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Governor: Laureate honor not reserved for ‘elite’

McC709Governor Pat McCrory is now answering questions about how he came to choose Valerie Macon as North Carolina’s newest poet laureate.

The governor defended his decision Wednesday saying the little known self-published poet from Fuquay-Varina would bring a new voice to the position:

“One of my objectives is to open up the availability of all appointments to people that typically aren’t inside the organized groups,” McCrory said. “We’ve got to open up opportunities for people that aren’t always a part of the standard or even elite groups that have been in place for a long time.”

McCrory acknowledged he was unaware of a N.C. Arts Council website that spelled out the process for selecting the state’s top poet:

“Well, we must have missed that web site, sorry,” he said. “Listen, I’m reviewing the entire process.”

The Associated Press reports Valerie Macon has also clarified the initial press release from the Governor’s office:

In naming Macon, McCrory noted her self-published books “Shelf Life” and “Sleeping Rough.” His original statement said she also had served as a regional distinguished poet in North Carolina.

Macon has since confirmed she wasn’t the distinguished poet but was mentored by a poet who had won that honor.

For its part, the N.C. Arts Council says it looks forward to working with Macon. Sarah Ovaska has more on how others in the arts community have responded to the appointment.

You can read some of Macon’s work here. Click here to learn about the state’s past poet laureates.

One Comment

  1. david esmay

    July 18, 2014 at 10:11 am

    By elite, does the deputy assistant governor mean an actual published poet?