Another Review at MyShelf.Com

An Appalachian Poet in San Francisco
M Ray Allen

Mountain Empire Publications Appalfolks of America Association
March 2013/ ISBN 9780978914387

Reviewed by Willie Elliott


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.

Allen 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.

All the 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.

The book 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.

Reviewed 2014