Pamlico Writers host Poet Laureate Competition at Pamlico Books

The Pamlico Writers’ Group will be hosting its competition for the 2021 Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate who will represent all of Eastern North Carolina. The contest will take place at 4 PM on Sunday, September 26, at Pamlico Books, 149 North Market Street, Washington. The candidates are Christina Ruotolo of Geenville and Michelle Flye of New Bern. Both bring impressive resumes and diverse literary styles. Due to Covid, the event will be restricted to a small gathering; however, the program will be videotaped for public viewing on Pamlico Writers’ Group website.

Michelle Flye has been a lover of poetry since first reading e.e. cummings in third grade. She feels that the best way to promote poetry is through classes with children. Michelle has taught several poetry workshops for third, fourth and fifth graders at Epiphany School of Global Studies. In the summer of 2019, she published her first poetry booklet “Times and Ties.” In November 2020, she authored a graphic novel, Hourglass, and in April 2021 authored Unsung: A collection of illustrated poetry. She is the publisher and editor of Next Chapter Literary Magazine and the owner of The Next Chapter Books & Art in New Bern. Michelle often publishes poetry on her blog Her collection 100 Warm Days of Haiku will be released shortly.

Flye said, “Being an independent author myself, I am aware of the challenges that face any artist. I’m happy to have a place where my own books have a home, and even happier to provide a place for other artists to bring their work.” Michelle feels that her book store is the perfect vehicle in which to promote writing and writers.

Christina Ruotolo is the Editor of Her Magazine, Hot Dish writer and a Multi-Media Specialist at The Daily Reflector Newspaper in Greenville, NC. She is also an adjunct creative writing instructor at Pitt Community College, part-time bookseller at Barnes & Noble and current member of the Pamlico Writers’ Group. She is an award-winning poet, was shortlisted for the 2019 James Applewhite Poetry Award, and a semifinalist for the 2020 Alex Albright Nonfiction Award. Her poetry awards include 1st Place in the 2017 Pamlico Writers Poetry Contest- “A Touch of Southern,” 2nd Place in the 2010 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards- “Bayou Bay,” and an Honorable Mention in the 2009 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards. She was the winner of the 2009 Wildacres Writing Experience Scholarship and has received over twenty-five NC Press Association Awards. Ruotolo is the author of the Poetry Book- The Butterfly Net, creator & co-author of the nonfiction book, The Day The Earth Moved Haiti. Ruotolo has a BA in English literature and communications as well as an MA in creative nonfiction from East Carolina University. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Petigru Review, Reflections (Pamlico 2017 compilation) and in various other magazines and journals.

Eileen Lettick, chair of the poet laureate search committee, stated, “Our outgoing Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate, Malaika King Albrecht, will be a tough act to follow. She has served us well and given much to the Eastern Carolina poet community and to our organization. It is our good fortune to have found her. The Pamlico Writers are excited to see which of the two highly accomplished candidates will follow in Malaika’s footsteps.” Ms. Flye and Ms. Ruotolo will compete for the title of 2021 Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate and a cash award before a panel of three judges and a small live audience. For more information, please visit

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