Poems: New and Selected
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A collection of haunting lyricism that evokes the beauty and hardship of the rural South, by a revered American master of letters—the award-winning, bestselling author of the novels Serena, Something Rich and Strange, and Above the Waterfall.
In this incandescent, profound, and accessible collection, beloved and award-winning poet, novelist, and short-story writer Ron Rash vividly channels the rhythms of life in Appalachia, deftly capturing the panoply of individuals who are its heart and soul—men and women inured to misfortune and hard times yet defined by tremendous fortitude, resilience, and a fierce sense of community.
In precise, supple language that swerves from the stark to the luminous, Rash richly describes the splendor of the natural landscape and poignantly renders the lives of those dependent on its bounty—in cotton mills and tobacco fields, farmlands and forests. The haunting memories and shared histories of these people—their rituals and traditions—animate this land, and are celebrated in Rash’s crystalline, intensely imagined verse.
With an eye for the surprising and vivid detail, Ron Rash powerfully captures the sorrows and exaltations of this wondrous world he knows intimately. Illuminating and indelible, Poems demonstrates his rich talents and confirms his legacy as a standard-bearer for the literature of the American South.
more careless on the job and have that faraway look in their eyes. You’d know they were behind a mule and plow. They’d drink a lot more whiskey that time of year, and take a lot less from their section boss, who like us wives knew it the better course to cut them slack until the fever passed. But they were just remembering the best, not the things they’d gladly left behind, that made them leave. It’s easy to love a life you only have to live the good parts of. They’d forgotten what a
but came no closer, between church and field two marble stones, angel-winged, impassible. RESONANCE No rain for weeks, White Ash Creek a dry scab, lake miles away, nothing but flame, smoke, and heat, kept at bay by men blackfaced as miners after a shift, including those who will see myth-dreams awakened, a trout alive in a burning tree, branch-caught by the gill, closing and opening its mouth as though the smoke a murky upstream it has to make its way through to reach the hundred
family lore confirmed, a squared plot of slant land, full acre of white petals surrounding chimney stub once a homestead. Here a bride planted hundreds of dogwoods, so coming springs branches flared with white blossoms, waking an orchard of light against that bleak narrative of place name, a life scratched out on ground as much rock as dirt. Decades passed as she raised what might look from distant summit like a white flag unfurled, though anything but surrender. AT LEICESTER
of two lives that needed to fall forever away in a reservoir so vast it could bury a valley. THE MEN WHO RAISED THE DEAD If they had hair it was gray, the backs of their hands wormy currents of blue veins, old men the undertaker believed had already lost too much to the earth to be bothered by what they found, didn’t find, brought there that May afternoon dogwood trees bloomed like white wreaths across Jocassee’s valley. They took their time, sought the shade when they tired, let
to buy a bull he’d only owned a week. And though there were two paths he could have taken he took the one that followed Middlefork although the other path was better worn, had fewer roots to trip on in the dark. God brought Ezra Whitfield down that trail, brought Isaac up from town, the moonshine whiskey waiting to be drunk, the owlshead pistol crouching like a panther in his pocket. Isaac almost home, in five more minutes he’d have left the river trail and followed the creek up