Local Interest Coal: A Poetry Anthology

ISBN 13: 9780976881711

Coal: A Poetry Anthology

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9780976881711: Coal: A Poetry Anthology

A collection of poetry from 1932 to 2006, the 80 authors in Coal features some of Appalachia's finest writers speaking on Miners and Work, Disasters and Mining, Families and Communities, Life after the Mines, Environmental Degradation, and Resistance. The book also contains an extensive bibliography of books, films and Web sites about coal and central Appalachia.

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About the Author:

The editor, Chris Green, is an English professor at Marshall University and works closely with the Appalachian Studies Association. He is author of Door to Door (Pudding House, 2000); he edited Wind Magazine from 1998-2003, and is co-editor of Radicalism in the South since Reconstruction (Palgrave-Macmillan, due out in 2007). Chris's work as a writer, scholar, teacher and editor is dedicated to bringing people into conversations about who they are, where they live, and what they care about.

Review:

Appalachian poets come together in new book: Coal, A Poetry Anthology When a light is turned on, nobody thinks. Nobody thinks about the electric charge that lights and heats our world. That somewhere in Appalachia another ancient mountain is being blasted away, forever gone. Poets from around Appalachia have come together in the new Blair Mountain Press book, Coal: A Poetry Anthology, to make people think...about Sago and Aracoma, Buffalo Creek and West Fork Valley, slate dump row, sulphur mud, black windows, the aftermath, rivers, fissures and yesterday's news. Edited by Chris Green, professor of English at Marshall University, Coal features 80 poems from some of Appalachia's finest writers on Miners and Work, Disasters and Mining, Families and Community, Life After the Mines, Environmental Degradation, and Resistance. Green said that just gathering these voices makes a statement: That is what the rebellion is, this is the rebellion that matters. It's not just about saying things are bad as it is about people having a voice and talking about their experiences that are largely unrecognized. One of the most beautiful poems is Jenny Adams. Her dad worked in the mines 25 years until he was badly injured. She imagines his perspective of going down and that is a stunning poem and a stunning act of rebellion to have that voice and that perspective and to have that be part of our literature. About 50 of the writers are from West Virginia and 20 more from Kentucky, while the others are scattered about Appalachia. One of the things Coal shows is the passing of the tradition, the deep tradition of poets writing, chronicling coal history up close and for generations. We wanted not just to establish the tradition but to show it, Green said about including such late, great wordsmiths such as James Still and Jesse Stuart, two of Kentucky's most beloved writers about the Earth. There is definitely a deep tradition of these authors such a James Still, Don West and Louise McNeill. These are elders who came of age knowing about the Matewan Massacre and knowing the history of Harlan County. Sadly enough, last year as Green, Depta, and others such as Edwina Pedarvis and Betty Huff were putting their shoulders to getting Coal to the press, the industry would have its deadliest year in nearly a decade, with 47 dying in the United States. Twelve miners were killed in the Sago Mine to start the year, and five more died in a Kentucky mine in May. And increasingly, the fight against giant coal slurry impoundments, such as the one above Marsh Fork Elementary, as well as mountaintop removal made international news in publications such as National Geographic. Like the late, great novelist and environmentalist Edward Abbey, Depta stares the machines down in Azrael on the Mountain, a poem taken from his poetry book of the same title protesting mountaintop removal coal mining. Mountaintop removal coal mining is the great tragedy of the late 20th Century and early 21st Century, Green said. We've not even begun to touch on its grievous portions. One million acres in the United States, more than 500,000 acres in West Virginia. We have more accessible coal and the weakest laws around it...Vic has dedicated this part of his life to looking it straight in the eye. We have to look because nobody else is going to. --Dave Lavender, The Herald-Dispatch, Sunday, Februry 25, 2007

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Published by Blair Mountain Press (2006)
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Green, Chris (Editor)/ Giardina, Denise (Introduction by)/ Spadaro, Jack (Afterword)
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