Tony Abbott, Davidson’s renowned poet, professor and mentor for many Charlotte area poets, departed this life on October 3, 2020. He leaves behind a lifetime of writing and a legacy of service to the greater literary community. Among his many, many titles and accolades, Abbott was one of us, a proud member of Charlotte Writers’ Club. He served as president in 1987-88, and according to club history helped organize the third Writes of Spring, a writers’ conference. Later, he often spoke at meetings, taught workshops and judged contests.
Along with Louise Rockwell and a handful of poets and writers in the Lake Norman area, Abbott was an organizer of Charlotte Writers’ Club North. Writers from Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville faced a good 45-minute drive to Joseph Beth Booksellers where the regular Charlotte Writers’ Club meetings were held. That first meeting featured readings from Riding Out, a collection by poets Ann Campanella and Terri Wolfe. Abbott wrote about that event, “There are certain moments that shine with a peculiar intensity that we sometimes call luminous. Thursday, September 6, 2007, was one of them. Those of us in the north end needed something close to home.”
CWC North created the Anthony Abbott poetry contest for college students, which CWC continues to administer. In 2015-16, the competition was merged with the Deane Ritch Lomax Prize to form a new poetry contest with a category for college students that still bears Abbott’s name. Whether or not he judged the entries, he often came to those meetings to present the undergraduate awards.
Most recently, Abbott was seen in the audience at Main Street Books as CWC North and the Davidson bookstore launched a new title for poet Adrienne Gilman. Previously he was the warm up act, celebrating the release of new collections by Campanella and Elisa Troutman, poets he mentored. Learn more about the writing lives Professor Abbott touched in a tribute put together by our partner Charlotte Lit. A Tribute to Tony Abbott
Visit this link if you want to read his obituary or offer your condolences to the Abbott family.