Wildwood Flower

( 1 )

Overview

In Wildwood Flower, Kathryn Stripling Byer speaks through the fictional voice of a mountain woman named Alma, who lived in the Blue Ridge wilderness around the turn of the century. In narrative and lyric, Byer's poems sing a journey through solitude, capturing the spirit and the sound of mountain ballads and of the women who sang them, stitching bits and pieces of their hardscrabble lives into lasting patterns.
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Overview

In Wildwood Flower, Kathryn Stripling Byer speaks through the fictional voice of a mountain woman named Alma, who lived in the Blue Ridge wilderness around the turn of the century. In narrative and lyric, Byer's poems sing a journey through solitude, capturing the spirit and the sound of mountain ballads and of the women who sang them, stitching bits and pieces of their hardscrabble lives into lasting patterns.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The title poem of Byer's collection, the 1992 Lamont Poetry selection, introduces readers to the themes of self-reliance and respect for tradition that are woven into the broad narrative design of the book: ``In the stream where I scrub my own blood / from rags, I see all things flow / down from me into the valley.'' The dominant voice here belongs to a woman named Alma who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the turn of the century. The poems, filled with references to mountain ballads and wild flowers from that region, attempt to piece together the hard and lonely experience of women in the mountain frontier. At times, the imagery in the poems is striking: `` `Who are you?'' I asked the shade / where her milk bucket rusted to nothing / but rim . . . '' But in general the work is unoriginal. By and large, the poems are built in stanzas of free verse, technically similar to the conventional fare of contemporary poetry. Byer ( The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest ) does not create a new idiom for Alma's voice and there are few surprises in her confessions. (Nov.)
Booknews
The 1992 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American poets judges were Lucille Clifton, Jorie Graham, and Robert Morgan, this collection, whose title derives from a traditional mountain ballad, contains 40 poems spoken in the voice of a fictional mountain woman named Alma. Paper edition unseen, $8.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807117712
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Series: Poems Series
  • Pages: 68
  • Sales rank: 1,287,128
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author

LSU Press

LSU Press

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2002

    Mountain Woman's Voice Original and Haunting

    Whoever wrote the Publishers Weekly review of this book needs to look for a new line of work. The poems in Byer's award-winning book stay in the mind and ear like few other contemporary poems. They carry both a native and an old-world resonance; the voice of the poem's speaker, Alma, resonates with terror, passion, joy, and despair as it makes its journey through the pages of this book. What IS originality if not the mysterious quality that causes a poem to remain singing in the mind long after it has been read? Obviously the Publishers Weekly reviewer did not read carefully enough. These are hardly free verse poems. Most of them are highly metrical, using a throbbing anapestic to carry the lyricism. There is even a villanelle. What else to say? Ignore the PW 'critic' and read this book.

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