Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
My favorite scene from Fair and Tender Ladies is when Ivy sits on the porch of her home high on the mountain. She looks down to her community below that just received electricity. She sees all the homes alight for the first time. I imagine many times she has looked below her and seen only the blackness of oak and maple in the night. That night, however, she looked down and was reminded that there were people there. There were families there. Even now as I think on that scene, I feel something bittersweet. There is a comfort in knowing you are not alone, yet a heavy sadness in watching the changing of time. There are changes that come and we either accept them peaceably or we struggle and create pain for ourselves. In that moment I believe Ivy was able to hold the immense experiences of her life, all the pains and joys, and own them. Without judgment she accepted lovingly the course of her life. Every light inside Ivy was on, and she was okay with that. This was a woman who had known suffering and ecstasy and was able to regard them all as hers in that moment. Even at 20 years old, being the daughter of mountain women, I could feel that and know it at a deeper level today.
There are so many great mountain novels, but also at the top of the list would be Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. In both of these novels, it's the female protagonist that reaches me. In Gap Creek, it's Julie Harmon. Julie is tough, strong, and stoic. She does what needs to be done, forges ahead, and keeps her mouth shut. So many times throughout the course of this novel, I vary between wanting to comfort this poor child and desiring to shake her silly. But Julie, too, is an archetype that resonates in me. She is the mountain woman that quietly endures pain at the expense of her very self. She does the work of a man, all the while secretly aching to just be a woman. Having the core of your femininity torn severely alters a woman's ability to be with other people, particularly with men, and we see this again and again with Julie. Reading Julie's story walked me through the process of dying and being re-born. It was cathartic and therapeutic, because we all have had moments when we give parts of our self away to others. Essentially, we have many deaths of our self's potential. Likewise, we always have opportunities to be the hero in our own story and get it right. This is the way of all humans, particularly the women of Appalachia.
The memories of mountain women in my cells and marrow sing “Hallelujah!” for Ivy and Julie. The novels of these hills will always be able to do that for me, and so I’ll return to them again and again.
Melissa T. Greene, MA, LPC-MHSP
Coordinator, Intensive In-Home Treatment
1921 Ransom Place
Nashville, TN 37217
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
From City Lights Book Store in Sylva, the following announcements:
(April 7-10): WCU Spring Literary Festival
Western Carolina University's sixth annual Spring Literary Festival will be held on campus in Cullowhee April 7-10 and includes a wonderful line-up of authors. Books will be available for sale at each reading, and all events are free and open to the public. As an encouragement to attendance, campus parking regulations will not be enforced for attendees from the community (as any tickets will be forgiven). For more information, please call the WCU English Department at 227-3265.
Monday, April 7, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723 Novelist Lee Smith reads from On Agate Hill. Performance of On Agate Hill by Barbara Bates Smith and Jeff Sebens immediately follows.Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia, nine-year-old Lee Smith was already writing-and selling, for a nickel apiece- stories about her neighbors in the coal boomtown of Grundy and the nearby isolated "hollers." In 1968, she published her first novel, The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723 Poet Thomas Lux will read from his work.Thomas Lux's many books of poetry include The Cradle Place; The Street of Clocks; New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995, which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Author and commentator Dagoberto Gilb reads from his work. Dagoberto Gilb's first story collection, The Magic of Blood, won the PEN/Hemingway Award. He is also author of The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His newest novel is The Flowers, published this year. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and as commentaries on NPR's "Fresh Air."
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Poet's Panel: Joseph Bathanti, Sarah Lindsay, Carolyn Beard Whitlow. Poet and novelist Joseph Bathanti is the author of four books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; and This Metal, which was nominated for The National Book Award, and won the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer. His novels are East Liberty and Coventry, was a winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His collection of short stories, The High Heart, was winner of the 2007 Spokane Prize. Sarah Lindsay is the author of Primate Behavior, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Mount Clutter, as well as two chapbooks, Bodies of Water and Insomniac's Lullaby.Poet Carolyn Beard Whitlow is Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, where she teaches Creative Writing and African-American Literature. Her most recent collection of poems, Vanished, won the 2006 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Novelist Pat Conroy reads from his work.Pat Conroy is the bestselling and award-winning author of The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music and My Losing Season. His novels are populated with domineering fathers, southern belles of steel, and inexorable tragedy; all are elements the author is familiar with from his own life.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 12:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Cathy Smith Bowers presents Caleb Beissert, Haley Jones, and Tom Lambert. Cathy Smith Bowers, Distinguished Poet for the western region, presents emerging poets Caleb Beissert, Haley Jones, and Tom Lambert. The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. Three Distinguished Poets, one from each region, mentor a middle-school, a high-school, and a college or university student.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Poet Gloria Vando reads from her work.Poet Gloria Vando is publisher /editor of Helicon Nine Editions, a nonprofit literary press she founded in 1977. Her book of poems, Shadows and Supposes, was named the Best Poetry Book of 2003 by the Latino Hall of Fame.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Novelist Russell Banks reads from his work (an LCE event). Russell Banks grew up in a working- class world that has played a major role in shaping his writing. His titles include The Darling, Cloudsplitter, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Searching for Survivors, Hamilton Stark, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, Trailerpark, Continental Drift, Success Stories, and Rule of the Bone. The Angel on the Roof is a collection of thirty years of Banks' short fiction.