27 Views of Chapel Hill: A Southern University Town in Prose & Poetry

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9780982077191: 27 Views of Chapel Hill: A Southern University Town in Prose & Poetry
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Following the success of Eno Publishers' first anthology, 27 Views of Hillsborough, and in consideration of the multitude of writers that call North Carolina home, Eno Publishers is expanding 27 Views into a series that creates a literary ode to each title city or town--literally, a literary landscape of home.

In the second collection in the series, 27 Views of Chapel Hill: A Southern University Town in Prose & Poetry, writers of multiple generations, points of view , and ethnic voices reflect on the rich creative and intellectual atmosphere of Chapel Hill--the hometown of the renowned University of North Carolina and a community that has managed to preserve its distinct sense of place. The collection's essays, short stories, book excerpts, and poetry represent a choir of voices that reflect the social, historic, and creative fabric of Chapel Hill. Daniel Wallace, whose novel Big Fish was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in 1999, introduces this edition and illustrates the book's cover.

The collection casts a wide net around the eponymous university town. It addresses everything from firsthand accounts of civil-rights protests to the post-9/11 experience of an Egyptian writer living in Chapel Hill to a reverie on the scent of first breath of spring blossoms in Coker Arboretum to a remembrance of Georgia Carroll Kyser, supermodel from the 1930s and longtime Chapel Hillian. Among the writers represented are Elizabeth Spencer, presidential historian William Leuchtenburg, Wells Tower, Samia Serageldin, Nic Brown, Daphne Athas, Bland Simpson, Mildred Council of Mama Dip's, Alan Shapiro, Moreton Neal, Paul Jones, Karen Parker, and Will McInerney of Sacrificial Poets.

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About the Author:

Daniel Wallace is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novel Big Fish was adapted for screen and became a critically acclaimed movie. Wallace is also the author of Extraordinary Adventures, Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, The Watermelon King, and Ray in Reverse. He is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Review:

27 Views of Chapel Hill is a treasure as rich and varied and wonderful as the town itself. Literature, food, history, music, basketball, art. There is something for everyone and this book is a celebration of all that makes the southern part of heaven so heavenly. There is no place quite like it. Amen. --Jill McCorkle, novelist

Chapel Hill is where you stop and smell the flowers, or so you'll probably conclude from reading 27 Views of Chapel Hill, a collection of writing about, by and for the place and its people.

There are two reminiscences about the long-loved Gimghoul Street garden of Barbara Stiles and Bernice Wade. There is poet Michael McFee effusing about the aroma of honeysuckle, and Crook's Corner chef Bill Smith picking it to make sorbet. Marcie Cohen Ferris and Bland Simpson go walking in and around Battle Park, the 90-acre woods that happen to lie smack in the middle of town.

Even when flowers aren't the main subject, they keep blooming. Moreton Neal, whose husband Bill was Bill Smith's partner at Crook's Corner, writes a loving eulogy to Georgia Carroll Kyser, a different kind of flower, in The Beauty Queen of Chapel Hill. Jim Seay, visiting the grave of his dead son in Down Among the Bones, the Darks, the Sparrows (first published in the Indy last fall), watches a bee fly among the asters, marigolds, Russian sage, and rosemary I have brought to his grave today. In the introduction to 27 Views of Chapel Hill, novelist Daniel Wallace trumpets Chapel Hill's rich and thriving literary garden, which, he posits, can be traced back to two heirloom seeds: Thomas Wolfe, the Ashevillian who attended UNC-Chapel Hill, and William Faulkner, who according to Wallace once visited Chapel Hill and apparently was drunk every second.

After reading 27 Views of Chapel Hill's prose and poetry, much of which is reprinted from earlier publications, I propose a different literary forefather: Walker Percy. Percy, like Wolfe, wasn't from Chapel Hill (he hailed from New Orleans, another hothouse of writing) but went to its college. It's Percy's voice well-bred, genteel, unhurried, contemplative that echoes more strongly through the book than does the streaming, keening lyricism that readers tend to associate with Faulkner and Wolfe. The writing, like the town which is sometimes called a pat of butter in a sea of grits, as two of the book's writers remind us is mostly contented and comfortable, a pleasant place in which to deliquesce. --IndyWeek, September 21, 2011

In 27 Views of Chapel Hill: A Southern University Town in Prose & Poetry, Eno Publishers follow-up to the award- winning 27 Views of Hillsborough, twenty-nine authors explore their memories, impressions, and connections to this distinctive North Carolina town. As Daniel Wallace writes in his lighthearted introduction, Chapel Hill has, over the years, become the home of more writers than any other single town in the world. Although he has no data to bolster this claim, this collection highlights the deep connections that many illustrious authors have to this university town. The prose and poetry are organized in thematic sections. The first section, Fans & Friends, contains reflections by Wells Tower, Jock Lauterer, Linnie Greene, Harry Amana, and Will Blythe on such diverse topics as James Taylor, the vibrant local music scene, and the UNC- Chapel Hill s men s and women s basketball teams. The intense UNC-Chapel and Duke rivalry is not overlooked as Blythe writes in his hilarious essay that raising his children in the International Brotherhood of Duke Haters was the natural and one of the most enjoyable aspects of my father s master plan. In Friends & Neighborhoods, Erica Eisdorfer, Samia Serageldin, Mildred Council, Moreton Neal, and Jim Seay, explore the varied meanings of community. The section ends with Seay s poignant piece about his son Josh. Street Scenes takes the reader on a tour of Chapel Hill with pieces by Paul Cuadros, Alan Shapiro, Sy Safransky, Paul Jones, Bill Smith, and CJ Suitt on such diverse topics as the Latino/Latina cooks working in Franklin Street restaurants, the Community Bookstore, and the perfect spot to gather honeysuckle and blackberries.

Michael McFee, Bland Simpson, D.G. Martin, and Marcie Cohen Ferris in a Place Apart attempt to define the uniqueness of Chapel Hill with writings on such topics as Battle Park and the beautiful private garden on Gimghoul Road with its The Garden is Open call to all visitors. Views from Before appeals to the history buff in all of us with writings by William Leuchtenburg, David Brown, Charles Thompson, Karen Parker, and Will McInerney. The essays by Thompson and Parker on the turbulent civil rights years are particularly heart- wrenching. In the last section, Elizabeth Spencer, Lawrence Naumoff, and Daphne Athas present three Views in Fiction. Of particular interest to librarians is Athas s The Library from Entering Ephesus with one of the characters speaking no truer words than the library is the focal point of the university. The collection is punctuated by Nic Brown s A Love Letter, written as he and his family departs Chapel Hill for Colorado.

Daniel Wallace remarks in his introduction, So many wonderful writers live here, it s impossible to fit them all in one volume. To do that, Eno Publishers would have to change the title to 27,000 Views of Chapel Hill. Because everybody has their own view, every writer, every reader. Here are a few of them. Enjoy. You absolutely should heed his call and savor this wonderful collection and rejoice in the fact that there are publication plans for 27 Views of Durham and 27 Views of Asheville. This book is recommended for all academic and public libraries. --NC Library Association, 2011

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