Literature is everywhere at UNC. The libraries, while formidable storehouses of knowledge and words, only scratch the surface of our university’s rich literary history. As an English and creative writing student, I am lucky to have many encounters with literature beyond the stacks of Davis.
A few weeks ago, while sitting in the Dialectic Chamber in New West at poet Gabriel Fried’s reading, I felt like someone’s eyes were boring a hole into me. I turned to my left; lo and behold, Thomas Wolfe stared back at me.
Wolfe represents the height of literary UNC. Famous for Look Homeward, Angel, an experimental novel for its time, the North Carolina native and UNC grad has a myriad of prizes and honors in his name at the University. Of course, he deserves all the accolades, attention and name-dropping he gets, but I sometimes do think he serves as some students’ sole figurehead of the literary world at Carolina.
Apart from Wolfe, we have a strong tradition of literary excellence at our University that I believe deserves more attention. UNC has been home to lovers of the written word who are dedicated to preserving this tradition.
Luckily, their legacies live on through events and prizes. Take Blanche Armfield, for example, who graduated with a masters in poetry in 1928 from UNC. A poetry series and prize are in her name thanks to her dedication to the craft.