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R.A. Fountain Celebrates Possum Day with Poetry
Thursday, February 3, 2005
7 p.m. -- Free Admission

Shelby Stephenson will read his book-length poem Possum at R.A. Fountain, General Store and Internet Café, on Thursday, February 3. Stephenson's homage to the much-maligned marsupial is part of R.A. Fountain's Possum Day celebration. Area residents are invited to share their favorite possum stories after Stephenson's reading, which will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The author of eight books of poetry, Stephenson is also a professor of English at UNC-Pembroke, where he has edited Pembroke Magazine since 1979. He was honored in 1999 as writer of the year by the North Carolina Writers Conference, and in 2001 he received the North Carolina Award in Literature. Stephenson and his two brothers, Marshall and Paul, and his wife, Linda, have attracted large crowds to R.A. Fountain for their three bluegrass shows. Shelby and Linda, who live on the family farm where Shelby was raised in rural Johnston County, have also released a Hank Williams tribute CD.

"We were so poor," Stephenson said, "that we had possums for yard dogs, and most of my poems come out of that background, where memory and imagination play on one another."

Possum was published in 2004 by Bright Hill Press in Treadwell, NY. Copies will be available at the reading for $5.50.