Cathy Smith Bowers: now up on the Wordplay Archive ...
One of the pleasures of putting Wordplay together these last four years has been that I've gotten to know lots of poets whose work I wasn't familiar with. There are, what, ten thousand active poets in the US these days? And more publications, both paper and digital, than ever. It's not difficult to miss someone, even a poet who's doing really remarkable work. And it's always a treat to come across a poet whose work makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up in delight and surprise.
One of the poets I'm now happy to have discovered in this sense is Cathy Smith Bowers. She lives not too far from Asheville, in the town of Tryon, but she's taught for many years at Queens College in Charlotte, and so has been more active as a poet in that city than up here in the hills. Happily, for the last several years she's also taught in the Great Smokies Writing Program, and it was there, I believe, that Stephanie Biziewski, one of the original Wordplay team, came across her, and had her vision of the world deepened. Stephanie invited her to do a show in the very first season of Wordplay, on November 13, 2005; Gillian Coats and Lori Horvitz engineered and produced. A little over a year later, when Sebastian Matthews, Laura Hope-Gill and I were co-hosting the show, we invited her on again, and she visited the studio on January 28, 2007. Both shows are now up on the Wordplay archive.
A couple of weeks ago, in honor of the publication of her new book The Candle I Hold Up to See You and her reading the same day at Malaprops, I took those two shows, added some music Cathy likes, and made a third show out of the mix. It needs a little editing (the station stream was doing some strange things that Sunday), but will be going up soon, as well.
In the meantime, enjoy these classics from the early years of Wordplay, and the work of Cathy Smith Bowers.
Photo: One of my shots of Cathy Smith Bowers reading at Malaprops, September 20, 2009.