—all are treated in these 252 poems representing 137 poets whose work spans the last century.
Word and Witness demonstrates the development of poetry—remarkable in both quantity and quality—occurring through these tumultuous decades, as well as the extraordinary versatility of the poets who have, during significant years, called North Carolina home.
Edited by Sally Buckner, Word and Witness is organized chronologically, with each section prefaced by an introduction explaining the literary scene during those years and the factors—social, economic, and historic—which influenced the poetry of that era.
Fred Chappell, North Carolina Poet Laureate and winner of the national Bollingen Prize for poetry, has furnished the Afterword. Partially funded by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, the book includes brief biographies, a selected bibliography, and lists of poets who have won significant state awards.
The compilation of Word and Witness was conceived and sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society, the oldest and largest organization devoted to poetry in this state. Like North Carolina's 400 Years: Signs Along the Way, one of the four other anthologies created by NCPS since its inception in 1932, this collection is designed as a gift to the state, commemorating North Carolina's rich literary heritage. It also testifies to the breadth and depth of the state's exceptional community of writers.