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Frank Borden Hanes’s Poem that Almost Got Away

Friday from the Archives: “A Poem that Almost Got Away” by James W. Clark, Jr. and “Evening Hatch” by Frank Borden Hanes, Sr. from NCLR 31 (2022).

“Winston-Salem journalist, novelist, and poet, the late Frank Borden Hanes, Sr. (1920–2013) left an unpublished fly-fishing poem meandering among his family and friends when he died at age ninety- three. Today a broader audience can enjoy “Evening Hatch” because of the generosity of the poet’s three children, Borden, Nancy, and Robin. They cherish, as you will, their father’s fervent memorial to friendships through fishing. Writing from his heart, Frank dedicated “Evening Hatch” to his cousin Hugh G. Chatham (1921–1985). This private poem is now being shared.”

“Frank Hanes authored three collections of poetry, five works of fiction – some of them in verse – and three biographical studies. For two of his books, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association presented him coveted prizes: the Roanoke-Chowan Award in 1953 for his blank verse narrative Abel Anders (1951) and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award in 1961 for The Fleet Rabble, a novel about Chief Joseph and the Nez Percé tribe’s failed attempt to escape to Canada.”

“As complete an angler as he was a poet, Frank Borden Hanes, if giving a public reading of “Evening Hatch,” would explain a few specific references in his poem. For example, “mending” is the fly fisherman’s term for casting an upstream curve into the fly line. A “tippet” is a segment of the line between the leader and the fly itself. A common knot that connects the leader to the tippet is called a “surgeon,” and “Adams” is a major source of fly-fishing tackle. A “Green Drake” fly looks like a may-fly known as nature’s trout candy, and a parachute is a lure of that insect with its hackle, or feathers, wrapped horizontally under the hook. Savor this recovered gem.” –James W. Clark

The Hanes family supports the Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence program in the English & Comparative Literature Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. From their website: “The program honors the late Frank Borden Hanes, Sr., (Class of 1942). Mr. Hanes has long been a gracious supporter of Creative Writing at Carolina and has made gifts with powerful lasting impact. He endowed the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship, which brings highly promising young writers to the Creative Writing Program, and he also supported the teaching and creativity of our Creative Writing faculty in countless ways. Mr. Hanes himself was a passionate author, a proud and loyal alumnus, and an outstanding citizen of our state.”

The 2023 writer-in-residence is Monique Truong, a writer who has appeared in NCLR numerous times. She will be doing a free public reading on March 28th in Chapel Hill. Find out more information on the UNC English Department website.

See more art by Fen Rascoe on his website.

Read the entire 2022 issue on ProQuest or order the issue for your collection.