where the writers are

Kathryn Stripling Byer's Biography

Member Info

Cullowhee, North Carolina
To James Byer, most brilliant reader and scholar of poetry and novels I know, thanks to innate intelligence and spirit, helped along by study at UC-Chicago and Duke. One daughter, Corinna Lynette, poet and essayist herself, and scholar of Urdu/Hindi literature and language.
Jan 2008

A native of SW Georgia, I have lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968.  For the past 5 years I  have served as NC's first woman Poet Laureate.  My blog, "Here, Where I Am" was named one of the 30 best poetry blogs for 2009.

My work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including "Atlantic Monthly," "Poetry, " "Georgia Review," "American Scholar," and "Cortland Review," and my essays and political commentary in "Shenandoah", "Boston Globe," and "Raleigh News-Observer," as well as other NC newspapers. My first book, THE GIRL IN THE MIDST OF THE HARVEST, was an Associated Writing Programs Finalist, chosen by John F. Nims, and published by Texas Tech U. Press in 1986. LSU Press has published my subsequent books, including WILDWOOD FLOWER, the Academy of American Poets Lamont Selection in 1992, BLACK SHAWL, chosen by Billy Collins for the Brockman-Campbell Award, and CATCHING LIGHT, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Best book of Poetry in 2002. My most recent book, COMING TO REST, received the Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2007. My poetry has been set to music for chorus, mezzo-soprano, soprano, and chamber singers by Martin Bresnick, Harold Schiffman, and William Bolcom. Last year I traveled to Hungary for the European Premiere of the cantata "Alma," based on several poems from Wildwood Flower.   My most recent publication is a collaborative chapbook of poems with longtime friend Penelope Scambly Schott entitled Aretha's Hat: Inauguration Day 2009, published by Ash Creek Press in Portland, Oregon.  


Anything I have read since I could read that touched me and made the world more alive through language.

Upcoming Works

Lost Soul: poetry and short fiction
Descent: poems
Southern Fictions: Poems
The Tellers's Tale: Novel



Recommended Links


LSU Press, Texas Tech U. Press, Spring Street Press

Interests & Hobbies

Language, poetry, cooking, being poet laureate of NC, where most of the best writers in this country live.