In 1976, Joseph Bathanti left his home in Pittsburgh for a 14-month sojourn as a VISTA Volunteer with the North Carolina Department of Corrections. His new volume of poems, “Concertina” (Mercer University Press) recounts in lyrical sweep his entry into the surreal, brutal, and often terrifyingly beautiful netherworld of convicts and their keepers. It is a world with one foot still firmly planted in the old chain gang, the other venturing beyond the manacles of history into a realm of second chances, while the country, in the throes of its bicentennial celebration, still swoons from Watergate and its aftermath.
In celebration of Concertina’s release, The Scholars Bookshop inside the University Bookstore at Appalachian State University will host a poetry reading and book signing Thursday, Nov. 7, at 3:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bill Pillow at email@example.com, or call (828) 262-3070.