Valerie Macon

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Valerie Macon
Born 1950
Occupation civil servant, poet
Alma mater Adelphi University, Meredith College
Notable awards North Carolina Poet Laureate

Valerie Macon (born 1950) is an American civil servant and poet. She was named by Governor Pat McCrory as the eighth North Carolina Poet Laureate, a position she was set to hold from 2014 to 2016.[1] Appointed on July 11, 2014, she subsequently resigned on July 17, 2014 amid controversy over the appointment.[2] Macon continues to work for the state's Department of Health and Human Services processing claims for Disability Income Benefit and Social Security Benefits. Her two books of poetry prior to her appointment to North Carolina poet laureate were self-published in 2011 and 2014.[3]

A third book was published by Main Street Rag Publishing in May 2015.


Macon studied business at Adelphi University and also attended Meredith College. Macon lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina and has worked as a disability determination specialist at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services since 1997.[4] As of July 20, 2014, Macon was listed as Recording Secretary[5] of the North Carolina Poetry Society.


The governor's July 11 announcement indicated that Macon's books "Shelf Life" and "Sleeping Rough" were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. While true, critics have pointed to the prize's limited rules which make her books ineligible.[6][7] Prior to being taken down, Macon's website listed her as a Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet, though she later "confirmed she wasn't," only having been "mentored by a poet who had won that honor," Becky Gould Gibson.[4]


Macon's qualifications for the position have been questioned and McCrory was criticized for bypassing the establishing process and making the appointment without consulting the North Carolina Arts Council for input.[8][9] Kathryn Stripling Byer, the state's fifth poet laureate, acknowledged that while there is no law requiring the governor to consult with the Arts Council, the process has always been more open and democratic in the past.[4]

McCrory later claimed that he was "not aware of the traditional process that was in place" for selecting the state's poet laureate.[10] Macon subsequently resigned the post on July 18.[11]


Macon's initial work was self-published through Old Mountain Press of Sylva, North Carolina.[3] A third book was published in May 2015 through Main Street Rag Publishing and received praise from Shelby Stephenson, the laureate appointed after Valerie Macon's resignation. It is entitled "A String of Black Pearls."


  • 'Shelf Life' (2011)[12]
  • 'Sleeping Rough” (2014)[13]
  • "A String of Black Pearls" (2015)


  1. ^ McCrory, Pat (11 July 2014). "Governor McCrory Appoints State Poet and Laureate". Office of the Governor of North Carolina. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Associated Press 7:55 p.m. EDT July 17, 2014. "Uproar: Self-published poet laureate in NC resigns". Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  3. ^ a b Neal, Dale (16 July 2014). "McCrory's pick for state poet draws protests". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c MENCONI, DAVID (14 July 2014). "McCrory picks poet laureate without input, rankles poetry community". The News & Observer. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Officers of NCPS". 
  6. ^ "Pushcart Prize". 
  7. ^ "A self-published poet laureate? North Carolina pick draws controversy". Christian Science Monitor. 
  8. ^ Vitiello, Chris (16 July 2014). "Opinion: McCrory's mean joke, a poet laureate who's barely a poet". Indy Week. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Steelman, Ben. "Poet laureate — the plot thickens". Wilmington StarNews. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  10. ^ Waggoner, Martha (16 July 2014). "NC gov. says he will review poet laureate process". The News & Observer. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "Valerie Macon's letter of resignation" (PDF). 
  12. ^ "Shelf Life". Old Mountain Press. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sleeping Rough". Old Mountain Press. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 

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