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Showing posts with label Echoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Echoes. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2008

Glenda Barrett Publishes Poetry Chapbook



By Brenda Kay Ledford
Like peeling an apple and slicing it, Glenda Barrett gets to the core in her poetry chapbook, WHEN THE SAP RISES. Finishing Line Press in Georgetown, KY published the book.
Barrett describes with her Southern voice hardships, heartaches, health issues, family, farming and fishing. She writes the way she lives—unpretentious. There’s a reverence for the land and her ancestors. She says in her poem, “Echoes”:
…I can follow in the footsteps
of my ancestors,
people who were truthful,
who held firm to their beliefs
and rose above their hardships.
People whose voices still echo
across these Blue Ridge Mountains.
“I was born here, and I’ll die here!”
Her ancestors worked hard on the farm to feed their family. They hoed the fields in the hot sun, but loved the land. In the poem, “Southern Soil,” they proudly said, “I own this land all the way to the top of the mountain. I’ll not sell one piece of this land the longest day that I live.”
A native of Hiawassee, Georgia, Barrett recalls hoeing the cornfield as a teenager. In her imagination, she can still hear the sharp click of her hoe hitting the hard, stony ground.
Her father was a farmer. He plowed gardens for neighbors, didn’t charge a dime. When Barrett sees corn ripening and bales of hay scattered across a pasture, she thinks of him.
Barrett has fond memories of her grandma. They fished together, had picnics of Vienna Sausage and soda crackers. She recalls walking barefoot as a girl over the dirt road to her grandmother’s house. It was a place filled with unconditional love.
It’s no wonder Barrett dedicated her poetry chapbook to her grandmother, Hattie Foster. She told Barrett wonderful stories and inspired her to become a writer.
The title of her book, WHEN THE SAP RISES, came from her grandmother’s sayings. She predicted the weather by observing nature. Barrett writes in her poem, “When the Sap Rises”:
... “See those thick corn shucks.
We can be on the lookout
for a rough winter.”
One day when I visited, she said,
“In the spring of the year, when the sap
rises is a hard time for sick folks,
another time is in the fall,
when the sap goes down.”
The sap seems to rise on the cover of Barrett’s poetry chapbook. She painted an old-time house including a rock chimney, tin roof, a giant tree in the yard, a front porch, and greens in the garden. A dirt road circles the farmhouse and merges with a lavender sunset over the misty mountains. It’s serene and flows with an undercurrent of faith.
Barrett took an oil painting class at Young Harris College and received an Associate of Arts Degree in 1969. She’s painted over thirty years and her art is displayed on the online art gallery, Yessy.com.
She also studied at North Georgia College and took creative writing under Nancy Simpson at Tri-County Community College. Barrett worked twenty years in the health care profession before she developed a neuromuscular disease.
The doctors echoed words like heredity and genetics before giving her the diagnosis. “At times, I am silent, stare into space, and retreat to a place no one else can go,” she says in her poem, “Family Ties”. It’s a place where she no longer wonders what her father thought.
Her poem, “Kindred Spirit,” describes a cardinal at the feeder. Barrett feels a deep connection with the bird because it is blind in one eye. She expresses her health issues in this verse:
…A feeling of knowing,
no matter what happens,
there will always be hope
and endless possibilities.
The moisture from my breath
leaves a circle on the windowpane,
and I watch from my scooter,
until the cardinal flies out of sight.
Barrett is recovering from a recent surgery on her foot. She’s in a scooter now, but hopes to walk soon. She finds comfort in her family and talking with friends on the telephone. She also enjoys reading and crafting poetry.
A member of North Carolina Writers’ Network-West, Barrett’s work has appeared in many magazines and five anthologies. Her poetry has been published in Kaleidoscope, Nostalgia, Wellspring, Hard Row to Hoe, Living with Loss Magazine, A Time of Singing, Mindprints Journal, Wordgathering Journal, Farming Magazine, Artists Against Domestic Violence, and Nantahala Review. She has poetry upcoming in Breath and Shadow.
According to Nancy Simpson, “Glenda Barrett gives us the most authentic Appalachian voice to rise out of the southern mountains in years. Whether she is eating an apple with a knife or if she is knee deep fishing in Owl Creek, here is a woman who is as immersed in her environment as in her daily existence. Barrett’s concerns for family and heritage go beyond what happened, for her poems celebrate life, transcend sorrow, and show the reader what was learned.”
Barrett’s books are available locally at Mary Ann’s Restaurant in Young Harris, Georgia. You may also order online at: http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.finishinglinepress.com/ .
This article first appeared in the Smoky Mountain Sentinel newspaper.