James Applewhite has produced nine extraordinary books of poetry. This volume is the first anthology of his remarkable oeuvre. It brings together chronologically arranged selections from all of his previous books, from the first, published in 1975, through the most recent, published in 2002. Applewhite's poetry is deeply rooted in the history and rhythms of rural North Carolina, where he was born and raised, and these poems mark stages in an artistic and personal journey he has undertaken over the past thirty years.In impeccable and surprising language, Applewhite depicts the social conventions, changes, frictions, and continuities of small southern towns. He celebrates that which he values as decent and life-enhancing, and his veneration is perhaps most apparent in his response to the natural world, to the rivers and trees and flowers. Yet Applewhite's love for his native land is not straightforward. His verse chronicles his conflicted feelings for the region that gave him the initial, evocative language of place and immersed him in a blazing sensory world while it also bequeathed the distortions, denials, and prejudices that make it so painful a labyrinth. Rendering troubled legacies as well as profound decency, Applewhite reveals the universally human in a distinctively local voice, within dramatic and mundane moments of hope and sorrow and faith.
James Applewhite's books of poetry include A Diary of Altered Light (forthcoming), Quartet for Three Voices (2002), Daytime and Starlight (1997), and A History of the River (1993). He has received numerous awards, including the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award in Poetry, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Poetry, and the North Carolina Award in Literature. Applewhite is Professor of English at Duke University, where he has taught since 1972.
On the Selection ix I State Road 134 3 My Grandfather's Funeral 4 Driving Through a Country America 6 The Sunplane 7 Leaf Mirrors 8 William Blackburn, Riding Westward 9 Looking for a Home in the South 11 Discardings 12 Visit with Artina 13 A Kid at the County Fair 15 Revisitings 16 Zeppelin Fantasy 17 Bordering Manuscript 18 To Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in Exile 19 War Summer 20 A Southern Elegy 21 II The Capsized Boat 25 On the Homefront 26 A Vigil 27 A Garden's Season 28 Iron River 29 With Darkening Foliage 30 Diamond of Shadow 31 A Forge of Words 32 Combat Station 33 To Forgive this Inheritance 34 Images, Burning 35 A Minister, Crippled 36 Keeper of the Dragon's Teeth 37 Boundary Stones 38 III Tobacco Men 41 Drinking Music 42 Building in the Country 43 Roadside Notes in Ragged Hand 44 Water 46 Blood Ties: For Jan 47 Pamlico River 48 January Farmhouse 49 White Lake 50 Firewood 51 Some Words for Fall 53 From as Far Away as Dying 54 The Mary Tapes 55 IV Iron Age Flying 65 English Church Towers 68 Evening in Bath 69 Royal Hospital 70 Beginning with Egypt (The British Museum) 71 Foreseeing the Journey 72 V Jonquils 77 Collards 78 A Leaf of Tobacco 79 Barbecue Service 80 Southern Voices 81 The Morning After 83 Greene County Pastoral 84 Quitting Time 86 How to Fix a Pig (as told by Dee Grimes) 87 The Advisors 89 VI World's Shoulder, Turning 93 The Ford 94 Crossing on Cables 95 Constructing the River 96 Just Rain 97 Tree of Babel 98 Clear Winter 99 Like a Body in the River 100 The Sense of Light 101 When the Night Falls 102 In Sight of the Self 103 Buzzard's Roost 104 An Orphaned Voice 105 House of Seasons 106 The Water-Machine 107 The Sex of Divinity 108 Light Beyond Thought 109 Out of My Circle 110 Prayer for My Son 111 The Bison 112 Bridge Back Toward the South 114 Driving Toward Cairo 115 Rivers 116 The Self, that Dark Star 117 Sleeping with Stars an Bulbs, Time and Its Signs 118b The War Against Nature 121 The Student Pilot Sleeps 122 Lessons in Soaring 123 Art and the Garden 125 The Failure in Southern Representation 126 A Place and a Voice 128 Greenhouse Effect 134 The Descent 135 A Conversation 136 VIII Storm in the Briar Patch 143 Home Team 144 A Wilson County Farmer 145 Time at Seven Springs: An Elegy 146 After Winslow Homer's Images of Blacks 148 The Cemetery Next to Contentnea 150 A Father and Son 152 Light's Praise 154 IX A Voice at the River Park 157 Botanical Garden: The Costal Plains 159 Autumnal Equinox 160 Letter to My Wife, from Minnesota 161 A Tapestry in the Mirror in the Palazzo Pamphili 163 Sailing the Inlet 164 A Distant Father 166 Interstate Highway 168 Grandfather Wordsworth 170