Monday, March 31, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 4 p.m. at the T.E.A. Factory 580 Willow Street in Reading featuring Barbara Presnell

Join Berks Bards for a poetic tribute by Barbara Presnell to displaced textile workers at one of Reading's iconic re-purposed industrial buildings, the T.E.A. Factory.

Barbara Presnell:

A North Carolina Life
I grew up in the small town of Asheboro, North Carolina, in a region
where both my paternal and maternal families had lived for generations.
They were Quakers and Methodists, farmers and preachers, good old boys
and bridge-players. From my father's side of the family, I heard stories
about boyhood mischief, Indians on the family tree, rheumatic fever,
war, death, and sadness; from my mother's side, tales of Annie Oakley,
daily train rides, long-buried shrapnel, and love letters that crossed
the ocean. I carry inside me a small part of all those people and all
those stories.

My love for stories began with my parents' reading to me and
keeping our house filled with books. Santa Claus brought them; the
Easter Bunny left them in our baskets; they came as birthday presents;
we saved our allowance for the latest number of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew,
Happy Hollisters, and Brains Benton. Summers we'd make it through
scorching hot afternoons and evenings without air-conditioning stretched
out in lawn chairs reading. When I started writing my own stories, my
parents were my first audience. My brother and sister, who've lived most
of my stories with me, are my first, best readers today.

Since then, my writing journey has taken me into many genres—fiction writing, plays,
poems, dramatic monologues, essays, and music—but the purpose has
remained the same: to tell the story of a people, a region, and a way of
life, and to attempt to portray a complex South, rich with history and
tradition, but plagued by heartache and frailty. Hopefully in my words,
a reader will discover not just the Southern experience but the
universal human one that transcends region, dialect, and culture. 


NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Writing, 2001-02, 2007-08

Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, 2006

Linda Flowers Prize, NC Humanities Council, 2004

Oscar Arnold Young Award, Poetry Council of NC, 1999

Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award, NC Poetry Society, 1995

B.A. in English (UNC-Greensboro)

M.F.A. in Creative Writing (UNC-G)

M.A. in English (American Lit), the University of Kentucky

Piece Work
(Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2007)

Sherry's Prayer
       (NC Humanities Council
       as part of NC Crossroads, 2004)

Los Hijos
(Longleaf Press, 2002)

Unravelings (Longleaf Press, 1998

Snake Dreams (Nightshade Press, 1994)

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