Native son Noel Polk dies

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, August 23, 2012

Picayune’s native son and world-renowned scholar on Southern writers, Noel Polk, has died. He was 69 years old.

He was known for his published works, and lectures all over the world, on Southern writers, mainly William Faulkner and Eudora Welty.

At the time of his death, he was considered the greatest scholar-authority on Faulkner and Welty.

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Mississippi State University on Tuesday announced his death. He was a professor emeritus at MSU.

He once lectured in Tokyo to a Faulkner society.

He published over 34 works and books during his lifetime.

He was born in Picayune in 1943, grew up in Picayune, and graduated from Picayune Memorial High School. He went on to obtain degrees from Mississippi College and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

He taught English from 1977 to 2004 at USM and later was named an English professor at MSU and also was named editor of the “The Mississippi Quarterly.”

In 2006, he won the Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award for his body of work.

He was considered a specialist in the American novel, and had edited Faulkner novels for Library of America and Random House.

The Southern Bookman called him the “pre-eminent Faulkner scholar.”

Late Wednesday afternoon funeral arrangements were pending.