Friday, March 23, 2018

Child of Appalachia by Luther Kirk

This collection of poems is replete with autobiographical glimpses into one Appalachian boy’s childhood. Its pages resonate with coming of age stories, reflections of dreams deferred, innocence, beginnings as well as endings, and remembrances of things past. It highlights the strength of family and the power of nurture over nature. 


“In these poems, Luther Kirk works his magic with a distinct Southern voice and vigorous, refreshing language.  We hear screened door slaps, the clank of cowbells, the rattle of a death breath.  These poems explore with honesty the intricacies of family and place— where we’re from, where we’re going.  Child of Appalachia is a superb book indeed.  What makes this book so superb is Luther Kirk's clear head and open heart.  He is a powerful storyteller.”
~ Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister: A Memoir

“In Child of Appalachia, Luther Kirk is once again a watchful guardian of time, place, and people at an unpretentious table he so artfully, personally, honestly sets. A forgotten trunk, a hissing pressure cooker, a father’s last breath are his memories. Yet his poetry lifts him into my life, invites me to his table, leaves me thinking. Absorbing. Grateful for his insight, grateful for each moment. If you’re open, and lucky, you too will pull up a chair and partake.”

~ Dawn Shamp, author of On Account of Conspicuous Women

“In language pure to the mountains and hollers of Southern Appalachia, Luther Kirk clearly speaks to memories and soul-searing love and loss in the beautifully wrought book, Child of Appalachia. Kirk catalogues images of where he is from, where “men herd bout trucks in the shade” and “women cluster in clutches on porches” seductively inviting readers to search their own childhood memories. We mourn with the young boy who “on a warmish Sunday afternoon” faces the death of his father. Kirk’s poetry reveals the intimate give and take of conversation with his mother about being “needy” in his finely detailed list of all they do have juxtaposed with her insight of “money/don’t never feed ever need of the human heart.” Throughout these vignettes of his childhood in Appalachia, Kirk delights the reader with melodic lines such as “late-night/cathedral hemlocks” and “tufted great horned owls,” each poem a discovery through authentic language about growing up in a time of hardships and loss, yet tremendous love and spirited reverence for home and place and family.”

~ Sue Weaver Dunlap, author of The Story Tender and Knead


"The eleventh of twelve children born and raised in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, military service bore me far from home but opened doors to a career in education--teacher, principal, and professor. Upon retirement, I decided to try my hand at creatively writing about my people--the Appalachians. I have two children Andrew and Maggie, a wonderful daughter-in-law Lauren and son-in-law Kevin, and two handsome grandsons, Grayson Luke and Sullivan Jack. I currently reside in Virginia with my wife of forty years Katy and my Cairn Terrier, Bessie Rose." 

32 pages, 24 poems

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