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'57 Team Veteran Believes in Power of Poetry

On the last Wednesday of each month, Carolina students are invited to read poetry composed by fellow students.

Appearing on the second page of The Daily Tar Heel, the poems are written by students of creative writing lecturer and poet Michael Chitwood, who supplies each poem with a short bio of the student writer.

This poetry feature is made possible by Bob Young ’57, one of the five surviving members of the 1957 men’s basketball team that won Carolina’s first national championship in their sport. Young buys ads titled “Tar Heel Verses” that include the poems and the student writers’ bios.

The poems honor the team and Young’s wife, Pat, a poetry lover who died in 2015. “Verses” ads were published weekly in the spring 2016 semester. Then, Michael McFee ’76, also on UNC’s English department faculty, supplied poems written by his students in his senior honors poetry writing class. In fall 2016, the poems began appearing monthly, and the plan is for them to continue through the end of this academic year.

In 1957, the undefeated Carolina team (32-0) beat heavily favored Kansas in triple overtime in the championship and Michigan State in triple overtime the night before.

“Everybody graduated and went on to successful careers,” Young said. “To me, that was pretty remarkable.” Young worked in marketing and advertising in New York; he now lives in Naples, Fla.

Recently, he bequeathed $2 million to the University for a professorship in poetry.

“People may not take poetry because they feel intimidated,” Young said. “But it’s important for them to read and listen to it because it will stimulate their thinking.”

L J Toler ’76


For an example of Y0ung’s poetry initiative in The DTH, see www.scribd.com/document/332743139/The-Daily-Tar-Heel-for-Nov-30-2016.


 

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