The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat: Poems by Fifteen Contemporary North Carolina Poets

Overview

North Carolina is well known for its fiction writers, but the state is also home to a number of the nation's best poets. In the past few decades, these poets have produced memorable work and received numerous honors. A companion to the contemporary North Carolina fiction anthology The Rough Road Home (1992), this book provides a substantial sampling of their recent bounty. Poet Michael McFee has chosen from eight to twenty poems by each of fifteen poets. There is a refreshing diversity in the voices, from James ...

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Overview

North Carolina is well known for its fiction writers, but the state is also home to a number of the nation's best poets. In the past few decades, these poets have produced memorable work and received numerous honors. A companion to the contemporary North Carolina fiction anthology The Rough Road Home (1992), this book provides a substantial sampling of their recent bounty. Poet Michael McFee has chosen from eight to twenty poems by each of fifteen poets. There is a refreshing diversity in the voices, from James Applewhite's down east tobacco farmer to Gerald Barrax's passionate urban man to Kathryn Stripling Byer's isolated mountain woman. The humor ranges from Maya Angelou's serious wit to Jonathan Williams's verbal improvisations. And there is a healthy variety in form and tone, from A. R. Ammons's free verse ruminations to Fred Chappell's vigorous, witty narratives in traditional forms. But there is also a fundamental unity to these poets. They are all North Carolina writers, who were born in or have long lived in the state, and whose verbal consciousness has been shaped by the very nature of the place. Most importantly, they are all poets we can read with appreciation and great pleasure. contributors Betty Adcock A. R. Ammons Maya Angelou James Applewhite Gerald Barrax Kathryn Stripling Byer Fred Chappell William Harmon Susan Ludvigson Michael McFee Heather Ross Miller Robert Morgan Reynolds Price James Seay Jonathan Williams

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Editor Michael McFee, working with the University of North Carolina Press, has done an admirable job.

Southern Humanities Review

Cheers to Michael McFee and the University of North Carolina Press for letting these voices be heard.

Raleigh News and Observer

This is a wonderful collection of many years of serious work.

North Carolina Libraries

The poems McFee has chosen . . . begin immediately to yield delight that increases upon further reflection and study.

Georgia Review

This 'bouquet' has a delightful aroma—varied, and pungent with a sense of place.

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As McFee observes in the introduction, most anthologies tend to favor variety rather than depth-``bouquets rather than whole fields of flowers.'' By selecting the work of only 15 contemporary North Carolina poets, however, he offers an ample sampling of each poet's work, to give a ``satisfying sense of a poet's full flavor.'' Not surprisingly, part of that ``flavor'' is North Carolina itself-its history, people, food and language. Here are the richly textured blues-poems of Maya Angelou and the lyrical, wonderfully colloquial work of Fred Chappell. Here too is the wryly passionate poetry of Kathryn Stripling Byer, whose voice draws its powerful sense of place from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Perhaps the most tenuous inclusion is A.R. Ammons-a poet who, though originally from North Carolina, has spent the last 30 years in Ithaca, N.Y., and whose poems offer only a slight resonance of anything ``regional,'' much less North Carolinan. Work by James Applewhite, on the other hand, is North Carolinian right down to the tobacco leaf. Evocations of rural tobacco farming appear in his poems with a lyricism as surprising as it is Southern. So while uneven, this ``bouquet'' has a delightful aroma-varied, and pungent with a sense of place. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807844830
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael McFee has published six books of poems, including Earthly and Colander, and is editor of This Is Where We Live: Short Stories by 25 Contemporary North Carolina Writers. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Southbound 3
Walking Out 4
Hand Made 5
One Street 7
Front Porch 7
Roller Rink 8
Poetry Workshop in a Maximum Security Reform School 9
Clearing Out, 1974 10
Remembering Brushing My Grandmother's Hair 14
Exchange 15
Rent House 16
Uppermost 21
Double Exposure 21
Strolls 22
Ballad 22
Certainty 24
80-Proof 24
Rapids 25
Easter Morning 25
Night Finding 28
Parting 29
Late Look 30
I Went Back 31
Wiring 31
The Role of Society in the Artist 31
Trigger 33
Dusk Water 33
Windy Morning with a Little Sleet 34
Singling & Doubling Together 35
Country Lover 39
A Good Woman Feeling Bad 39
Momma Welfare Roll 40
Contemporary Announcement 40
Amoebaean for Daddy 41
Preacher, Don't Send Me 42
Why Are They Happy People? 43
The Memory 44
Some Words for Fall 47
Tobacco Men 47
A Vigil 48
Barbecue Service 49
Collards 50
Greene County Pastoral 51
A Leaf of Tobacco 53
Earth Lust 54
Southern Voices 55
Summer Revival 56
White Lake 57
The Descent 58
News of Pearl Harbor 59
My Cousin Sue's Broad View 60
The Cemetery next to Contentnea 61
Something I Know about Her 65
Body Food 65
Another Fellow 66
Who Needs No Introduction 67
Spirituals, Gospels 68
One More Word 69
Two Figures on Canvas 70
Portraits 70
Liberation 71
Domestic Tranquility 72
Theology 73
Strangers Like Us: Pittsburgh, Raleigh, 1945-1985 73
What More? 74
Haunted House 75
Adagio 77
Wide Open, These Gates 81
Drought 82
My Beautiful Grandmother 83
Angels 84
Kitchen Sink 85
Wildwood Flower 86
All Hallows Eve 87
Lost Soul 88
Lullaby 89
Thaw 90
Quilt 91
Lineage 91
Diamonds 93
Easter 93
A Prayer for the Mountains 97
My Grandfather Gets Doused 97
Rimbaud Fire Letter to Jim Applewhite 101
My Mother Shoots the Breeze 104
My Father Washes His Hands 107
The Story 109
Abandoned Schoolhouse on Long Branch 110
Narcissus and Echo 111
Teller 111
Daisy 112
First Novel 112
Upon a Confessional Poet 113
Literary Critic 113
Another 113
Another 113
Televangelist 114
El Perfecto 114
Apology 114
Mothsong
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