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Facets of Appalachian Lives: Literature

This guide features books about Appalachian Studies that were published by the University Press of Kentucky. The books are on display at the William T. Young Library from mid-Oct. through the end of Dec. 2017.

Poetry

Buffalo Dance

Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York By Frank X. Walker

This collection of persona poems tells the story of the infamous Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of Clark's personal slave, York. The poems form a narrative of York's inner and outer journey, before, during and after the expedition--a journey from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the great northwest, from servant to soul yearning to be free. Over the course of the saga and through the poems, we are treated to subtle and overt commentaries on literacy, slavery, native Americans, buffalo, the environment, and more. Though Buffalo Dance purposely references historic accounts and facts, it is fictionalized poetry, and Frank X Walker's rare blend of history and art breathes life into an important but overlooked historical figure.

Find out more about Buffalo Dance and how to access this book!

Winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award

Women Writers

Women Writing in Appalachia

Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia edited by Sandra L. Ballard and Patricia L. Hudson

Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia is a landmark anthology that brings together the work of 105 Appalachian women writers, including Dorothy Allison, Harriette Simpson Arnow, Annie Dillard, Nikki Giovanni, Denise Giardina, Barbara Kingsolver, Jayne Anne Phillips, Janice Holt Giles, George Ella Lyon, Sharyn McCrumb, and Lee Smith. Editors Sandra L. Ballard and Patricia L. Hudson offer a diverse sampling of time periods and genres, established authors and emerging voices. From regional favorites to national bestsellers, this unprecedented gathering of Appalachian voices displays the remarkable talent of the region’s women writers who’ve made their mark at home and across the globe.

Fiction

River of Earth

River of Earth by James Still

First published in 1940, James Still’s masterful novel has become a classic. It is the story, seen through the eyes of a boy, of three years in the life of his family and their kin. He sees his parents pulled between the meager farm with its sense of independence and the mining camp with its uncertain promise of material prosperity. In his world privation, violence, and death are part of everyday life, accepted and endured. Yet it is a world of dignity, love, and humor, of natural beauty which Still evokes in sharp, poetic images. No writer has caught more effectively the vividness of mountain speech or shown more honestly the trials and joys of mountain life.

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