Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place


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Samenvatting

With Bell Hooks, though who prefers not to capitalize her name, a convention I do not respect , the issue of her writing is that she claims to be above and beyond race when her writing indicates otherwise.

It is her lack of honesty and integrity that makes her work less than enjoyable and those tendencies are in full evidence here despite the fact that the author's reflections on hillbilly Kentucky life and my own early childhood in rural Pennsylvania and later in rural Florida are not particularly dissimilar, race and gender aside.

And that is precisely the point of disconnect. This particular mercifully short volume begins inauspiciously with the author reflecting in her turgid prose on her childhood and on the way that she completely failed to identify with her poor white neighbors or the poor whites of Appalachian Eastern Kentucky because they were white and she was not. The rest of the book goes downhill from there in looking at her execrable poetry which continually reflects on issues of memory and betrayal and shows the author completely unable to rise above the prison of her background and experiences.

She invokes Buddha, shows a marked preference for animals to people, and finds even the white snow to be oppressive in its whiteness, suggesting a sort of mental and moral pathology on the part of the poetess. Most of the poems themselves are composed of fragments that lack linking words and expressions, and none of the words have capitalization so the writing does not come off as well as it otherwise would. The perspective can be compared to a broken person trying to pretend that she is not broken but confident and strong, someone whose past is omnipresent but who is self-deceived into thinking that she has moved on.

The author could be pitied for this perspective, if she was not so determinedly hostile to me as a reader on identity grounds. What is most striking about the author's self-deception is not her misguided belief that she has overcome the wrongs she believes herself to have suffered personally or ancestrally, but that in her writings about Appalachian life she appears to be particularly blind to the indigenous inhabitants of the land who were dispossessed so that she could have her rural Kentucky childhood, as while there are many reflections on animals escaping from Daniel Boone or running wild and free as the author would like to, there are few reflections on the fact that the author too and not only she criticizes is a child of privilege that she does not recognize nor has she done anything to deserve.

The author's total inability to reflect upon the way that she too is the descendant of those who have benefited from injustice and not only suffered from it makes these works intensely hypocritical. And when the poetry is so poor from a technical perspective, it cannot bear the added weight of having to be judged as lacking because of the moral blindness of its self-righteous creator on top of its failure as poetry.

Apr 14, michelle rated it it was ok Shelves: poetry. Dec 02, Lydia rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry , black-lit-soul-lit , non-fiction. I had no idea bell hooks wrote poetry. How glad am I to discover she does? This slim little volume is about place, identity, belonging, coming home and all the emotional turmoil and joy that comes with it. What I adore about hooks' writing in this volume is how articulate she is. She is so precisely able to express herself and her thoughts. When I read her writing, particularly her essays, I feel like she has said exactly what she needs to say and used the right number of words doing so.

It's not I had no idea bell hooks wrote poetry. It's not like with Hemingway, where his writing is sparse and minimalist and bare. As to the actual poems, I loved so many of them. They were full of beautiful if painful metaphors about loss, land, freedom, blackness, ownership and all of the above. I feel that I preferred her poems when they were steeped more in metaphor and not necessarily so explicit about, for example, slavery. I felt that the intertwining of the environment and the discussion of the history of Kentucky made her poems what they were.


  1. Reclaiming Place;
  2. Bell Hooks: Appalachian Elegy Poetry and Place - Loyal Jones Appalachian Center.
  3. Appalachian Elegy.
  4. Organised Retailing and Agri-Business: Implications of New Supply Chains on the Indian Farm Economy.
  5. Empires of Speed!
  6. Fourier analysis of numerical approximations of hyperbolic equations!
  7. Hitlers Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Betrayal: the Intelligence Campaign Against Adolf Hitler;

I didn't want her to tell me the history, I wanted her to show me. I'll leave you with a poem of hers, so that you may decide for yourself if you'd like to read it. Sep 17, Kevin Harrington-Bain rated it really liked it. This is my first exposure to hooks's work, and while part of me wonders if that's like if my first exposure to Kanye West was listening to the first half of s and Heartbreak something that I'd be really interested in as a Kanye fan, but let's stay on track here , it's done nothing but motivate me further to read more of her work.

Appalachian Elegy Poetry And Place

For starters, the way she arranges and chooses line breaks is beyond intuitive to me personally. It was a brilliant blend of being smooth to read, but leaving ambig This is my first exposure to hooks's work, and while part of me wonders if that's like if my first exposure to Kanye West was listening to the first half of s and Heartbreak something that I'd be really interested in as a Kanye fan, but let's stay on track here , it's done nothing but motivate me further to read more of her work. It was a brilliant blend of being smooth to read, but leaving ambiguity in the lack of punctuation that allows for most of the poems to be read in semantically different ways.

There are layers to her creativity. The introduction at the front of the collection was beautiful without seemingly meaning to be, and was especially helpful in locating deeper themes in the book. The framing of the work as an elegy is not only appropriate and accurate, but also frames all of the content of the poems as a world worth celebrating without ever breaking out of the somber context.

The topics of classism, economics, race, and experience are all explored so creatively, but poignantly in such an effective way.

These would be powerful lines for use in English classrooms across many grade levels and topics. A beautiful if conflicted world. Feb 26, Jessica rated it it was amazing Shelves: rural-america , memoir , poetry.

Do you know your Southern lit?

A beautiful collection, though unsurprising in how it lingers on hills, trees, birds, soil, the iconography of Appalachia. In her introduction hooks argues that the agrarian lives of black folk have been erased from history, even though as she notes "all my people come from the hills, from the backwoods, even the ones who ran away from this heritage refusing to look back.

As such, this is a collection of poems of mourning, but also calls to action. Many of the poems have within them an imperative voice, but also the process of lamentation. Lots to savor here. Jun 19, Ashish Kumar rated it did not like it Shelves: poetry. The introduction part of the book was brilliant and i thought the poems would be that brilliant but they weren't. View 2 comments. I'm not confident in my ability to talk about poetry in the same way that I talk about narrative fiction, but I do know that this particular collection had poems that made me appreciate hooks' word choice and poems that made me feel something, both lighthearted and deeply ashamed.

I was drawn especially to the pieces about nature, and while I'm still a relative stranger to most things Appalachia, I am a big fan of the wilderness here. Sep 23, Peter rated it it was amazing Shelves: , beautiful , meaningful , poetry. After reading this beautiful collection of poems, I am convinced more than ever of the impermanence of things, that heart and soil are one, that life in any iteration is a glorious path, and that every one of us who travel it is a hero!

Feb 13, Matt Jaeger rated it it was ok. Perhaps it is a collection to be read slowly, a poem a day on which to meditate. But I read it straight through and felt unmoved and unchallenged, finding the poems redundant in imagery and rhythm. The introduction, however, was quite good. Apr 20, Em rated it liked it. I enjoyed the idea of this book of poems more than the poems itself. Sep 02, Katie rated it it was amazing. My favorite poem was the one about horses being like Buddha. Jul 15, Sujata rated it liked it. Poetry is hard for me. Her intro was worth it all, revealing the context of being black and Appalachian.

Aug 03, Adynah rated it really liked it. A lovely collection of poetry. Truly beautiful verses: All around this body light moves a communion of gathered spirits. Jul 19, Sabra Kurth rated it really liked it. Some lovely images, some stark, inhumane images.

Jan 27, Meredith Scalos rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-again , favorite-poetry.

An incredible piece of work capturing the beauty, sorrow, strength, resilient, desperation, and hope that comes from being from Appalachia. Oct 24, Terry rated it really liked it Shelves: owned. Jan 23, Jade Geary rated it really liked it Shelves: appalachian. As an Appalachian, some of these poems really resonated with me and my upbringing. Mar 23, Brittany rated it it was amazing. Absolutely stunning. Dec 14, Amanda rated it really liked it Shelves: female-centric , poetry.

appalachian elegy: poetry and place

I love her voice. Her poetry is clear. Nov 23, Stephanie G. Read Them Aloud I am here. Reflecting on the racism that continues to find expression in the world of real estate, she writes about segregation in housing and economic racialized zoning. In these critical essays, hooks finds surprising connections that link of the environment and sustainability to the politics of race and class that reach far beyond Kentucky.

With characteristic insight and honesty, Belonging offers a remarkable vision of a world where all people--wherever they may call home--can live fully and well, where everyone can belong.

Book information

Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New arrivals. Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place bell hooks August 15, Author, activist, feminist, teacher, and artist bell hooks is celebrated as one of the nation's leading intellectuals. Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hooks drew her unique pseudonym from the name of her grandmother, an intelligent and strong-willed African American woman who inspired her to stand up against a dominating and repressive society.

Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place

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