"Fred was selected as an Academy of American Poets Laureate fellow last year, one of 13 poets chosen nationwide, in recognition for their poetic merit and to support their own civic program," Lavelle said.
Joiner said one of the biggest projects he is working on right now in his role as the chairperson of the board of the Orange County Arts Commission is planning to create arts spaces in the old Eno River Mill in Hillsborough.
"I think it will be a great space for literary work and for other types of art,” he said.
Joiner said he and the Orange County Arts Commission are hoping to use the Eno Mill space to draw in a community of artists both locally and nationally and bring more art to Hillsborough.
“We are hoping to activate that space with artists and creative energy," he said. "The first phase of it is artist studios. We just got a contract with an artist who is a well known artist in the area who went to Chapel Hill and did his graduate school work there, and we are really excited about his presence. And we are hoping that we can partner with other arts organizations to more fully activate those studios and the entire space.”
Katie Murray, director of the Orange County Arts Commission and co-director with Joiner on the Eno Arts Mill project, said Joiner has been a great resource in this new endeavor.
“He is such a visionary and such a source of inspiration having lived in other places and seen other projects and having been involved in other projects," she said. "It’s been a little daunting, and all I have to do is call Fred and tell him I’m stressing out, and he makes it all good. We’re lucky to have him here in this community.”
Joiner said ultimately in his work, he tries to have as many collaborations and partnerships as he can to expand art and creativity into the communities of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, some of which include organizing poetry readings at the coffee shop Epilogue and doing storytelling and creative writing workshops with people experiencing homelessness.
“I’m just always looking to partner and work collaboratively with organizations and individuals to highlight the art that is already here, and to engage with art and creativity that may not be here, and to build the arts structure in the county and to support artists and creative people that would stay here,“ he said.
Joiner said he considers all the work he does in the community to be an expansion of his poetry, even if it is not his writing. He tries to the keep the idea of poesis — the word that poetry originates from meaning the process of making — at the center of what he does.
"I think that the activity in which a person brings something into being that didn’t exist before, is what poetry is and that’s the kind of energy and activity that I do," he said.
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