Professor Presents Lecture at Centennial Celebration
(Rocky Mount, NC) Nash Community College Humanities Professor Dr. Mary Wayne Watson will present her lecture, John Charles McNeill: Poet Laureate's Home Songs, at the centennial celebration of the Town of Wagram on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at Charles F. Murray Park in Wagram, NC. Watson is a native of the Sandhills area having been born and raised in Wagram in Scotland County, NC. She is the great-niece of John Charles McNeill, a beloved 20th century poet, lawyer, and legislator.
John Charles McNeill's poetry featuring the landscapes of the Sandhills of North Carolina is not epic in scope; rather, his subject matter is that of "the little loves and sorrows," and "the leafy lanes and birthsteads of [his] sires." He was skilled at the oral tradition of storytelling in regional dialect, but he also used conventional poetic forms. Because of his enormous popularity as a poet, achieved largely because of his regular contributions to The Charlotte Observer, he was elected a state legislator, but his heart was in his poetry. Although McNeill died in 1907 at age 33, his poetry captures audiences today partly because it is so accessible. This presentation will place his work in a historical context and will include readings and songs from his poetry.
As part of her presentation for the Wagram centennial celebration, Dr. Watson will highlight the contributions of Wagram's two most notable literary figures, John Charles McNeill and Gerald White Johnson, both members of her extended family that settled in the area nearly two hundred years ago.
Watson received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Virginia. She teaches English composition, research writing, American and British literature and film at Nash Community College. Dr. Watson is a lecturer in the Road Scholars program sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council.
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Kelley Deal Nash Community College Public Relations Director 252-451-8235