Friday, July 28, 2017

Appalachian Woman by Luther Kirk

Regional in scope yet universal in truths, Appalachian Woman speaks to the reader concerning love, loss, labor, and longing.


“The Appalachian woman who is the subject of the poems in Luther Kirk’s collection is not just any generic Appalachian. She is the woman he knew best—his mother, a woman who “dropped all twelve of [her] young’uns year after year like seed taters on a Good Friday,” a woman who had too much work to do to take time out to send for the midwife, a woman who hauled water and sacks of grain, who planted by the signs and endured. Kirk’s adroit use of verbs and his eye for the just-right image bring the beloved Appalachian woman to life for his readers. The book is a can’t-put-it-down from the “Unmade Bed” of the opening poem to the final note of “She Left.””

~ Connie Jordan Green, author of Household Inventory,
   winner of the Brick Road Poetry Prize

“In an era when hardly anything is fresh, Luther Kirk captures the language of the ancient Appalachians in a refreshing book of poetry. He knows the language that could only come from living among the proud and often misaligned people that call these peaks and valleys home. Luther’s poetry flows across the page, rolling off the tongue the way a summer rain rolls off the rocks and trees of his native Southwest Virginia. Strip away all pretense and what you have left is an honesty of expression that is both delightful and unexpected.”

~ Patricia Hope, award-winning poet

“In this rich, dense, sharply etched collection, Appalachian Woman, Luther Kirk becomes a landscape artist, painting in a spectrum of mountain vernacular as expansive and detailed as the mountains themselves and as intimate as the landscapes of larder and washday, garden and bedroom, the birth of babies and the ridges and hollers that brought those babies into being. Sensual, musical, vivid, this is a landscape as complex as the original garden and the caresses and curses it spawned--procreation, labor of all kinds, and survival, all the gifts from and to a widow left with little but what she herself creates, a self-reliant and self-aware woman squeezing every drop from what is within reach. An absolutely beautiful book.” 

~ Darnell Arnoult, author of Galaxie Wagon: Poems and 
   What Travels with Us: Poems. 


Luther Kirk was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia in 1945 and has lived in the state all of his life. After retirement from the Virginia education system, he decided to try his hand at writing about his people--the Appalachians. Luther currently resides in Chester, Virginia with his wife Katy and his Cairn Terrier, Bessie Rose. 

34 pages, 25 poems

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