about the Writers of My State
many people would pick up a 800 plus page anthology for
recreational reading, but that is exactly what I did when
I found this wonderful resource for Kentucky authors,
The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years
of Writing in the Bluegrass State, edited by
I did not read the whole book, but I did read enough to
get a general history of the writing for my state in the
last two hundred years.
through the book, I sampled writing examples John James
Audubon, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Clay, and Harriette
Arnow, plus many others who are noteworthy on the national
there are those writers I am familiar with—those
that I met eye to eye and studied under their instructions—even
Charlie Sweet, an instructor I studied under at Eastern
Kentucky University while earning my MA in English is
included. Two others, associated with the Hindman settlement
school, are included: James Still and Albert Stewart.
It brings writers to full view when you can say, “I
have had classes under these writers and have eaten lunch
with Al Stewart and James still at the Hindman Settlement
School. Then there is Jesse Stuart, a favorite of people
my age in Eastern Kentucky.
writer included in the anthology that I plan to read more
of his material and writings about him is Thomas Merton.
there are the more modern writers famous here and on the
national scene such as Barbara Kingsolver, Chris Holbrook,
who taught at my alma mater, Alice Lloyd College, and
one writer who we like to say lived just one holler over,
Verna Mae Slone and her wonderful book What My
Heart Wants to Tell.
one is from Eastern Kentucky, he would be amiss not to
mention Harry Caudill and his Night Comes to the
Cumberlands, a book that explains in many ways
the reason we Eastern Kentuckians are the way we are.
course, I have left out many notable writers, but the
reader can see the diversity and quality of writers from
the state of Kentucky.
follow up needs to be done to include many more recent
writers, and each state should have such an anthology
to showcase their writers. As you might expect, such anthologies
are quite expensive. With a 2005 publishing date, this
one came in at $45 and would be much more expensive today.
I would love to see similar publications from other states.
has an M.A. in English and is a retired English teacher
(taught mostly Ameican Lit.). He was one of eight writing
consultants for the state of Kentucky for 2 years.
worked for a newspaper (Floyd County Times) for
two years and had articles published in the Lexington
(KY) Herald Leader.
attended the Foxfire seminar one summer (this is the group
that published the Foxfire books about the heritage
of people in and around Rabun Gap, Ga.). He has also attended
one of the National Writing Projects (the Mountain Writing
Project at Eastern Kentucky University at Richmond, KY