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Om forfatteren

Joyce Dyer is director of writing and associate professor of English at Hiram College, Ohio

Includes the name: Joyce Dyer ed.

Værker af Joyce Dyer

Associated Works

Critical Essays on Galway Kinnell (1996) — Bidragyder — 2 eksemplarer

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I've been reading a lot of opinions lately about the current bestseller, HILLBILLY ELEGY, by JD Vance, some positive, some not. I have not yet read the Vance book, but I hope to soon. In the meantime I recommend this book, BLOODROOT: REFLECTIONS ON PLACE BY APPALACHIAN WOMEN WRITERS, by Joyce Dyer (Editor). It's a book that's been around now for nearly twenty years. Its title comes from a root plant indigenous to Appalachia, valued for its medicinal properties, that "presents a beautiful appearance when cut and placed under a microscope, seeming like an aggregation of minute precious stones." (- Joseph E. Meyers, "The Herbalist and Herb Doctor," 1918 - from the frontispiece)

An apt title, I think, especially in view of this aggregation of 36 moving and beautiful essays from a wide variety of writers, all of them about how their Appalachian experiences have shaped and influenced them, both as women and as artists and writers.

It would be nigh impossible, I think, to try to summarize or typify what's contained within these covers, so I'm not going to try. Instead I'll just share a few short samples.

Here's Jayne Anne Phillips, on the lives of some of the poorest families of her West Virginia town, kids she went to school with in 1962, when she was ten -

"... some of the mothers break down and take off, or they break down in a different way and go to the bars with the men. Then it's the older sisters waiting with the children, sisters who are not much older than me. Soon they'll quit school, if they haven't already, and be taken up by some man who probably already has a brood of kids. They'll live in a hollow like the one they grew up in, places with names like Mud Lick, Sago, Volga, a cluster of buildings around a coal tipple ..." ("Premature Burial"}

Or here's Virginia native Rita Sims Quillen on finding another family in fellow Appalachian writers who have encouraged and mentored her, folks like Jim Wayne Miller, Robert Morgan, Lee Smith and others -

"So I do have a tribe that I belong to, but they are with me only in spirit most of the time. I live and think and feel and write alone, as everyone ultimately must. I will persist in writing because it is the only way to get some peace, the only antidote to the mostly-manic-occasionally-depressive kind of mind I have. The white page is the safety valve on the bubbling steam of words and images fogging up my brain ... The constraints of being a woman who chose to be a wife and mother and writer must be acknowledged and accepted. It has become apparent to me that affirmation will never come from anywhere outside myself - not from my neighbors, not from the media, the literary establishment, or the academy. The person who will validate my experiences and affirm my words as a person and a writer is me. I know who I am, where I came from, and where I'm going." ("Counting the Sums"}

Now THAT is a powerful statement from a woman who's sorted it all out and has chosen to PERSIST with her writing.

And one more, from South Carolinian Bennie Lee Sinclair. This one hit home for me, making me remember myself nearly fifty years ago, with a brand new MA in English and a job at a community college, finally ready to begin my dream of being a writer, sitting down at a typewriter and finding I had nothing to say. A crushing experience. Here's what Sinclair remembers -

"I had been writing, and publishing, since first grade, but now that I had finally finished college and was ready to be a writer, I found myself at a stage of development no one had warned me of: I knew how to handle words fairly competently but as yet had nothing worthwhile to say. It was an astounding discovery, and very depressing. I kept on practicing but did not send things out for a long time." {"Appalachian Loaves and Fishes"}

I could go on, but I hope you get the idea. And I know these small samples are not necessarily about Appalachia, but most of these writers do get around to those influences in their contributions here.

Some of these writers I'd not heard of, but many I had, since they are successful poets and fiction writers, people like Gail Godwin, Lisa Alther, Nikki Giovanni, and Mary Lee Settle, just to name a few. And there is, too, editor Joyce Dyer's lovely and erudite Introduction. (And you must read Dyer's two beautiful memoirs, GUM-DIPPED: A DAUGHTER REMEMBERS RUBBER TOWN and GOOSETOWN: RECONSTRUCTING AN AKRON NEIGHBORHOOD.)

I have actually been sampling these stories over a span of several years now, and still have a few left to read, but thought it was time to get the word out, to share my enjoyment of these variously lovely and moving little pieces of Appalachian living and writing. I can't begin to tell you how much I admire these women. My highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
… (mere)
TimBazzett | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jul 26, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The author spent her early years in the now-gone Akron neighborhood of Goosetown around 1950, and attempts to reconstruct the people and places of that time. With the help of her beloved Uncle Paul and various archives, she comes to understand her past. Unfortunately, very little happened. Painstaking detail is lavished on minor events. True, a young cousin was tragically killed in an accident, and there's the mystery of where a grandfather disappeared for several years - but most of this left me cold. I felt bad for not caring, but reading this was like watching someone's endless vacation slides (and the book's not even that long).… (mere)
ennie | 12 andre anmeldelser | May 15, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm sorry, but I just couldn't get interested in either the characters nor the town. I got halfway through the book and was just bored every page. I hate to give a bad review, but I can't say anything good about it. If there is some great improvement later in the book please let me know and I'll try to finish it. In the meantime I have too many good books sitting around just waiting to be read.
BinnieBee | 12 andre anmeldelser | Apr 18, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
I took a while in reading this book in order to really soak up eveything I read. It was a detailed history of the Ohio Firestone indutry from the authors perspective as a girl growing into adolesence and adulthood. Although I could not identify with the majority of the book, the part that did hit home with me was the end, when her mother and father fell ill. The chapters about the battle with alzheimers was eerily similar to what I went through with my grandfather.

Overall, I felt the book was a bit slow, but is very well written. It is a beautiful story of learning that the people you look up to most, are usually the ones to let you down the most.… (mere)
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sringle1202 | 3 andre anmeldelser | Apr 9, 2010 |


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Associated Authors

Jennifer Cognard-Black Editor, Contributor
Elizabeth Macleod Walls Editor, Contributor
Nikky Finney Contributor
Rita Sims Quillen Contributor
Betsy Sholl Contributor
Marilou Awiakta Contributor
Jo Carson Contributor
Sidney Saylor Farr Contributor
Lee Smith Contributor
Jane Stuart Contributor
Hilda Downer Contributor
Llewellyn McKernan Contributor
Bettie Sellers Contributor
Lisa Koger Contributor
Ellesa Clay High Contributor
Sharyn McCrumb Contributor
Maggie Anderson Contributor
Lou V.P. Crabtree Contributor
Gail Godwin Contributor
Nikki Giovanni Contributor
Lisa Alther Contributor
Mary Lee Settle Contributor
Denise Giardina Contributor
Barbara Smith Contributor
George Ella Lyon Contributor
Jean Ritchie Contributor
Wilma Dykeman Contributor
Anne Shelby Contributor
Sheila Kay Adams Contributor
Maureen Stanton Contributor
Monica Frantz Contributor
Norma Tilden Contributor
Karen Outen Contributor
Jen Hirt Contributor
Monica Berlin Contributor
E. J. Levy Contributor
Ana Maria Spagna Contributor
Mary Quade Contributor
Emily Rapp Contributor
Joy Castro Contributor
Debra Marquart Contributor
Mary Swander Contributor
Rebecca McClanahan Contributor
Diana Salman Contributor


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