Diane Gilliam Fisher Kettle Bottom

ISBN 13: 9780966045970

Kettle Bottom

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Winner of the 2004 Perugia Press Prize, as well as the 2008 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, Kettle Bottom was named an American Booksellers Association Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Book for 2005. It also was the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year, and a finalist for the Weatherford Award of the Appalachian Studies Association. It was selected for inclusion in The Pushcart Prize XXX:Best of the Small Presses.

Based on the historical and social events of the West Virginia coal mine wars of 1920-1921, Kettle Bottom imagines the stories of miners, their wives, children, sisters, and mothers; of mountaineers, Italian immigrants, and Black families. These people organized for safe working conditions in opposition to the mine company owners and their agents. Fisher listened closely and the result is a book of vivid, rhythmic, heartfelt poems that address a violent time with honesty, levity, and compassion. Kettle Bottom is about how a community lived in the presence of constant danger and the choices the residents made. These are people to look to today.

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About the Author:

Diane Gilliam'’s family was part of the Appalachian outmigration from Mingo County, West Virginia, and Johnson County, Kentucky. Gilliam has a PhD in Romance Languages and Literature from Ohio State University and an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her first book, One of Everything, was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2003, and her chapbook, Recipe for Blackberry Cake, was published by Kent State University Press in 1999.

Review:

Kettle Bottom is a one-woman rescue operation accomplished in words that say plainly, as the miners might have, yet eloquently, as only a gifted poet can, that these men and women and children were once here in the same world as ours, that they gave up the breath in their lungs and even their very daylight to fuel this world, and that their hopes for their lives and the terrors they endured, who they loved and so often lost too soon that all of it mattered. As it matters that after so many years someone finally heard their faint tapping and, with the urgency of love, went tunneling toward them. --New Pages

Kettle Bottom serves as a reminder that everything in life can be the stuff of poetry, that every life is extraordinary in some way and has something to teach us. --Appalachian Heritage

Fisher's little book held me like a vise, touched me like a prayer. It made me feel like I had lived and walked with the people in its pages. --The Transylvania Times

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