Saturday, August 5, 2017

Written on Thursday, August 3, in honor of Kay Byer

This week I am honoring my friend, Kathryn Stripling Byer, who died on June 5, by posting some of the photos I've made over the years and some from her blog.

Her family is honoring her at The Community Table in Sylva, NC on Saturday, August 5, 3:00 p.m. Her husband, Jim Byer has selected some of her poems to be read and her favorite music to be played.

I am sure the place will be filled. Kathryn was absolutely loved and admired by, not only writers and poets, but everyone who knew her. 

On her Facebook page, her admirers have poured out their heart-felt sadness at her passing, and they have told stories of her generosity. I and others were often surprised when she brought us gifts from her travels around the country. She was thoughtful of others even when they were not present. 

She had a heart way bigger than almost anyone I know. When I told her of a person in serious need, she promptly sent a check to help out. But it was her caring and giving of herself that I will always remember. It has been evident in the past couple of years that she was an advocate for those less fortunate and those who did not have a voice. She spoke out for the underdog and demanded her government representatives speak out as well. 

You can find a number of videos of her reading her poetry and talking about poetry on You Tube.  Just search for Kathryn Stripling Byer.

As Poet Laureate of North Carolina, she broke the glass ceiling. No woman had ever held that title before Kathryn. She visited schools, traveled and read poetry and talked to groups from Murphy to Manteo, NC.

Kathryn had a special blog for her laureateship. And she wrote a monthly column as well.

This is one of her columns.
Roots and Bedrock 

By Kathryn Stripling Byer 

Labels can corral us and keep us from thinking outside that enclosure. Most Southerners,

for example, pride themselves on being conservative, yet few seem to remember the root

of the word itself. When people speak of “conservative values,” they are using a catch

phrase that refers hardly at all to what the word really means. When I remember how my

grandmother saved every button, every recipe, every morsel of food left on the table, or

how my grandfather cherished and cared for every square inch of his farm, I know that

this is where real conservative values begin. (read the rest of the article here.)
Here Where I Am is a great place to  learn about poetry, about how to  write poetry and what poetry meant to Kay Byer.
In Voice Lessons Craft Tip and Prompt she praises Diane Lockwood's book, The Crafty Poet. When the latest edition of it came out, Kay sent me a copy. Just another example of her generous nature. She loved promoting other writers and poets on her blogs or Facebook or wherever she could.  

Kathryn Byer made a difference in the lives of many writers whether poets or novelists, beginning writers who needed encouragement, older writers who needed help with modern publishing, or those of us who needed to reach a writer in North Carolina but didn't know him or her. Kay was my  go-to person for all things literary in our state or in the country. I miss her.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

This is a lovely tribute to a woman who will obviously be much missed. And who made the world a better place.