Poetry in the Stacks

The Academy of American Poets marks each April as National Poetry Month, and it did not take much digging to find poetry among our many collections.

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Dr. Shelby Stephenson, came to mind very quickly. We are honored to be the repository for his personal and professional papers, with over 120,000 individual items in the Shelby Stephenson Papers (#04653). Materials in this collection range from personal letters, to literary rejection notices, and even conversations on bluegrass and jazz (Stephenson had an early love for the guitar).

His papers also contain many working versions of poems. Below are two drafts – one handwritten and one typed – of “Gathering Scattered Corn,” both dated November 7, 1975. The handwritten copy even includes a time (10:15 am). Click to view a larger image of each.

Handwritten draft of Stephenson's poem, "Gathering Scattered Corn"
“Gathering Scattered Corn” (longhand), in the Shelby Stephenson Papers #4653, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A later, typed draft of Stephenson's poem, "Gathering Scattered Corn"
“Gathering Scattered Corn” (typed), in the Shelby Stephenson Papers #4653, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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