Kathryn Stripling Byer

The legacies of the late Kathryn Stripling Byer, above, and the late Nancy Simpson will be remembered in Poetry Month activities on April 28.

April is National Poetry Month, and Mountain Wordsmiths will celebrate the beauty and significance of poetry at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 28, via Zoom.

The monthly gathering sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West is continuing its online presence because local writers as well as writers from other states and cities are joining each month on Zoom.

NCWN-West Program Coordinator Glenda Beall, will begin the meeting with a tribute to two late members who had a profound effect on area poets as well as poets across North Carolina and nationwide.

Kathryn Stripling Byer of Cullowhee was the first woman to be named Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2005-09). Nancy Simpson founded NCWN-West, which provides support and connection for members of NCWN who live in Western North Carolina and in the Georgia counties which border North Carolina. 

“Byer and Simpson mentored countless poets, both beginners and seasoned poets alike,” said Carroll Taylor, an author, poet and playwright who hosts Mountain Wordsmiths. 

Beall will read a selection of their poems as a tribute to their legacy. In lieu of Open Mic, during the program, all attendees are encouraged to read a favorite poem or one they have written.

“NCWN-West is continuing to stay in touch by using technology to share our writing,” Taylor said. “We will offer writing events and writing classes online until we can safely meet face-to-face again. Many writers are enjoying the convenience and flexibility of Zoom meetings because of our ability to include poets and writers from other locations.

“We welcome those who were regulars at Coffee with the Poets and Writers which met at Moss Memorial Library,” she said.

Those wishing to attend Mountain Wordsmiths may contact Taylor at vibiaperpetua@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link. Those who would like to join to listen to the “beauty of wordsmithing” are welcome, Taylor said.