Anna Lena Phillips Bell Named 2019-21 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for Eastern North Carolina

Thursday, August 01, 2019

The North Carolina Poetry Society has appointed Anna Lena Phillips Bell, lecturer in the UNCW Department of Creative Writing, the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for eastern North Carolina for 2019-21.

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series was created by the North Carolina Poetry Society to support the organization’s mission to “foster the reading, writing and enjoyment of poetry” in the state. Three distinguished poets from eastern, central and western North Carolina will mentor a middle school, high school, and college or university student, respectively. The series was created in 2003 on the advice of Fred Chappell, the North Carolina Poet Laureate at the time of its inception.

“Anna Lena embodies a rare combination of inspiration, rigor and a deep creativity married to a sharp, dogged intelligence,” said David Gessner, chair of the Department of Creative Writing. “In both her writing and teaching she is not afraid to have fun, but she never forgets that making art is also a serious business, especially in times like these.”

Anna Lena Philips Bell received her B.A. from Guilford College in 2000 and MFA from Emerson College in 2006. In addition to working as a lecturer at UNCW, Bell is the editor of Ecotone magazine and the creative writing department’s literary imprint, Lookout Books.

Bell’s work has appeared in publications such as the Southern Review, the Anthology of Appalachian Writers and 32 Poems. In 2016, Bell published Ornament, winner of the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the North Carolina Arts Fellowship, Southern Women Writers Conference Emerging Writers Award in poetry and the Durham County Arts Council Emerging Artist grant.

Bell’s position as a mentor for students for the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poetry Series highlights excellence in teaching, community engagement and student focus, key values outlined in UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

Poets of all ages may apply for mentorship through the series; applications are due on November 15. For more information on Bell’s nomination and the Gilbert-Chapell Distinguished Poet Series, visit the North Carolina Poetry Society's website.

-- Fairley Lloyd ’20