Weymouth’s “Welcome Poetry” Celebrates Poets, Poetry

On Sunday, April 14, Poetry by the Pond, featuring readings by three renowned North Carolina poets, will take place on the beautiful Weymouth grounds. Contributed

by Lisa Case
Special to the SLI

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” In the well-loved poem “Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer, readers are told that poetry cannot surpass the beauty of nature. Fortunately, visitors to Weymouth Center do not have to choose! During April, the monthlong event “Welcome Poetry” will provide
multiple opportunities to enjoy nature, poets and poetry from North Carolina and beyond.

Each day during April — National Poetry Month — a poem will be posted on Weymouth’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Weymouth will also host two major poetry events. On Sunday, April 14, Poetry by the Pond, featuring readings by three renowned North Carolina poets, will take place on the beautiful Weymouth grounds. That will be followed on Wednesday, April 24, by the second annual Poetry Slam Jam. Expect the unexpected at the high energy, often raucous evening.

Poetry by the Pond provides an opportunity for poetry lovers to enjoy a delightful afternoon by the koi pond, located just behind the Carriage House and adjacent to the main house. The poets will read from their assorted works.

Donna Love Wallace recently completed a Weymouth residency to work on her second poetry collection,
titled “Stethoscopic Bodies.” Her first poetry book, “Between the Stones” (Hermit Feathers Press, 2019) recounts her personal experience with breast cancer. Wallace explains that writing poetry is her way of exploring “what does it mean to be human?” She has held positions with Winston Salem Writers, Poetry in Plain Sight and Hermit Feathers Press. Her work appears in Snapdragon, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Flying South, Pinesong, Kakalak, among others. Wallace is a retired critical care nurse and seminarian. She lives in Lewisville.

Paul Jones has the distinction of writing poetry that is “out of this world.” A manuscript of his poems landed on the moon’s surface in 2019 as part of Arch Mission’s Lunar Library, and another moon shot began its voyage in February 2024. In 2021, Jones was inducted into the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame. His book “Something Wonderful” was published by Redhawk Press in 2021. In 2024, Jones’ poem “Geode” had the “distinction” of being plagiarized multiple times by the notorious serial offender, John Kucera. Recently, Jones has published poems in Hudson Review, Salvation South, Tar River Poetry, NC Literary Review, as well as in anthologies including Best American Erotic Poems (1800- Present).

Gary Phillips, a North Carolinian born in Appalachia and long-term resident of Chatham County, was the poet laureate of Carrboro. He is a writer, naturalist and entrepreneur. His most recent work is “Subjects Suitable For Poetry” (Charlotte Literary Press, 2023). He lives in the Haw River watershed in a rammed earth house, where he cooks and reads and keeps a garden.

Poetry by the Pond begins at 4 p.m., on Sunday, April 14, and it is free to attend. Bring your friends, blankets and chairs, and your favorite snacks and beverages.

The second annual Poetry Slam Jam features local “celebrities” performing their favorite poems. Join us in the Great Room on Wednesday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m., for this lively evening that continues the Boyd’s tradition of appreciating and reciting poetry in a welcoming forum. A reception will follow. The event is free although registration is required; visit weymouthcenter.org to reserve your seat.

When asked “Why poetry?” Pat Rivere-Seel, an esteemed North Carolina poet and Weymouth board member, says “Poetry tells the truth. It matters because language matters. Language — and how we use it — has power. In a digital world overpopulated with sound bites, text messages and cultural, class and economic divisions, poetry allows us to make connections, to experience the world in new ways. Poetry invites us to discover what has been overlooked or hidden. Poetry invites us to discover the common threads and truths that unite us as human beings.”

Rivere-Seel explains that Emily Dickinson recognized the power of poetry when she wrote:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind —

For more information about Welcome Poetry visit weymouthcenter.org. Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, a 501 (c)(3) organization and home to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is located at 555 East Connecticut Ave., in Southern Pines.