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Act 5, Scene 1: Irene's Twilight Zone

Act 5, Scene 1: Irene’s Twilight Zone See whole poem, "The Main Show," and index of scenes.  (Spotlight opens on the lobby of the theater.  Characters who remain in the lobby enter the theater, which remains dark.  Joan the nurse tells the tour guide to also go in, and the narrator hangs back awhile.) Joan: Go ahead in. I’ll stay with my patient.Anyway, this is a family…See More
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Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
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The existing resources of poems to read aloud are, for the most part, old and not from here. For instance, there's only five poets out of a couple hundred on the national Poetry Out Loud list who come from the South; and only one from the southern mountains (Wendell Berry).

We're making our own list. Much of the material is copyrighted, so I will add full texts and perhaps audio of the poems to an "All Page" on this website, as we collect permissions. For now, here are a few of my suggestions.

"Broomsedge" by Robert Morgan, published in Sigodlin
"Coming to Rest" by Kathryn Stripling Byer, published in the book, Coming to Rest
"Wide Open, These Gates” by Kathryn Stripling Byer, published in The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest
“Above the Esso” by Linda Parsons Marion, published in Asheville Poetry Review, #17
“Training for Iraq” by Deborah McAlister, published in Asheville Poetry Review, #17
“My Cousin” by Julia Nunnaly Duncan, published in An Endless Tapestry
“The Bird Tree” by D. James Smith, published in Asheville Poetry Review, #10
“Twilight in West Virginia: Six o’clock Mine Report” by Irene McKinney, published in Southern Appalachian Poetry edited by Marita Garin
"The Gentrifiers Are in Pursuit” by Fred Chappell, published in Backsass
"Uncle Einar" by Fred Chappell, published in Family Gathering
“Mine Is A Wide Estate” by James Still, published in From the Mountain, From the Valley: New and Collected Poems
"Granny Frolic" by James Still, published in From the Mountain, From the Valley: New and Collected Poems
“Paean to Dvorak, Deemer & McClure” by Jonathan Williams, published in Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems

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Hi Rob, this is a good start. I'll keep thinking about this list and how we can make this project work. Thanks! Kay B.
Hi Rob, more thoughts. We should have poems that are exciting to read and hear aloud, with sheer pleasure in the language as well as emotional depths that students and listeners can continue to explore as the poem becomes more and more a part of them. Morgan's Broomsedge certainly works on both levels. I'm not sure about my own "Coming to Rest," mostly because it's in sections and thus might be more difficult to sustain as "voice," but I would love to see a student attempt it. I'd suggest these poets--Nancy Simpson (look at the two I have on my has written powerfully about place over the past 3 decades, Glenis Redmond, whose new work, too, offers much to the ear and the mind. Diane Gilliam's amazing Kettlebottom is a poetry reciter's dream. I urge all those interested in this project to take a look at it. This is Appalachia in voice and history. Bill Brown, a Tennessee poet, has a new book from Iris Press, Late Winter, that contains poems that would work beautifully for this project. Cathy Smith Bowers, who lives in Tryon, should also be on the list.
That's enought for now. K.
Hi Rob,

This is an excellent endeavor!

I suggest adding "Spill Corn" by Ron Rash to this list.
It's a wonderful short poem that quietly evokes the love of books, the appreciation of nature, and the ongoing struggle for daily bread which are hallmarks of our mountain heritage. It will take many readers back in time--.

Karen Loughmiller
I'd like to suggest a couple of Appalachian poems that have been on my list for a long time: "May I Be Dead" by Jesse Stuart, and "The Peace of Wild things" by Wendell Berry.

Karen Loughmiller


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