Learning 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 Wade Hall.
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
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.