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North Carolina Gets First African-American Poet Laureate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Roy Cooper has named North Carolina’s first African-American poet laureate.

Cooper announced Thursday that Jaki Shelton Green will succeed Shelby Stephenson, who was named the state’s poet laureate in February 2015. Green also is the third woman to become the state’s ambassador for poetry and the spoken word. She will be installed during a public celebration later this summer.

The Orange County native has been active in the state’s literary and teaching community for more than 40 years. She has penned eight books of poetry, co-edited two poetry anthologies and written one play. She won the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2013 and was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014.

Green teaches documentary poetry at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.

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