A newly released publication, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, features Randolph English professor Laura-Gray Street as a co-editor.
The combined literary and natural history anthology was published by the University of Georgia Press and was co-edited by Street, Rose McLarney, and L.L. Gaddy. The anthology is a guide to identifying 60 selected species of Southern Appalachia, one of the most biodiverse areas on earth, and to knowing the place in broader, poetic senses. Each species in the field guide is featured in a poem by a different Southern Appalachian, contemporary poet, and most of the poems are composed specifically for the book. Each literary response is paired with an illustration by an accomplished regional artist and also includes a factual but engaging natural history account written by the editors.
In the publication, science and art converge as a poetic ecology that is both a working field guide and a literary anthology. The 60 poets appearing in the anthology serve as a “who’s who” of contemporary Appalachian-based literary culture. They include recipients of fellowships and awards from the MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller foundations; the National Education Association and National Endowment for the Humanities; and the Academy of American Poets; and include finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and PEN/Faulkner Award. The seven contributing artists, working in a range of mediums from paint to pen and ink to collage, have had work exhibited nationally and internationally in museums and galleries such as the Ohio Craft Museum, the Cumberland Gallery in Nashville, Taylor Bercier Fine Art Gallery in New Orleans, the Morris Museum of Art, the United States Botanic Garden, the Eleanor B. Wilson Museum, the Illinois Institute of Art, the Delaware Contemporary Art Center, the William King Museum, the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in South Korea, and others.
A selection of seven species with their accounts, poems, and illustrations is currently featured online in the Southern Humanities Review. Book launches and readings from the anthology are scheduled in Athens, Georgia; Asheville, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Lexington, Virginia; with additional events to come.
Find out more about A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia and purchase the anthology here.