James Kibler Child to the Waters

ISBN 13: 9781589800953

Child to the Waters

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9781589800953: Child to the Waters
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Flowing from the rich well of Celtic story cycles, these tales of the Piedmont region traverse a world where magical things happen and miracles are the norm.

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From the Inside Flap:

Praise for Child to the Waters

"Scholar and critic James Everett Kibler has also proved himself to be a poet of the first order. And here he comes now, with the thirty richly various stories of Child to the Waters, clearly one of our finest fiction writers as well. When it comes to storytelling, Kibler can do it all--from fable to pure and simple fabliau, from classic tall tale to something close to folk song, even to a kind of lyric narrative (as in "Spilt Milk"). This is a gathering of stories designed and destined to please and, by example, to teach us to celebrate and revel not only in these tales, but also in our own stories as well, those 'pure golden gifts, rounder and brighter than coins.'"
--George Garrett, poet and novelist, poet laureate of Virginia

"In Child to the Waters the teller of tales has poured out a wealth of stories, true ones and legends, memories and folktales, in language charming and musical. James Kibler understands that traditional stories endure because they are always new; they furnish the joys both of discovery and of rediscovery. That is what makes this one of the best bedside books ever written. But it may be that you can't wait until bedtime!"
--Fred Chappell, author of I Am One of You Forever, poet laureate of North Carolina

It is said that fable, in her deep cauldron, changes mortalities into immortalities. These slowly unfolding tales, set along the wild and scenic Tyger River in South Carolina, mirror the flowing timelessness of Southern living and the ancient quest for truth and beauty. Voices of sheer joy, painful acceptance, and deep meditation can be heard echoing throughout narratives linked by place and by the constancy of their quests.

Flowing from the rich well of Celtic story cycles, these tales traverse a world where magical things happen and miracles are the norm. This is a land of ceaseless toil, where children are regularly snatched back from a morbid embrace and loved ones are carried home by those who have gone before. This is a land of singers, of dancers, of lovers whose embrace unites families long parted, and of pranksters who ply their nets for the bright jeweled spirit of the river, free to frisk, flash, and play.

A Southern literary scholar, James Everett Kibler makes his home on the Tyger River and teaches at the University of Georgia in Athens. He is the author of fourteen books and numerous essays on subjects including botany, agriculture, Southern art, gardens, folklore, architecture, and literary figures. His Our Fathers' Fields won the Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction in 1999. The paperback edition is available from Pelican. James Kibler's poetry has appeared in publications across the country and has won prizes from the Poetry Society of South Carolina. His most recent book of poetry is Poems from Scorched Earth, and he is currently at work on another story cycle and an anthology of Southern writers.

From the Back Cover:

"All stories are one, as all rivers are one. They shape from spring sources . . . and make transcendent full memory, carried as whispers deep from the blood, to arise then as gifts from a dream."
--from the prelude

This poignant collection of stories celebrates the Celtic ancestry of the Piedmont region of the American South, as well as truth and beauty of life, where strength is drawn from the value of place, family solidarity, and continuity.
In "Shone and the Whispering Bridge" the floodwaters gift a childless couple with a son who seems born of the river in which his parents died. When Union soldiers approach with malice in "How Jakob Emig Encountered Old Scratch," the devil himself is beaten back by the faithful incantations of the family patriarch. Earth and wind meet, marry, and mend a rift between families in "Sidhe and Ingus."
Like the free-flowing river by which they take place, these fables together form a timeless world where the power and majesty of myth rival only the forces of nature in these lives.

"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."
--William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child"

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