Louise Morgan Runyon Poetry Reading

Sylva resident Louise Morgan Runyon will release her fifth book of poems, Where Is Our Prague Spring?, on October 1, 2022. This book examines Runyon's deep love for the mountains of Western North Carolina; her childhood experience of love here; and her attempts to reconcile this love with the hatred and division found in the present.  A great-niece of Lucy Morgan, founder of the renowned Penland School of Crafts, Runyon honors her visionary and activist family in these poems.

The in-person launch will be Saturday, November 5, 4 p.m., at City Lights Bookstore, 3 E. Jackson Street, Sylva, NC 28779. Attendees are requested to wear masks.

Says poet Catherine Carter of Western Carolina University, “…Runyon interrogates the place and her family’s long history there to illuminate a complicated tradition of Appalachian progressivism dating both back to and forward from the Trail of Tears.  These thoughtful poems evoke an Appalachia that few outsiders know: simultaneously progressive and conservative, woven into the wider world in unexpected ways, and rooted deeply in the labor and vision of women.” Kami Ahrens of Foxfire Museum notes, “Runyon's manner of writing engages the reader in conversations about contemporary themes that reflect stories of the past while providing lessons for the future. A must-read for any lover of Appalachian literature.”

Louise Morgan Runyon was born and raised in New York City but grew up at Penland School in the summertime. She lived most of her adult life in Atlanta before coming back to western North Carolina in 2019. A dancer and choreographer as well as poet, she is Artistic Director of Louise Runyon Performance Company. The publication of her new book is supported by the Jackson County Arts Council.

Where Is Our Prague Spring? By Louise Morgan Runyon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781665305242
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Louise Morgan Runyon - October 1st, 2022

Mary Ricketson to Read from Precious the Mule

Join us Friday, November 11th at 5 p.m. as we celebrate the latest release of WNC poet Mary Ricketson. Redhawk Publications recently published her chapbook, Precious the Mule.

Precious the mule is a story of humanity, compassion, and kindness.  A mule gets injured, then draws the attention of a neighbor who walks past.  Set in winter and springtime in a small cove in the Appalachian mountains, a relationship develops between mule and human.  This poemetory, story in poetry, weaves Mary’s poems into a memorable story that joins sorrow and suffering with joy and hope. 

A 40-page book of poems with some pictures of Precious.

To reserve copies of the book, use the order link or call City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499.

Precious the Mule By Mary Ricketson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781952485886
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Redhawk Publications - September 15th, 2022

Elizabeth Wilson and Hilda Downer to Read New Poems

Buncombe County poets Elizabeth Wilson and Hilda Downer will present their recent work in Sylva at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 12. 

Elizabeth Wilson is an aspiring tap dancer, chronic illness advocate, and Rising Voices of Narcolepsy speaker, living with her partner and son in the North Carolina mountains. She is the winner of the 2021 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award, and her first book of poems, Windowpanes, forthcoming from Headmistress Press, won the 2021 Sappho’s Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Clementine Unbound, Cold Mountain Review, Eunoia Review, One Art: a journal of poetry, Trouvaille Review, and Voices from the Attic.

Hilda Downer grew up in Bandana, North Carolina, beside the oldest mica mine in the world.  She works as a psychiatric nurse and an English teacher at Appalachian State University.  Currently, she lives in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, where she has raised two sons, Branch, and Meade, who are, respectively an artist and a fiddler. Her previous books include When the Light Waits for Us and Sky Under the Roof.


Windowpanes By Elizabeth Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781735823676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Headmistress Press - August 25th, 2022

Wiley's Last Resort By Hilda Downer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781952485800
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Redhawk Publications - August 9th, 2022

Poets in Conversation: Lee Stockdale and Andrew K. Clark

Poets Lee Stockdale and Andrew K. Clark will visit City Lights Bookstore on Saturday, October 29th at 3 p.m. They will mostly discuss  Gorilla, a collection of poetry about Stockdale’s journey as a suicide survivor. The genesis of this collection comes from an interesting place. Stockdale’s father was a close friend of John F. Kennedy; he even served as ambassador to Ireland for the Kennedy administration.  A week after Kennedy’s assassination, Stockdale’s father took his own life. Stockdale’s connection to his father led him to believe he, too, should meet a similar fate. While driving cabs in New York City, a chance meeting with Jackie Kennedy led to a new resolve. He returned to college, joined the Army as a private, spent 30 years in the Army, and retired as Command Judge Advocate, US Army Human Resources Command. A prize-winning poet, Stockdale received his MFA through the GI Bill from Queens University, Charlotte.

Andrew K. Clark is the author of Jesus in the Trailer. His work has appeared in Out of Anonymity - The UCLA Writing Project, The Journal of American Poetry, Appalachian Review, and others. He lives in Asheville, NC.

Please call City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC, at 828-586-9499 to reserve copies of Gorilla and Jesus in the Trailer


Gorilla By Lee Stockdale Cover Image
ISBN: 9781599489384
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Main Street Rag - January 1st, 2022

Jesus in the Trailer By Andrew K. Clark Cover Image
ISBN: 9781599487564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Main Street Rag Press - September 1st, 2019

Danita Dodson Poetry Reading

Danita Dodson will visit City Lights Bookstore on Saturday, September 10th at 3 p.m. She will present her poetry collection, Trailing the Azimuth.  Her collection guides the readers down various trails through striking imagery, resonant language, and intensity of vision. Linked by allusions to the "azimuth," the poems in this collection represent the search for direction in a world that is complex and uncertain, prompting the journey toward light and more mindfulness of self, others, and God. These lyrical compasses exhibit a multiplicity of style and subject informed by the poet's travels, interest in hiking, and cultural awareness. 


Danita Dodson is co-editor of Teachers Teaching Nonviolence (2020). Her critical articles have been published in various literary journals. This is her first book of poetry. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi. Combining a love of scholarship and diverse experiences, she has been a Fulbright-Hays fellow in Turkey, a professor in Nicaragua, an amateur archaeologist in the Southwest, and a Spanish teacher in Appalachia. She lives in East Tennessee, where she teaches English and Humanities at Walters State Community College.

Trailing the Azimuth By Danita Dodson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781666731767
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Resource Publications (CA) - November 23rd, 2021

A Trio of North Carolina Poets



City Lights Bookstore will host a trio of North Carolina poets on Saturday, October 8th, at 3 p.m.  Pat Riviere-Seel, Paul Jones, and Ben Cutler will all share their respective work.

Pat Riviere-Seel is the author of three collections of poetry. Her latest is When There Were Horses. A native of Shelby, NC, Pat grew to love the western NC mountains and spent much of her adult life finding her way back to the state and the landscape she loved. Her poems were first published when she was an undergraduate at North Carolina State University. After graduation, Pat worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and lobbyist for the Maryland State House nonprofit organizations. She returned to North Carolina in 1992 to work for Rural Southern Voice for Peace as editor of the bimonthly journal, a publication she renamed Voices.

Paul Jones has published poetry in many journals, including Poetry, Hudson Review, River Heron Review, Broadkill Review, and North Carolina Literary Review. Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. Redhawk Publications released his most recent collection, Something Wonderful last fall. 

Swain County poet and educator Ben Cutler is the author of The Geese Who Might Be Gods. Cutler’s first book of poems is rooted in a particular soil, or bone, of this world, the mountains and rivers of the southern Appalachians, but its branches and crowns stretch out to the hope of a post-apocalyptic tomato sandwich and back to Eden. 

Joseph Bathanti Reads New Poems

North Carolina poet Joseph Bathanti will present his latest book of poetry at the Jackson County Public Library on Saturday, August 6th at 3 p.m. Light at the Seam, a new collection is an exploration of mountaintop removal in southern Appalachian coal country. The volume illuminates and champions often invisible people residing, in a precarious moment in time, on the glorious, yet besieged, Appalachian earth. Their call to defend it, as well as their faith that the land will exact its own reckoning, constitutes a sacred as well as existential quest. Rooted in social and restorative justice, Light at the Seam contemplates the earth as fundamentally sacramental, a crucible of awe and mystery, able to regenerate itself and its people even as it succumbs to them. More than mere cautionary tale, this is a volume of hope and wonder. 

Joseph Bathanti, former poet laureate of North Carolina (2012–14) and recipient of the North Carolina Award in Literature, is the author of seventeen books. He is the McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

Light at the Seam: Poems By Joseph Bathanti Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807176924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: LSU Press - March 2nd, 2022

Loss Pequeno Glazier In Conversation with Brent Martin

Join us on Sunday, October 23rd at 1 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore for conversation and poetry featuring Loss Pequeno Glazier and Brent Martin.  The two poets will discuss Glazier’s book, Transparent Mountain: ecopoetry from the Great Smokies.  The book weaves strands of the history, ecology, and poetic spirit of the Southern Appalachians. Impressive as the mountains are, few people realize that the splendor of the Smokies has transcended near-total devastation in the Twentieth century. Transparent Mountain explores the necessity of wilderness to life on earth. Awareness of our connection to the interdependent worlds of living things is needed if we are to address global climate concerns and to respect the web of natural wonders that sustains us on this planet. Through narrative, histories, flights of naturalist empathy, reverence for early inhabitants, and often unrestrained poetic excesses, these shaped, tonally varied, and eco-driven poems evoke how the magic of old growth spirit can still be witnessed in moments of recollection. 

Loss Pequeño Glazier is a multilingual woodland poet who has spent years writing, teaching, and roving heart-spirit landscapes in Berkeley, Paris, India, Mexico, Cuba, Buffalo, and the Blue Ridge/Southern Appalachians. Works include Luna Lunera: Poems al-Andalus, Anatman, Pumpkin Seed, Algorithm, and Digital Poetics: the Making of E-Poetries. Glazier lives and writes in the vitalizing bio-diversity of the Smoky Mountains.

Brent Martin is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry and of Hunting for Camellias at Horseshoe Bend, a nonfiction chapbook published by Red Bird Press in 2015. His poetry and essays have been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Pisgah Review, Tar River Poetry, Chattahoochee Review, Eno Journal, New Southerner, Kudzu Literary Journal, Smoky Mountain News, and elsewhere. He has recently completed a two-year term as Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the West. He is also the author of George Masa's Wild Vision and The Changing Blue Ridge Mountains: Essays on Journeys Past and Present. He lives in the Cowee community in Western North Carolina, where he and his wife, Angela Faye Martin, run Alarka Institute. 


Transparent Mountain: Ecopoetry from the Great Smokies By Loss Pequeño Glazier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780941842099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Night Horn Books - September 15th, 2022

George Masa's Wild Vision: A Japanese Immigrant Imagines Western North Carolina By Brent Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938235931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hub City Press - June 21st, 2022

Sunday Afternoon with a Trio of Poets

We'll wrap up Poetry Month with a special reading featuring three poets of wide repute. Join us at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 24th when we'll host Jeffrey Franklin, Catherine Carter, and Keith Flynn as they read from their recent work. Franklin's recent collection is titled Where We Lay Down, of which James Najarian says, "These are multi-layered, thick, substantial poems that confront tough subjects: transformation, inheritance, deterioration, and our debt to the animal. Written in a startling array of forms, from blank verse to free verse, sestina to pantoum, they are full of knowledge, and they always adapt the form to the language, rather than the other way around, changing the reader's notion of poetic form in the process."

Jeffrey Franklin is a poet, scholar, editor, and teacher. His poetry collections are Where We Lay Down (2021, Kelsay Books) and For the Lost Boys (2006, Ghost Road Press). His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, Hudson Review, Measure, New England Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, Southern Humanities Review, and Southern Poetry Review. A poetry manuscript of his received the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and his poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry. Since 2000 he has served as the poetry editor for the North Carolina Literary Review, selecting the finalists for the annual James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Originally from Signal Mountain, Tennessee, he now lives in Denver, Colorado.

Catherine W. Carter's most recent collection is Larvae of the Nearest Stars. Two earlier works, also from Louisianna State University Press, are Growing Gills and Swamp Monster at Home. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Orion, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband in Cullowhee, North Carolina, where she teaches at Western Carolina University.

​Keith Flynn's collection, The Skin of Meaning came out in 2020. He is the award-winning author of seven books, most recently Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013) and a collection of essays entitled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How To Make Your Poetry Swing (Writer's Digest Books, 2007). From 1984-1999, he was the lyricist and lead singer for the nationally acclaimed rock band The Crystal Zoo, which produced three albums: Swimming Through Lake Eerie (1992), Pouch (1996), and the spoken-word and music compilation Nervous Splendor (2003). He is currently touring with a supporting combo, The Holy Men, whose album, LIVE at Diana Wortham Theatre, was released in 2011. He is the Executive Director and producer of the TV show "LIVE at White Rock Hall" and of Animal Sounds Productions, both of which create collaborations between writers and musicians in video and audio formats. His award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary ReviewThe Colorado ReviewPoetry WalesFive PointsPoetry EastThe Southern Poetry AnthologyThe Poetics of American Song LyricsWriter's ChronicleThe Cimarron ReviewRattleShenandoahWord and Witness: 100 Years of NC PoetryCrazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, a 2013 NC Literary Fellowship, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award, and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for NC. Flynn is the founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994.

Where We Lay Down By Jeffery Franklin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781954353954
Availability: No new copies on our shelves but maybe in used, now or arriving soon. Ask us.
Published: Kelsay Books - August 27th, 2021

Larvae of the Nearest Stars: Poems By Catherine W. Carter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807169889
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: LSU Press - October 16th, 2019

The Skin of Meaning By Keith Flynn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597098489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Red Hen Press - April 14th, 2020

Poetry at High Noon

 Join us on Wednesday, March 16th at noon for a twin bill poetry reading featuring Brian Brodeur and Steve Scafidi. 

Brian Brodeur is the author of Every Hour Is Late. New poems and literary criticism appear in Hopkins Review, Gettysburg Review, Literary Matters, Southern Review, and The Writer’s Chronicle. Founder and Coordinator of the digital interview archive “How a Poem Happens,” Brian lives with his wife and daughter in the Whitewater River Valley. He teaches creative writing and American literature at Indiana University East.  

Steve Scafidi is the author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, For Love of Common Words, The Cabinetmaker’s Window, To the Bramble and the Briar, and a chapbook Songs for the Carry-On. He works as a cabinetmaker and lives in Summit Point, West Virginia.

Masks are required to attend this event.

Every Hour Is Late By Brian Brodeur Cover Image
ISBN: 9781939574305
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Measure Press Inc. - June 1st, 2019

Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer: Poems (Southern Messenger Poets) By Steve Scafidi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807126943
Availability: No new copies on our shelves but maybe in used, now or arriving soon. Ask us.
Published: LSU Press - March 1st, 2001

For Love of Common Words: Poems (Southern Messenger Poets) By Steve Scafidi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807131374
Availability: No new copies on our shelves but maybe in used, now or arriving soon. Ask us.
Published: LSU Press - April 1st, 2006

The Cabinetmaker's Window (Southern Messenger Poets) By Steve Scafidi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807154496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: LSU Press - February 10th, 2014


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