Appalachian Arts Center, a part of Southwest Virginia Community College, will host its inaugural Mary Sue Dean Spring Poet on May 24, 2017 at 7:30 PM. This year’s poet is Rob Merritt, Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and letters at Bluefield College. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina and the University of Kentucky where he earned a PhD. Dr. Merritt has published in a number of journals and anthologies. He has also published the poetry collections Landscape Architects and The Language of Longing as well as the critical study Early Music and the Aesthetics of Ezra Pound. He lived and taught in Nanjing, China where he visited Pearl Buck’s house. Fittingly, he is now a board member of the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation in West Virginia.
This spring poetry reading is aimed at bringing established poets to the AAC for our education and enjoyment. The spring series is named in honor of Mary Sue Dean, a retired and highly respected English teacher who taught at Richlands High School as well as other schools. She is a graduate of Radford University. She became legendary for her strict but kind teaching of English grammar. She is sometimes jokingly referred as the “Grammar Nazi.” Years after finishing Ms. Dean’s classes, her students were quite quick to admit their good fortune in having her as a teacher who taught them well for life after school. In addition to her teaching duties, she has long been active in her community, the Cedar Bluff United Methodist Church and for over a decade served as an assistant editor of the journal Chiropractic History.
The Appalachian Arts Center (in the old Archie Helton store) is located on US Route 19 half-way between Claypool Hill and Southwest Virginia Community College. There is parking behind the building. Refreshments will be served. Reading is free and opened to the public. However, small contributions from any poetry partners will be gladly accepted to help bring more poets to our area.