Joseph Bathanti

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Joseph Bathanti
Born (1953-07-20) July 20, 1953 (age 69)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Poet
  • novelist
  • professor
Alma materUniversity of Pittsburgh, BA
Notable awardsNorth Carolina Poet Laureate

Joseph Bathanti (born July 20, 1953, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American poet, novelist and professor. He was named by Governor Bev Perdue as the seventh North Carolina Poet Laureate, 2012–2014.


Early life and education[edit]

Bathanti was born July 20, 1953, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the East Liberty area of Pittsburgh.[1][2] His grandparents were immigrants from Italy and France. His working-class family included a steelworker father and a seamstress mother.[1]

After graduating from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh,[2] he attended California State College. In 1972, he transferred to the University of Pittsburgh and, in 1975, received a bachelor's degree in English.[3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Bathanti lives in Vilas, North Carolina, with his wife, Joan, and two children. Bathanti and his wife met while both were working with the VISTA program.[5]


After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Bathanti traveled to North Carolina in 1976 as part of the Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) program focusing on prison outreach.[3] He has continued to teach writing and hold workshops in prisons ever since.[5]

From 1985 to 1989, he worked closely with the North Carolina Visiting Artist Program which sought to bring talented artists from different disciplines to more rural towns and areas in the state.[5] His book They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-95 chronicled the history of the program.[3]

Bathanti is currently a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University. Also at Appalachian State, he is Director of Writing in the Field as well as Writer-in-Residence for the Watauga Global Community.[1] He also serves as a mentor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Carlow University in Pittsburgh.[6]

He was installed as the seventh North Carolina Poet Laureate on September 20, 2012, at a ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina.[5] Over the next two years he became an "ambassador of N.C. literature" and was free to create his own long-term projects. The position requires the laureate to participate in various literary activities across the state, working with "schools, community groups, and the press."[7]

Since his appointment, he has been a part of over 250 events around North Carolina. In 2014, Bathanti was named the first scholar-in-residence for the Heinz History Center's Italian American Program in Pittsburgh. Focusing on Italian American history, he will create a body of work developed from the center's Italian American Collection.[8]


Bathanti has received many awards and honors including:



  • Communion Partners (Briarpatch Press, 1986)
  • Anson County (Williams & Simpson, 1989; reprinted: Parkway Publishers, 2005)
  • The Feast of All Saints (Nightshade press, 1994)
  • This Metal (St. Andrews College Press, 1996; reprinted: Press 53, 2012)
  • Land of Amnesia (Press 53, 2009)
  • Restoring Sacred Art (Star Cloud Press, 2010)
  • "Concertina" (Mercer University Press, 2013)


  • East Liberty (Banks Channel Books, 2001)
  • Coventry (Novello Festival Press, 2006)
  • The High Heart (Eastern Washington University Press, 2007); short stories
  • The Life of the World to Come: A Novel (University of South Carolina Press, 2014)



  1. ^ a b c "About Joseph Bathanti". North Carolina Arts Council. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Sostek, Anya (September 14, 2012). "Pittsburgh native Joseph Bathanti named poet laureate of North Carolina". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Cavanaugh, Kerry. "Biography for Joseph Bathanti". Pennsylvania Center for the Book. The Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Bathanti, Joseph (July 2003). "Half Of What I Say Is Meaningless" (PDF). The Sun: 18–23. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "Joseph Bathanti named N.C. Poet Laureate". The Salisbury Post. September 2, 2012. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Joseph Bathanti MFA". Directory. Carlow University. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  7. ^ "N.C. Poet Laureate Job Description". North Carolina Arts Council. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  8. ^ Barcousky, Len (January 19, 2014). "N.C. poet laureate sets up shop in Heinz History Center". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  9. ^ "The Sam Ragan Fine Arts Awards". St. Andrews University. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "Sherwood Anderson Foundation Grant Writing Winners". Sherwood Anderson Foundation. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "Linda Flowers Literary Award". North Carolina Humanities Council. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  12. ^ "2006 Novello Literary Award Winner Announced". Novello Festival Press. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. December 8, 2005. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  13. ^ "Spokane Prize for Short Fiction". Willow Springs Editions. Eastern Washington University. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  14. ^ "N.C. English Teachers Association selects Joseph Bathanti as 2012 Ragan-Rubin Award winner". University News. Appalachian State University. August 10, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.

External links[edit]