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Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poetry Series

Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series Reading

The reading on Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. will feature poets Benjamin Cutler, a

High School teacher, and Pat Riviere-Seel, the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet

for the Western Region of North Carolina.

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) supports the mission of the

North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of

poetry across the state. Three Distinguished Poets from the east, central, and west of

North Carolina mentor emerging poets in their area.

The GCDPS originated when the NCPS Board voted in 2003 to follow the advice of

Fred Chappell, then North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. He had written and advised the

NCPS president about various approaches to take in furthering the NCPS mission of

encouraging the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry. The GCDPS plans

evolved from that correspondence and earlier discussions by Board members. The

program is funded by the late Marie Gilbert. The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet

Series offers a way for poets to give back to the North Carolina poetry community.

Benjamin Cutler was raised on a riverbank in the mountains of western North

Carolina. He is a husband, father of three (soon to be four), and is a resident of

Jackson County. Ben received his bachelor's degree in English Education from

Western Carolina University and currently teaches English and creative writing

courses at Swain County High School where he also serves as faculty-adviser for

SCHS’s Gay-Straight Alliance club. In conjunction with his work as an English

teacher, Ben is an ambassador for the global educational non-profit Narrative 4, an

organization founded by author Colum McCann that seeks to cultivate empathy

through the exchanging of personal narratives. When he’s not writing poetry or

teaching, Ben spends his time playing with his three children, splashing around in

the river, and trying to keep his honey bees alive.  

Pat Riviere-Seel is poet, a runner, a woman who has lived long enough to have

“past” and “former” prefixes for more jobs and volunteer positions than she can

name without looking at a resume. She is a co-editor of the anthology Kakalak and

the author of two prize-winning poetry chapbooks: No Turning Back Now and The

Serial Killer’s Daughter, winner of the Roanoke-Chowan Award. Her most recent

poetry collection, Nothing Below but Air, was a semifinalist for the Thomas Wolfe

Memorial Literary Award. The Serial Killer’s Daughter has been turned into a one act

play and performed by Shared Radiance Theatre. Pat has taught in UNC Asheville’s

Great Smokies Writing Program, and in 2012 she held a unique position as poet-in-

residence at the NC Zoo.  Before earning her MFA from Queens University of

Charlotte, she worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and lobbyist. She lives in

Asheville, NC.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 7:00pm


Community Room