It isn't often a reader
gets to review a book by a student from his own high school
(McDowell High School in far Eastern Kentucky), but this is
the case with M. Ray Allen's new book of poetry An Appalachian
Poet in San Francisco. In a way the book captures Allen's
migration to Virginia and then to California and back to Virginia
with Kentucky remaining a theme in his writing.
has the full range of poems from the simple, but profound
such as the poem “Reading Lesson” where his four-year
old is convinced her scribbling says, “I love you, Daddy.”
That is exactly what it says. Of course some of the longer
poems take a little more time to read, understand and appreciate.
One poem “Okie Eden” was a surprise to me, and
I wondered where Allen got the idea for the poem.
poems are readable and enjoyable but I found myself looking
at those dealing with the mountains and Eastern Kentucky.
Some of the same images that appeal to Allen have a draw on
many of us here in the mountains.
should appeal to all who love to read and think about poetry
but should be welcomed by those who teach English (Allen taught
high school in Virgina) and those in the mountains of Eastern
Kentucky where Allen is known and appreciated for his writings.