Distinguished poet and lifetime conservationist Brent Martin opens festival

To kick off the first day of the Spring Literary Festival, Gilbert-Chappel distinguished poet Brent Martin will be reading from a few of works on Monday, April 4, in the UC Theater, starting at noon.

Martin will be reading from some of his chapbook poetry collections titled Poems From Snow Hill Road, A Shout in the Woods, Staring the Red Earth Down, and Every Breath Sings Mountains.

Brent Martin, poet to be appearing at WCU's Spring Literary Festival

Brent Martin, poet to be appearing at WCU’s Spring Literary Festival

Martin is considered a lifetime conservationist and he lives in the historic Cowee community of WNC. During his career in conservation he has worked for the Armuchee Alliance, Georgia Forestwatch, the Land of Trust for the Little Tennessee, and the Wilderness Society. He has an MA and an ABD in History from Georgia State University in which he focused on land use patterns and the environmental history of the northwest Georgia mountains.

Not only has he written many collections of poetry, his environmental essays have appeared in the North Carolina Literary Review, Eno Journal, New Southerner, Kudzu Review, Smoky Mountain News and more. He has also published a nonfiction collection called Hunting for Camellias at Horseshoe Bend.

In an interview with Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, Martin was asked about his work with the Wilderness Society and how it has inspired his writing.

“Well, it’s actually the other way around for me.  I’m motivated to write poetry because this landscape and the creatures that inhabit it inspire and fill me with wonder.   There are great stories here, and big histories, and weird places and people – all of which I draw from daily … And I’ve of course gotten poems from some of those fantastic days when I’m in a big, wild place, and the world seems right and whole.   I approach my work as a poet most days, and see what happens,” he said.

Coordinators of the Literary Festival hope that writers like Brent Martin will bring crowds from all over campus including those from departments dealing with conservation, wildlife, and the environment as a whole.