Shelby Stephenson

Shub’s Cooking                                                                                    


It’s more than poetry, these are historical recipes that are viable, and from his mother’s recipe box. Poems do not need forms, they need recipes, and Shelby Stephenson’s poems cook. They inter-weave ingredients with metaphors to create delicious poems that entice our palates and our imaginations. Stephenson uses ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to bake enormous poetry cakes, cakes packed with memories and sensual flavors for all. ~ Andrew Jarvis, editor, poet, and author of Choreography, Sound Points, The Ascent, and The Strait


The Hunger of Freedom                    

The Hunger of Freedom sings history, 19th century and 20th century, with distinct cadence. The author, Shelby Stephenson explores family, ancestors, ghosts and landscape with razor-sharp clarity. This detailed collection of affecting poems depicts a sense of place and the slaves who toiled there.

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Shelby Stephenson graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (B.A. 1960) where he also studied law, University of Pittsburgh (M.A. 1967), University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D. 1974), and worked as a radio and television announcer, salesman, right-of-way agent, and farmer. He was professor of English and editor of Pembroke Magazine until his retirement in 2010. The state of North Carolina presented him with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature. And he has received the Bellday Poetry Prize, the Oscar Arnold Young Award, the Zoe Kincaid-Brockman Award, the Brockman-Campbell Award, the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Prize, and the Playwright’s Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize.  You can find more information about Shelby at

On February 2, 2015 Shelby was installed as the Poet Laureate of North Carolina.   The program featured one of his poems from Hunger of Freedom, titled “This Place, Their Praise.”