Cathy Smith Bowers ’72 ,’76 already was overcommitted, but she has juggled her workload in order to welcome a two-year appointment as North Carolina’s poet laureate. She loves the idea of showcasing the exceptional talent of poets in the state. “We will be able to shine a light on writers across North Carolina,” she said. ”We’ll also encourage others who have always had the urge to write but perhaps don’t know how to begin.”
Based out of Tryon, N.C., Smith Bowers teaches in the M.F.A. in Creative Writing program at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., where she received the 2002 J.B. Fuqua Distinguished Educator Award. She also teaches in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville and at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.
The magic of words is something Smith Bowers has been talking about and toying with throughout her life. Her English classes at Winthrop helped focus on the “power of language” and sparked a passion. “I write about things I’ve lost or don’t understand,” Smith Bowers said, particularly in reference to her family. “That’s how I’ve worked through many of life’s complexities and deepest mysteries.”
Smith Bowers is the author of four poetry collections: “The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas”; “Traveling in Time of Danger”; “A Book of Minutes”; and “The Candle I Hold Up to See You.”
Her poetry has a powerful narrative drive and strong lyricism that draws on her life experiences.
She is working on a book, “The Abiding Image,” that will bring together notes from her lectures and seminars for beginning poets. Smith Bowers’ thoughts on poetry can be found on YouTube, thanks to the N.C. Arts Commission. The group produced several videos to highlight Smith Bowers’ work, including the induction ceremony on Feb. 10, 2010.
She also can be heard on the radio show, “Word Play,” at naturespoetry.blogspot.com.