Don Ward: A unique laureate choice

July 17, 2014 

In “reporting” the selection of Valerie Macon as the state’s new poet laureate in the July 15 article “ McCrory’s laureate pick rankles poets,” you myopically squinted at the politics surrounding the selection while ignoring the news. A news report might have included the name of the selection in the headline or even in the first paragraph. This article was about your spite for Gov. Pat McCrory rather than about the selection of Macon.

There is an elitism among poets, particularly those who naively believe themselves to be professionals. They subsist by selling their poems to each other. Wouldn’t it be grand if others wrote, read and were recognized, too? No, the selection of a laureate should not be “democratic,” but I do not believe there are any poets who currently sit on the N.C. Arts Council.

The selection of Macon as North Carolina’s “EveryPoet” is truly progressive, expansive and educational. Why shouldn’t everyone read and write poetry? It strikes a blow for egalitarianism. That is the message. That wouldn’t “rankle” all poets, just some.

Don Ward, Raleigh

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