UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

In Memoriam: Kathryn Stripling Byer

Kathryn Stripling Byer, first woman poet laureate of North Carolina, died June 5. Byer first came to UNCG in 1966 as a student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing. She studied with Fred Chappell and Robert Watson, among others, and formed a strong connection with the writing community.

After her graduation from UNCG, Byer worked at Western Carolina University, becoming poet-in-residence in 1990. She joined UNCG’s faculty for a period in the mid-1990s as a visiting professor. She published six books of poetry, including “Descent,” which won the 2013 Southern Independent Booksellers Association Award for Poetry. Her poetry has been widely anthologized and her poetry and prose have appeared in Hudson Review, Poetry, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Poetry Review. She was also known for her blogs, “My Laureate’s Lasso,” “Here, Where I Am” and “The Mountain Woman.”

Byer earned many honors as a writer. She was a recipient of fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was named North Carolina Poet Laureate in 2005 by former governor Mike Easley and held the post through 2009.

Byer is remembered as a supportive and generous mentor for young writers. She gave much of her time to literary events and enhanced public awareness of poetry in North Carolina and beyond.