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Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers

af Joyce Dyer (Redaktør)

Andre forfattere: Sheila Kay Adams (Bidragyder), Lisa Alther (Bidragyder), Maggie Anderson (Bidragyder), Marilou Awiakta (Bidragyder), Kathryn Stripling Byer (Bidragyder)29 mere, Jo Carson (Bidragyder), Lou V.P. Crabtree (Bidragyder), Doris Diosa Davenport (Bidragyder), Hilda Downer (Bidragyder), Wilma Dykeman (Bidragyder), Sidney Saylor Farr (Bidragyder), Nikky Finney (Bidragyder), Denise Giardina (Bidragyder), Nikki Giovanni (Bidragyder), Gail Godwin (Bidragyder), Ellesa Clay High (Bidragyder), Lisa Koger (Bidragyder), George Ella Lyon (Bidragyder), Sharyn McCrumb (Bidragyder), Llewellyn McKernan (Bidragyder), Heather Ross Miller (Bidragyder), Elaine Fowler Palencia (Bidragyder), Jayne Anne Phillips (Bidragyder), Rita Sims Quillen (Bidragyder), Jean Ritchie (Bidragyder), Bettie Sellers (Bidragyder), Mary Lee Settle (Bidragyder), Anne Shelby (Bidragyder), Betsy Sholl (Bidragyder), Bennie Lee Sinclair (Bidragyder), Barbara Smith (Bidragyder), Lee Smith (Bidragyder), Jane Stuart (Bidragyder), Meredith Sue Willis (Bidragyder)

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Winner of the 1997 Appalachian Studies Award Appalachian Writers Association 1999 Book of the Year Winner of the Susan Koppleman Award of the Popular Culture Association for Best Edited Collection in Women's Studies Joyce Dyer is director of writing and associate professor of English at Hiram College, Ohio."… (mere)
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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 ( )
  TimBazzett | Jul 26, 2017 |
I love this book. The voices of these women echo my own voice; they are simply more articulate than I. From Sharyn McCrumb to Wilma Dykeman to George Ella Lyon, I eat and drink their words, their thoughts, their passons. ( )
  Maggie_Foote | Aug 16, 2007 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Dyer, JoyceRedaktørprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Adams, Sheila KayBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Alther, LisaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Anderson, MaggieBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Awiakta, MarilouBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Byer, Kathryn StriplingBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Carson, JoBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Crabtree, Lou V.P.Bidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Davenport, Doris DiosaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Downer, HildaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Dykeman, WilmaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Farr, Sidney SaylorBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Finney, NikkyBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Giardina, DeniseBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Giovanni, NikkiBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Godwin, GailBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
High, Ellesa ClayBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Koger, LisaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Lyon, George EllaBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
McCrumb, SharynBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
McKernan, LlewellynBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Miller, Heather RossBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Palencia, Elaine FowlerBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Phillips, Jayne AnneBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Quillen, Rita SimsBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Ritchie, JeanBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Sellers, BettieBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Settle, Mary LeeBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Shelby, AnneBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Sholl, BetsyBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Sinclair, Bennie LeeBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Smith, BarbaraBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Smith, LeeBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Stuart, JaneBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Willis, Meredith SueBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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Winner of the 1997 Appalachian Studies Award Appalachian Writers Association 1999 Book of the Year Winner of the Susan Koppleman Award of the Popular Culture Association for Best Edited Collection in Women's Studies Joyce Dyer is director of writing and associate professor of English at Hiram College, Ohio."

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