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Photo of Michael McFee, taken by Sarah Boyd

Doris Betts Term Professor

M.A. in English, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1978

A.B. in English, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1976


A native of Asheville, Michael McFee ’76 has taught in the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1990. He is the author of eleven books of poetry—including five published by Carnegie Mellon University Press: We Were Once Here, That Was Oasis, Shinemaster, Earthly, and Colander—and two collections of essays, Appointed Rounds: Essays (Mercer University Press) and The Napkin Manuscripts: Selected Essays and an Interview (University of Tennessee Press). He has received the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South, from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association.


  • A Long Time to Be Gone. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2022. [One of twelve collections of poetry written by MM.]
  • The Smallest Talk. Durham, N.C.: Bull City Press, 2007. [One of twelve collections of poetry written by MM.]
  • Sad Girl Sitting on a Running Board. Frankfort, Kentucky: Gnomon Press, 1991. [One of twelve collections of poetry written by MM.]
  • Appointed Rounds: Essays. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, February 2018.  [One of two books of essays written by MM.]
  • The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat: Poems by Fifteen Contemporary North Carolina Poets, edited by Michael McFee. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994. Second printing, 1999.  [One of three anthologies edited by MM.]

Teaching Awards

  • Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2004.
  • Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professorship, 2000-2005.
  • James M. Johnston Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1998.
  • Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1994.


  • North Carolina Award in Literature, 2018
  • Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2017.
  • “Graduate of Distinction,” T. C. Roberson High School, Skyland, NC, 2015.
  • R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for Literary Achievement, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, 2010.
  • Women’s Leadership Council Faculty Mentoring Award, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2010.
  • James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South, from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, 2009.
  • Thomas Wolfe Literary Award, Western North Carolina Historical Association, 2006.
  • Poets’ Prize (New York City) for best poetry book of year in U.S., 2003 (runner-up).
  • Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, N.C. Literary & Historical Association, 2001 (co-winner).
  • Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1999.
  • “Indies” Arts Award, The Independent Weekly, Durham, NC (for “particularly praiseworthy artistic contributions to the Triangle community”), 1996.
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing–Poetry, 1987-88.
  • Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship–Poetry and Fiction, 1986.
  • North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship–Poetry, 1985-86.
  • Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, 1981-82.
  • Discovery/The Nation Award, 1980.


Courses Taught:

  • ENG 131, Introduction to Poetry Writing
  • ENG 133H, First-Year Honors Introduction to Poetry Writing
  • ENGL 207, Intermediate Poetry Writing
  • ENG 407, Advanced Poetry Writing
  • ENG 693H and ENG 694H, Senior Honors in Poetry Writing [a year-long seminar]

Curriculum Vitae / Resume


Email   |   (919) 962-3461
Office: Greenlaw 416