Don’t know if you saw the story this past week about the uproar in North Carolina regarding the appointment governor Pat McCrory made.
Valerie Macon, a disability examiner for the state, was appointed last week as Poet Laureate and it created quite a stir. The governor came under fire for selecting someone and not including the Arts Council in the decision. Perhaps more importantly, the “establishment” questioned her credentials simply because she was self-published. Macon chose to resign this week because she did not want the negative attention surrounding her appointment to distract from the position. In an interview after her resignation she made this statement:
“I remain passionate about the mission of poetry to touch all people regardless of age, education or social status,” she wrote. “I would like to encourage everyone to read and write poetry. They do not need prestigious publishing credits or a collection of accolades from impressive organizations — just the joy of words and appreciation of self-expression.”
The Governor’s response was interesting. While saying he reluctantly accepted Macon’s resignation, McCrory also took a shot at North Carolina’s established writers, some of whom had criticized the governor for bypassing the traditional method of selecting a poet laureate. McCrory stated,
“I’m also disappointed by the way some in the poetry community have expressed such hostility and condescension toward an individual who has great passion for poetry and our state,”
What is your take on this situation? While there are much bigger things happening in publishing and in the world, I do think this is an interesting reaction from the “establishment”. It does show that self publishing has moved forward in many circles, but there are still pockets of people who think unless you follow the publishing path that has always been, you are not a “real” author. Actually this situation is consistent with my experience. Academia is still reluctant to embrace self-publishing. I think that will change in time. In fact, I think this is the last area where the indie revolution will triumph. Use the comment section to let me know your opinion.