The Creek

by Victor Depta

1973  ISBN 8214-0121-1

The Creek stands out immediately as two things: 1. it is one of the few really good, really original books of surreal poetry published in the last couple of years; 2. it is a fine addition to the relatively long list of books about an author’s home roots.”

           Small Press Review Vol. 7, No 10-11 November/December 1975   R.C. Halla

“....Deriving primarily from William Carlos Williams and Charles Olson...commitment to freer, more open forms and influence stemming from Robert Bly and the surrealist poets Federico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Neruda...the confessional, as typified in the works of Robert Lowell, Ann Sexton, and Sylvia Plath….”

          Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society Vol.4 June 1976    Reed Sanderlin

“Depta’s poetry whirls and scintillates like a frisbee of blue lizards tripping on a glittering wind from California to West Virginia...charged with an uncontainable energy, they twist and writhe and burst into surreal images...the poem like Odysseus and Proteus in each other’s arms.”

          Mountain Review Vol. 2, No. 3   Donald Askins 

The House

by Victor Depta

1978  ISBN 0-912284-93-5

“...the poet’s relationship with his daughter, whom he brought up alone following a divorce.  The book’s four parts, arranged chronologically, record the joys, fears, doubts, and challenges of a male parent raising a female child.”

Appalachian Journal Vol. 22, No. 4  Summer 1995

A Doorkeeper in the House

by Victor Depta

1993  ISBN 0-938507-21-4

 ...”they (the poems) insinuated themselves up against my mind and made momentary patches, montages, of color and meaning for me, unaided by any suspect crutch to mysticism....They seemed to be more iridescent, like watered silk, changing even in process of reading....I became the grass and the flowers, the trees, the birds...Marc Chagall’s pictures and Rimbaud’s bateau ivre....”

Appalachian Journal Vol. 2, No 2  Winter 1975    

 "Verbal Montages"    George Scarbrough

“....Deriving primarily from William Carlos Williams and Charles Olson...commitment to freer, more open forms and influence stemming from Robert Bly and the surrealist poets Federico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Neruda...the confessional, as typified in the works of Robert Lowell, Ann Sexton, and Sylvia Plath....”

Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society Vol. 4 June 1976    

Reed Sanderlin

The Helen Poems

by Victor Depta

1994  ISBN 0-938507-22-2

“...the poet’s relationship with his daughter, whom he brought up alone following a divorce.  The book’s four parts, arranged chronologically, record the joys, fears, doubts, and challenges of a male parent raising a female child.”

Appalachian Journal Vol. 22, No. 4  Summer 1995

Human Landscapes

Poems by Daniel Smith, Edwina Pendarvis and Philip St. Clair

1997  ISBN 0-933087-42-X

Human Landscapes comprises three poetry collections: “Home Land” by Daniel Smith; “Joy Ride” by Edwina Pendarvis, and “Acid Creek” by Philip St. Clair.  Each of these collections offers the poet’s perspective on the human landscape in which they find themselves, Smith’s dairy farm in the flat land of Illinois, Pendarvis’s towns and coal camps of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, and St. Clair’s industrial Ohio post World War II and through the early cold-war era. All three collections connect the keenly felt effects of the political economy on human relationships with family, friends, and the natural and man-made landscape that surrounds them. Of “Home Land,” Wendell Berry says “Smith’s understanding of his involvement with the land moves me very much.” Of “Joy Ride,” Bob Snyder calls Pendarvis’s poetry, “a fresh and unpredictable approach to Appalachia and its people.” Of “Acid Creek,” Joe Napora calls St. Clair’s work a “wonderful and frightening exploration of the language of family” engendered by a legacy of industrialism.

Away Down South

A Biography of William Faulkner - by Edwina Pendarvis

ISBN 978-7-5446-1466-5

Away Down South: A Biography of William Faulkner is a young reader’s biography (dual-language, in English and Chinese) that shows why the Nobel Laureate from Mississippi wrote stories like no others, creating his own world—violent, comic, grotesque, but strangely beautiful.  Born in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner came from a line of stubborn, ambitious, and proud men and women.  Full of tension between freed slaves, those who’d fought to keep them enslaved, and those who had emotional ties to both groups, the South of Faulkner’s childhood had yet to salvage a decent future from the wreck. Faulkner’s novels expressed those tensions in one of American literature’s most unique bodies of work. This biography uses true tales from his life to illustrate the problems and accomplishments of a literary genius caught between the desire to create and the desire to destroy.

Between Two Worlds

A Biography of Pearl S. Buck - by Edwina Pendarvis

Between Two Worlds: A Biography of Pearl S. Buck, a dual language book in English and Chinese for middle-school and young adult readers, offers a fresh account of a writer who is one of only two American women ever awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, in 1892, Buck was taken to China by her American missionary parents when she was only a few months old.  Her exciting childhood and youth in China during the turbulent death of the old empire and the birth of a new republic are at the heart of her literary work and helped make her one of the greatest storytellers of modern times. Her West Virginia heritage, her experiences, in China, and her life after returning to the United States in 1934 are recounted in this colorful biography of a writer from Appalachia whose depictions of Chinese life have won the interest of readers around the world.

Black Hours

A Book of Days - by Edwina Pendarvis

"In Black Hours, Pendarvis casts a discerning eye over the American Landscape.  Like Goya’s 'Caprices' her poetic 'etchings' are a mix of gravity and satire executed in gaslight.  Giving free play to innovation she inserts new content into old forms, as with the Shakespearean sonnet in which love is displaced by greed.  Taking liberties with time she offers 'A Flipbook History of Western Art,' which awakens perception to our looming ecological holocaust.  The chapbook’s final entry, its only essay, 'Dead Reckoning,' identifies the causation of national catastrophe within a curious folktale by the American revolutionary Thomas Paine.”   P.J. Laska

The Social Life of Poetry

Appalachia, Race and Radical Modernism - by Chris Green

Winner of the 2009 Weatherford Award for Best Non-Fiction Book about Appalachia!

From Jewish publishers to Appalachian poets, Green’s cultural study reveals the role of “mountain whites” in American racial history. Part One (1880-1935) explores the networks that created American pluralism, revealing Appalachia’s essential role in shaping America’s understanding of African Americans, Anglos, Jews, Southerners, and Immigrants. Drawing upon archival research and deft close readings of poems, Part Two (1934-1946) delves into the inner-workings of literary history and shows how diverse alliances used four books of poetry (by Jesse Stuart, James Still, Muriel Rukeyser, and Don West) about Appalachia to change America’s notion of race, region, and pluralism.

The Social Life of Poetry makes a significant contribution to the contemporary study of race and place as it historically maps the cultural circulation of works by four poets writing about Appalachia. Not only does this book fill a gap in recent whiteness studies, it also offers valuable insights and specific examples for anyone working on such topics as cultural pluralism, modernist literary networks, U.S. publishing history, poetry’s rhetoric, identity politics, and intersections of race and class. In this incisive exploration of geographic cultural politics, Green has given us a comprehensive model for rigorously studying the social life and material history of regional poetry in relation to national circuits of production, distribution, and reception.”--Steven Mailloux, President’s Professor of Rhetoric, Loyola Marymount University

“In this masterful assessment of the role of poets and poetry in social discourse, Green has much to say about regionalism, cultural pluralism, and racial politics in the ever-shifting intellectual movements and publishing trends of the 1930s and 1940s, and about the peculiar place of Appalachians within those far-removed worlds. Never have we seen the mountain South and its literature portrayed on so large a canvas or in so compelling a context. A provocative, insightful and utterly original contribution to both Appalachian and American Studies.”--John C. Inscoe, Professor of History, University of Georgia, and Author of Race, War and Remembrance in the Appalachian South

"Green's book opens a window on a compelling and forgotten terrain in modern culture – the relationship between east coast modernism and the mountains of Appalachia. He deals powerfully with cultural interchanges and with Appalachia's own literary productivity, culminating in a beautiful chapter on Don West."--Cary Nelson, Author of No University is and Island: Saving Academic Freedom


Poems - by Chris Green

on Rushlight: Poems

Reading Chris Green’s Rushlight is like confronting an elemental force... This poetry has a grandeur of feeling that is solidly based in the real. No matter how sublime the sentiments, the poetry never loses touch with earth. Green’s tropes range far and deep—from flooded basements and stopped up sewage drains to a Valhalla conjured by a telemarketer selling cemetery plots; from a dire political history of Lexington’s Rupp Arena to a contemplation of the ampersand and stained glass. The entire collection has the spirit of public art, offering affirmation but raising questions. The title is apt, for this collection offers a natural, homely, and ancient form of light. But in a way, this poetry is like a bonfire. Set in the backyard of ordinary disappointments and pleasures of workaday life, its practical blaze sends sparks up to the skies and risks setting the neighborhood on fire. It’s bold work, the most exciting poetry I’ve read in a long time.

          —Eddy Pendarvis, author of Joy Ride, in Human Landscapes, Like the Mountains of China, Raft Tide and Railroad, and Ghost Dance Poems

Chris Green's Rushlight is a powerful new book of poems. Rushlights were made from rushes growing in marshy ground by old-time working people as substitutes for candles, to push against the darkness of the night. For me, Chris' poems light the world in a similar way. I see better in my own dark through these brilliant poems, for which I thank this very necessary writer.

          --Gurney Norman, Kentucky Poet Laureate & author of Kinfolks

Chris Green's Rushlight is as generous and sensuous as Whitman, but it's more grounded in rough domesticities: dank basements, littered front yards, and cat-rich bedrooms of the Midwest and Appalachia.  Green uses literal sumps and sumptuous language to dredge lost stories from floods of time and despair; as he puts it, "forgetter, plumb the dark corner."  A poet equally at home singing about political canvassing and climbing grain silos, Green is a courage-teacher.  We need more like him.

          --Philip Metres, author of To See the Earth

Chris Green writes about the stuff of a human life (clearing out the basement, his children, his friends, driving to work, his grandmother, unclogging the plumbing), and his poems enact how our souls are created by all this.  Being a poet never obtrudes on his being an honest-to-god person who does the “ceaseless work of care”

           (“Door to Door”).

Rare among books of poems, Rushlight is a page-turner: page after page we want to see what this poet has made for us to be and see next.  Chris Green’s extraordinary work calls its readers to the full life of their lives.

          --Jane Gentry, author of Portrait of the Artist as a White Pig

Radicalism in the South Since Reconstruction

Edited by Chris Green, Rachel Ruben and James Smethurst

This book broadly frames the scholarly conversation about Appalachian and southern radicalism, putting essays covering a range of historical periods and topics in dialogue with each other so as to get a sense of the range of southern politics and history.  Essays about Appalachia include Lynda Ann Ewen’s “The Great Anti-Injunction Strike of 1976: Context and Implications for Appalachia,” Pat Arnow’s "Southern Teater for Social Change,” and Chris Green’s “The Tight Rope of Democracy: Don West’s Cods of Southern Earth."