BANNER ELK — Award-winning writer and assistant professor of English Matthew Wimberley’s debut book of poetry, “All the Great Territories,” will be celebrated during a reading event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in Evans Auditorium at the Cannon Student Center.
The event, hosted by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia, will take place just days after the book’s release on Tuesday, Feb. 4, by Southern Illinois University (SIU) Press.
The book chronicles a two-month adventure by Wimberley living out of his car, ultimately planning to spread his father’s ashes. “By trip’s end, the ashes remained, but Wimberley had begun a conversation with his deceased father that is continued here in his debut collection,” according to SIU Press.
“All the Great Territories is a book of elegies for a father as well as a confrontation with the hostile, yet beautiful landscape of southern Appalachia,” SIU Press continued. “In the wake of an estranged father’s death, the speaker confronts that loss while celebrating the geography of childhood and the connections formed between the living and the dead. The narrative poems in this collection tell one story through many: a once failed relationship, the conversations we have with those we love after they are gone. In an attempt to make sense of the father-son relationship, Wimberley embraces and explores the pain of personal loss and the beauty of the natural world.”
Wimberley earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing from North Carolina State University before completing his Master of Fine Arts in poetry from New York University. At Lees-McRae, he commonly teaches courses in Rhetoric, Wilderness Literature, Introduction to Poetry, Advanced Poetry, and Appalachian Poetry. Wimberley’s poetry focuses on 20th and 21st century works, particularly narrative works.
His work throughout the years has garnered awards including the 2015 William Matthews Prize from the Asheville Poetry Review as well as being named finalist for the 2015 Narrative Poetry Contest. Wimberley has also been selected for the 2016 Best New Poets Anthology and has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the The Greensboro Review, Diode, The Missouri Review Online, Narrative, Orion, The Paris-American, Poet Lore, Rattle and VerseDaily among others.