Sunday, November 16, 2008
SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY has been published by McFarland Press as No. 20 in its Southern Appalachian Studies Series. Below is a review by Scott Nicholson, The Mountain Times, Boone, NC.
APPALACHIAN POETRY BOOK HITS SHELVES By Scott Nicholson
A new collection reveals the poetic influences of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and their culture.
Southern Appalachian Poetry is edited by Marita Garin of Black Mountain and is No. 20 in McFarland Books' series, Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies.
Garin's book collects works by 37 poets, mainly from the last century. The 225 poems touch on not only the scenic beauty of the mountains, but the people that give the region its special place in the literary canon.
While many of the included poets are native to the mountains, a solid precentage have either visited the region or were born in the Southern Appalachians and later moved away. However, their experiences give a fresh insight into the folklore because their impressions are colored by time and distance, as well as the comparative quality of flatland, city life.
The region's narrative, embodied by dialect, syntax and storytelling rhythms, suggest the changing traditions of the mountains, from backwoods folk wisdom to tourist influence, development and technological advances.
Several of the poets have distinct Watauga County roots. John Foster West, whose Carolina bloodline goes back to the American Revolution, studied literature at several universities and as a professor helped found Appalachian State University's creative writing program. He retired after 21 years from ASU in 1990. He's published the books Time Was, Appalachian Dawn, The Summer People and The Ballad of Tom Dula, as well as the poetry collections: This Proud Land and Wry Wine. West contributes seven poems to the anthology, including "Winter Folk", where he writes:
"On summer nights they carry winter in worn pockets
And snow beneath battered hats.
Let low-country intruder approach a cove
And eyes as gray as icicle fangs measure stranger
For size, honesty, and intent." from Winterfolk.
Isabel Zuber was born and raised in Boone and confesses in her introduction that she doesn't know what it means to be an Appalachian writer. " I may not be thinking of the mountains when I write, but perhaps they are there anyway, with the wild strain coming through it. I hope so."
Ron Rash, whose mother's family hails from Watauga County, has achieved acclaim for novels like One Foot in Eden, which was Appalachian Book of the Year in 2002. Rash is also known for his poems and short stories. The collection also features Robert Morgan, author of five novels, including 2000 best seller Deep Gap and a recent biography of Daniel Boone. Former N.C. Poet Laureate Fred Chappell has several epic poems included.
Other authors represented are Bob Henry Baber, Joseph Barrett, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Mark DeFoe, Charles Dickson, Hilda Downer, Gregory Dykes, Richard Hague, Marc Harsman, Don Johnson, Stephen Knauth, Mary Kratt, P.J. Laska, George Ella Lyon, Jeff Daniel Marion, Michael McFee, Liewellyn McKernan, Irene McKinney, Louise McNeill, Jim Wayne Miller, Valerie Nieman, Lee Pennington, Bettie Sellers, Vivian Shipley, Nancy Simpson, R.T. Smith, Bob Snyder, Katherine Soniat, James Still and Charles Wright.
For More information visit mcfarlandpub.com.