North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will be the 2013 Commencement Speaker at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg this weekend.
The ceremony will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. on DeTamble Terrace and will also include speeches by graduates Catherine Stumberg and Sally Thompson.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., Bathanti came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates. Over the past 36 years, he has lectured, read his work and conducted workshops in a variety of prisons, training schools, battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, daycare centers, nursing homes, soup kitchens, barns, gyms, train depots, and fish camps.
Bathanti is the author of seven books of poetry including “This Metal,” nominated for the National Book Award and winner of the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from the North Carolina Poetry Council for the best book of poems by a North Carolina writer. His first novel, “East Liberty,” won the Carolina Novel Award. His latest novel, “Coventry,” won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His collection of short stories, “The High Heart,” won the 2006 Spokane Prize and served as the St. Andrews One Book/One Community book.
Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where he is also the Writer-in-Residence for the University’s Watauga Global Community and Director of Writing in the Field.
The event is free and open to the public.