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City Lights Bookstore posted events
Saturday
Valerie Nieman posted a blog post

Mountain Words, Mountain Music

Appalachian poet, musician, and raconteur Kirk Judd has a new book and CD package out, "My People Was Music." I thought I'd share part of a Goodreads review I did of the book - I think members of The Read would enjoy this.There is no gussying-up here. This is the plain hard rock undergirding Appalachia. This is the sound of water rushing, the clawhammer banjo sound, the crack of a wedge as it splits that cross-grained stump of oak. Kirk Judd has been making poems for a long time, but like a…See More
Friday
Valerie Nieman posted an event
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Valerie Nieman at City Lights at City Lights Books

July 16, 2015 from 10:30am to 12pm
Coffee With the Poet - Valerie Nieman will read from and discuss her new poetry collection, "Hotel Worthy," poems of love, loss, and survival. See More
Friday
Gary Carter posted a blog post

New Story Published by Deep South Magazine: "Nothing But A House"

It's always an honor to have a new story selected and published, this time by Deep South Magazine -- which I recommend for its coverage of all things Southern and, in particular, its attention to Southern literary voices.Read the story here: "Nothing But A House" by Gary CarterComments are always welcome. Deep South Magazine actually has a unique comment section following each story.See More
Thursday
MARYROSE McWHIRTER updated their profile
Thursday
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Thursday
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Tuesday
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Mar 21
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Mar 18
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason

Asheville thriller writer Mason broods with the bestby Rob Neufeld             “Everything you need for measuring a person,” Dee Vess, the heroine and narrator of Jamie Mason’s novel, “Monday’s Lie,” reflects, “can be found in the nature of what he chooses to hide from everyone else.”            It’s a sign of how…See More
Mar 18
Lockie Hunter posted an event
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West End Poetry and Prose Reading Series March Reading at West End Bakery

March 14, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
We are back for a new Spring session of our Poetry and Prose Reading Series! We hope you are able to join us again Saturday, March 14th, 7pm at the West End Bakery for a wonderful Free family-friendly evening of prose, poetry and storytelling from a group of fabulous local writers.This month we will be featuring: Tommy HaysCaroline Wilson Dalton Dayand Leah ShapiroHosted by Lockie Hunter and our friends at the West End Bakery Cathy Cleary and Krista Stearns.See More
Mar 11
Lockie Hunter posted photos
Mar 11
Sue Diehl posted an event
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William Forstchen discussing his Pillar to the Sky at Bell Library at Montreat College

March 24, 2015 from 3pm to 6pm
Dr. William Forstchen will be the guest author at the Montreat Community Book Club on March 24, 2015 at Bell Library, Montreat College at 3:00.  He will be discussing his novel Pillar to Sky Public is invited.See More
Mar 10
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Asheville Poetry Review 20th Anniversary Anthology--and event

Asheville Poetry Review produces 20-year anthologyby Rob Neufeld             The two most remarkable things about the Asheville Poetry Review have been its diversity and quality.  Yes, Asheville, you’ve got a poetry journal of special note here.            Now, 20 years after its locally born…See More
Mar 8
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Carolina McMullen Reading & Signing at City Lights Bookstore

March 14, 2015 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Carolina McMullen will read from her new novel Vicenta de Paul on Saturday, March 14th at 3:00 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore. As the first novel of her Not Here to Stay series, Vicenta de Paul tells of a baby who is abandoned by her young mother at an orphanage in Rota, Spain in 1914.  She is later adopted by a wealthy couple and raised in the peaceful coastal area of Rota, away from the busy city. Everything seems fine until her mother begins to suffer from depression.  Vicenta pulls through…See More
Mar 7
Patti Jensen posted an event

Murders, Moonshine & Mountaineers Book Discussion & Signing at The Market on Oak

March 21, 2015 from 11am to 12pm
The Market on Oak in Spruce Pine will host Allen Cook, author of Murders, Moonshine & Mountaineers: The Wildest County in America on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 11A.M.Moonshine, Murder & Mountaineers recounts a time around the turn of the 19th century when moonshiners and desperadoes faced off against the law in epic battles that made national headlines. The book focuses on events from an area in western North Carolina that held the reputation as the wildest county in America (book has…See More
Mar 5

Ron Rash keynotes Spring Literary Festival----his poetry reveals his career

Ron Rash’s celebrated career can be viewed through his poetry 

Author keynotes literary festival

by Rob Neufeld

 

            In his early 40’s, Ron Rash published his first two books, “The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth,” stories; and “Eureka Mill,” a book of poems.

            With a movie based on his best-selling novel, “Serena,” in the works, and ten other acclaimed books in circulation, it’s safe to say that Rash has been having a sensational midlife.

            Rash engages in an audience participation author show at Western Carolina University, Mar. 20, on the third day of the 10th Annual Spring Literary Festival.

 

Images like icons

 

            Rash writes in three forms—novels, short stories, and poems.  With his poetry, he gives us his most worshipful and private self, as when he dwells on an image.

            “Tonight I hold the photograph lightward,/ try to read my grandfather’s face,” Rash relates in his poem, “September, 1957,” published in his book, “Eureka Mill.”

            Images are like icons to Rash in his work.  “Serena” owes its birth to a vision of a woman on a horse atop a ridge, Rash has said.

            The photograph of his grandfather in the poem connects Rash to one of the biggest apprehensions in his life, the fate dealt mountain farmers who moved to mill towns.

“I sit on the porch steps, watch/ my grandfather lean his cancered body/ against the back of Alec Price’s Ford,” Rash begins, entering the photo.

            Fellow mill-workers have just barged in on grandma and carried grandfather out of his sick bed to their big fish catch in the truck back.  Grandma finally goes along with the disturbance and takes the photo, which the poet holds, seeing behind the smoke of his grandfather’s cigarette, “a grimace of pain or a grin./  It is the one sure thing/ I cannot remember.”

 

Believing

 

            There are no mills in Rash’s second book of poems, “Among the Believers,” set in the mountains with his pre-mill kin.

            Rash was teaching at Tri-County Technical College, near Clemson, while writing “Believers.” He dedicated it “in memory of my father James Hubert Rash—believer.”

            James Rash got his GED and teacher’s degree while working full-time at Eureka Mill, and thus climbed his family out of that trap.  Memories of country life, as much as a healthy paycheck, had been in James’ mind.

            “I rose with the moon, left the drowsy sheets,/ my nine months wife singing in her sleep.” Rash begins his poem, “Plowing on Moonlight,” taking on his father’s persona in the moment of tending to his fields.

            Rash takes on many personae in his writing, most of them not his family.  “The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth,” for instance, brings together a gathering of resettled mountaineers talking about obsolescence and destiny.

            Rash’s father, in the poem, represents a communion with nature through work. 

            “All night/ I plowed, limbs pebbled, beard budded by frost,/ my chest nippled, my breath blooming white,/ and knew again the sway of the sea,/ the flow of river, the smallest creek,/ rain’s pelt and soak, the taproot’s thrust,/ the cicada’s winged resurrection.”

            “Among the Believers” ranges wide.  It taps into Celtic cadences with a translation from “The Mabinogian,” a Welsh epic.  Sea warriors, returning home, recall dead kinsmen, “woes of ages, old wounds, heart grief.”

            Two other poems dwell on the Shelton Laurel Massacre in Madison County, the focus of Rash’s 2006 novel, “The World Made Straight.”  Mountain religion fuses with nature and ancestry in many entries.

 

The drowned

 

             “Beneath Keowee,” a poem in “Among the Believers,” visits the ghost world at the bottom of the dammed lake between Tri-County College and Lake Jocassee.  Jocassee rises from burial at the beginning of Rash’s third book of poems, “Raising the Dead.”

           “Rent a boat,” the poet tells readers of his poem, “Under Jocassee.”  “Soon/ you’ll see as through a mirror/ not a river but a road flowing beneath you./  Follow that road.”

            Passing a graveyard, a house, and a barn, “cut the motor and drift/ back sixty years and remember/ a woman who lived in that house” and the day she looked up, as she might be doing now, at “something dark (that) has come over her.”

            That same image haunts the story, “Not Waving but Drowning,” in Rash’s second volume of stories, “Casualties” (2000).

            The narrator is in a hospital waiting room where his wife, Mary, is about to suffer a miscarriage, her second in their marriage.  There with him is a millworker and his wife with busted teeth.

           The narrator recalls when his and Mary’s new child had been conceived, on a boating trip on Lake Jocassee.  They’d looked into the water and saw, “Eighty feet down were farmhouses Duke Power hadn’t bothered to raze when they’d built the dam.”

           “It’s like if you watched long enough,” Mary had said, “somebody would walk out of one of those houses and look up and wave.”

            The ghosts of that displaced community are like the ghost of a miscarried child.  “You carry that pain inside like a tumor, and though it may shrink with time, it never disappears, and it’s malignant.”

            Rash’s first novel, “One Foot in Eden,” a multiple award-winner, takes place in the Jocassee valley as its drowning approaches.  The drowning—of an industrialist’s daughter—kicks off Rash’s second novel, “Saints at the River,” with the girl’s last thoughts.  There’s a drowning in “Serena,” too—at a logjam in a millpond.

 

Personal religion

 

            All of Rash’s previous favorite subjects come together in his fourth and most recent book of poems, “Waking,” where it seems that their weft is imbued with a greater strength, something like a personal religion.

            Religion has many aspects, including humility and service to people less fortunate than oneself.

            In the story, “Honesty,” published in Rash’s 2007 volume, “Chemistry and Other Stories,” a writer with writer’s block takes his wife’s suggestion and answers a singles ad to write about the lovelorn.

            As it turns out, the woman, Lee Ann, whose incarcerated husband continues to threaten to kill her, learns about his ruse and forgives him.

            “Somehow, despite all this,” she tells him as they part, “I still think you’re a good person.”  He could see loving this demeaned person in an alternate life.  “No, I’m not,” he says.

            The bonds between people are particularly heartful or heart-rending, in Rash work, when a father and child are involved.

            The father in the poem, “The Reaping,” published in “Waking,” does not “need an owl cry or his wife’s/ linger by window to know/ what keeps  his son in the field’s/ gathering darkness.”

            The boy, who had a bad habit of taking short cuts, had been working the hay baler.  The father “frees an arm from the roller/ chides his son for half a life/ lost to save half a minute,/ before kissing the cold brow,/ forgives what the reaper cannot.”

            Rash’s most recent book of short stories, “Burning Bright,” won the Frank O’Connor Award for best story collection in the world in 2010.  His upcoming novel, “The Cove” (Ecco/Harper Collins, Apr. 2012), reveals love, beauty, and anti-German hatred in the mountains during World War 1.

 

SEE RASH & AUTHORS AT FESTIVAL

 

Ron Rash engages in an audience participation author show, emceed by Rob Neufeld, 8 p.m., Tues., Mar. 20 in UC Theater, Western Carolina University.  Twelve other noted authors are featured over five days.  See the schedule at www.litfestival.org; or call 227-7264.

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