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Her Words
Her Words: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women's Poetry
$19.55
Paperback
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Jan.15.2003
  • 9781572331969

Felicia gives an overview of the book:

Over the last generation, Appalachia has produced a number of women poets who have refined and redefined the boundaries of the region’s literature and identity. Her Words focuses on the work of twenty such poets, whose diverse voices have enriched Appalachian literature in particular and American poetry in general. Combining poems, interviews, critical essays, and comments by the poets themselves—some acclaimed nationally and others best known regionally—Her Words celebrates the work of these writers and demonstrates their rightful place as part of the literary canon both within and beyond Appalachia. Each chapter opens with two poems by the writer under consideration, followed by a commentary that highlights the contributions and distinctive characteristics of that poet. The poets’ own perspectives on their work are revealed in conversations and interviews with the...
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Over the last generation, Appalachia has produced a number of women poets who have refined and redefined the boundaries of the region’s literature and identity. Her Words focuses on the work of twenty such poets, whose diverse voices have enriched Appalachian literature in particular and American poetry in general. Combining poems, interviews, critical essays, and comments by the poets themselves—some acclaimed nationally and others best known regionally—Her Words celebrates the work of these writers and demonstrates their rightful place as part of the literary canon both within and beyond Appalachia.

Each chapter opens with two poems by the writer under consideration, followed by a commentary that highlights the contributions and distinctive characteristics of that poet. The poets’ own perspectives on their work are revealed in conversations and interviews with the critics. This multifaceted approach allows readers an unusually balanced view of the poetic voice and what inspires it. Moreover, Her Words reveals a diversity within Appalachian poetry and culture that is often overlooked. In their work, the poets reflect this richness of the Appalachian experience, whether the writer is a native of the region, a transplant, an “expatriate” living elsewhere, or a sojourner. That legacy includes a pervasive sense of place, particularly as revealed in language and dialect; the value of family; the power of solitude and isolation; and the importance of religious faith.

Her Words sheds light not only on Appalachian women’s poetry in all its complexity but also on a segment of contemporary American literature that has too often been neglected by scholars and critics alike.

The Contributors: Gilbert Allen, Grace Toney Edwards, Virginia C. Fowler, Patricia M. Gantt, Roberta T. Herrin, Ellesa Clay High, Richard Jackson, Don Johnson, John Lang, Parks Lanier, Jeff Mann, Jeff Daniel Marion, Michael McFee, James A. Miller, Judy K. Miller, Felicia Mitchell, Jennifer Mooney, Ann F. Richman, Christina Springer, William B. Thesing, and Robin O. Warren.

The poets included are:
Maggie Anderson
Marilou Awiakta
Kathryn Stripling Byer
Jo Carson
Lisa Coffman
Lou V. Crabtree
doris davenport
Nikki Giovanni
Patricia A. Johnson
Leatha Kendrick
George Ella Lyon
Linda Parsons Marion
Irene McKinney
Lynn Powell
Rita Sims Quillen
Rita Sizemore Riddle
Bettie Sellers
Betsy Sholl
Bennie Lee Sinclair
Barbara Smith

felicia-mitchell's picture

This book has been important in the careers of a number of the poems and is cited widely in other scholarly work. I composed it during a time in which I sensed that women in Appalachia were not being as included as men; at the same time, I used the opportunity to introduce a broader definition of diversity to the ongoing discussion of Appalachian literature. Since editing this book, which cites an antiquated definition of "Appalachian" (excluding all but "whites"), I have helped to change a dictionary definition. Scholarship can have motives. I enjoy that kind of scholarship.

About Felicia

Felicia Mitchell grew up in South Carolina and North Carolina and lived in Georgia and Texas prior to moving to Virginia in 1987 to take a job at Emory & Henry College.  She has lived and worked in rural Washington County since then, writing a column for...

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Published Reviews

Jan.10.2010

I love the first poem of Felicia Mitchell’s new chapbook of poems The Cleft of the Rock. “Alley” is an existential manifesto that essentially states, “I go; therefore I am.” It is a poem about temptation...