Joseph Bathanti is the Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he has bachelor and master’s degrees in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. Bathanti came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he is also the Writer-in-Residence for the University’s Watauga Global Community and Director of Writing in the Field.
Bathanti is the author of seven books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal, nominated for The National Book Award, and winner of the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer; Land of Amnesia, in 2009; and, Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year; and Sonnets of The Cross. His new book of poems, Concertina, is forthcoming from Mercer University Press.
His first novel, East Liberty, winner of the Carolina Novel Award, was published in 2001 by Banks Channel Books in Wilmington, NC. His latest novel, Coventry, winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award, was published by Novello Festival Press in Charlotte, North Carolina. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. His collection of short stories, The High Heart, winner of the 2006 Spokane Prize, was published by Eastern Washington University Press in Fall 2007. His collection of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the 2012 Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is forthcoming from Mercer University Press.
Bathanti is the recipient of Literature Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (for poetry) and 2009 (for fiction); The Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; a Fellowship from The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry; the Bruno Arcudi Literature Prize; the Ernest A Lynton Faculty Award for Professional Service and Academic Outreach; the Aniello Lauri Award for Creative Writing (in 2001 and 2007); the Linda Flowers Prize; the Sherwood Anderson Award; the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize; the 2011 Donald Murray Prize; the 2012 Ragan-Rubin Award for Literary Achievement; the 2012 Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, the 2013 Mary Frances Hobson Prize; and others.
He was the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the Western Region for the North Carolina Poetry Society for 2011-12.