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Volume 26, Number 10 — October 2018

"Poetic" Achievements

Book Reveals Intriguing Minds of Appalachian Poets

March 29, 2011

EMORY, VA — Emory & Henry College English professor John Lang takes an extensive look at major poets from the Appalachian region in his most recent book entitled Six Poets from the Mountain South (Louisiana State University Press, www.lsu.edu). Employing close readings of well-known poets Fred Chappell, Robert Morgan, Jeff Daniel Marion, Kathyrn Stripling Byer, Charles Wright and Jim Wayne Miller, Lang relates their poetry to British and American Romanticism as well as contemporary eco-theology and eco-criticism.

\ demonstrates that the reviewed Southern poets write poetry that explores, sometimes with widely varying results, what they see as the undeniable presence of the divine within the temporal world. Lang explores their exhibition of love of place in their poetry, along with a strong sense of connection to nature and Southern land.

Dante strongly influences both Chappell and Wright, though the latter eventually resigns himself to being simply "a God-fearing agnostic," whereas Chappell follows Dante in celebrating "the love that moves the sun and other stars." Byer, probably the least orthodox of these poets, chooses to lay up treasures on earth, rejecting the transcendent in favor of a Native American spirituality of immanence, while Morgan and Marion find in nature what Marion calls a "vocabulary of wonders" akin to Emerson's conviction that nature is the language of the spiritual.

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