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Anthony S. Abbott Biography


The winner of the 2015 NC Award for Literature from the State of North Carolina, Anthony S. Abbott is the author of seven books of poetry, two novels, and four books of literary criticism. His newest book, The Angel Dialogues (Lorimer Press, 2014), is the recipient of honorable mention in the 2015 Brockman-Camppbell competition of the NC Poetry Society, and his 2011 book of poems, If Words Could Save Us, was the co-winner in that same 2012. His acclaimed first novel, Leaving Maggie Hope, won the Novello Award in 2003 and was published by Novello Press.


Born in San Francisco and educated at the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts and Kent School in Kent, Connecticut, he received his A.B. from Princeton University, Magna cum laude, in 1957. With the support of a Danforth Fellowship he received his A.M. from Harvard University in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1962. 


An instructor in English at Bates College for three years beginning in 1961, he joined the English Department at Davidson College in 1964.  He became Full Professor in 1979 and was named Charles A. Dana Professor of English in 1990. He served as the Chair of the Department from 1989 to 1996. 


Modern Drama, creative writing, and literature and religion his major fields of interest, he is the author of two critical studies, Shaw and Christianity and The Vital Lie: Reality and Illusion in Modern Drama. His first volume of poems, The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat, was published by St. Andrews Press in 1989 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His second poetry collection, A Small Thing Like a Breath was published by St. Andrews Press in 1993, and his third, The Search For Wonder in the Cradle of the World in 2000. A fourth collection, The Man Who, received the Oscar Arnold Young Award and was published by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2005. 


His 2003 novel, Leaving Maggie Hope, was followed by its sequel, The Three Great Secret Things, published in 2007 by main Street Rag Publishing Company.  He returned to poetry in 2009 with his New and Selected Poems, published by Lorimer Press, which also published his two most recent poetry collections, If Words Could Save Us and The Angel Dialogues, mentioned at the outset of this biography.


In addition to his teaching, for which Davidson College honored him in 1969 with the Thomas Jefferson Award and in 1997 with the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award, Abbott has been an active member of the local community, coordinating a Sunday School class at Davidson College Presbyterian Church and driving dialysis patients to their appointments for the Red Cross. he lectures widely on religion and literature in area churches and gives poetry workshops in Charlotte, Davidson, and Winston-Salem.  He and his wife Susan have three sons and seven grandchildren, They live at the Pines at Davidson with summers in their home on Lake Norman.


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