Becoming Appalachian

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

first published (in slightly edited form and without illustrations)
in
Appalachian Journal Vol. 38: 2-3 (Winter/Spring 2011)

© by Chris Bolgiano

The Fall, 2010 issue of Appalachian Journal, which focused on regional identity, hit me where it hurts: in my self-proclaimed, hardly-won, and wholly un-censused identity as Appalachian. Because nowhere in seventy pages of scholarly surveys, speculations, and definitions could I find myself.

Chris Bolgiano's view from the deck
Looking at Little North Mountain from the author’s deck in autumn.

Researchers reach out to fourth generation descendants born in industrial cities far from the mountains and deem them Appalachian, and I totally get that. I’ve come to understand, and not just from Loyal Jones, that you can get an Appalachian into Heaven but she’ll still insist on going home to the mountains every other weekend.

I understand, because even though I wasn’t born here, I couldn’t live anywhere else but here on Cross Mountain, with Little North Mountain in front of me. And the trailer court down the road. Continue reading “Becoming Appalachian”

Woodrat Podcast 25: Sherry Chandler, Bluegrass poet

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
Sherry Chandler
Sherry Chandler (r) and her Aunt Gladys, posing with a hay rake

Sherry Chandler is one of those rare poets who actually does research. We talk about her delvings into family lore and Kentucky history in between poems, many of which are from a new online chapbook from the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Firing on Six Cylinders, which she calls “a romance of the road.” We talk about the car culture, and where that restlessness and rebellious streak might’ve come from.

In addition to her regular blogging, Sherry posts micropoems at Identica and Twitter, where she has more than 2000 followers. She has a good bio on her blog, detailing her publications and awards.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)