Shelby Stephenson’s Acceptance Speech

How wonderful all this is, to be here, to celebrate and honor Poets and Writers.

Thank you, Ed Wilson, Barbara Braveboy-Locklear, and Margaret Maron.

Thank you, Ron Bayes, for publishing at St. Andrews in 1979 my first little book Middle Creek Poems.  

I remember Michael McOwen broke his arm in that clam-shell press.

Thank you, Betty Adcock.   I’ve loved your poems since I first saw them in little magazines before LSU published in 1975 your first book Walking Out. 

And Jaki Shelton Green:  I love your poems for the bruising beauty of the lyricism and for the closeness of family and for the personal and public history you document.

And Nin, thank you.  What a love and editor you are.  We still know Guy Owen was right when he said the magic word is “cut.”  How I’ve given you things to read and you have given the drafts back to me, with smiling faces or big crosses for CUT.

And I can hear Guy say, “Shelby, let your writing get cold.  Then go back to it.”

And my family, thank you.  Nin’s family, too, thank you for being here today.

I thank each of you for coming to Weymouth today.

What a place this is!  And what a special State we live in.

Thank you.

Shelby Stephenson
October 12, 2014
Southern Pines, NC