Words from a wisdom keeper

Joy Harjo is the current Poet Laureate of the United States. She is “Native,” “Indigenous,” of the Muscogee/Creek (Mvskoke) “Native Nations” as she likes to identify herself. I have followed her and her work — as a poet in the literary tradition and warrior in the tribal, indigenous tradition — for a long time. Long enough to watch her grow from a budding young poet to the wisdom-keeper she has now become in her early seventies. 

A book about the paths most traveled

In my younger years, I used to do a lot of hiking. I would follow footpaths and trails or blaze my own way through the woods or along streams and rivers. While those trailblazing days are over, I get my more physical outdoor thrills vicariously from writers like Robert Moor, who travels all over the planet experiencing different ecosystems and terrain to whet his appetite and intellect.

A walking tour of Paris and the arts

Every once in a while I like to go back and read the classics, especially those that have managed to bypass my attention and my gaze. 

A story of immigrants gone missing

Asheville’s own Terry Roberts is back again with another page-turner in the form of a brand new novel just released late last month. 

Imagining Bob Dylan’s fictional youth

As a reader, I tend to get on jags with authors whom I admire. Recently, I’ve discovered the work of Baron Wormser and have reviewed his nonfiction memoir of living off the grid in New England for 25 years in these pages. An amazing story, an amazing writer. I wanted to read more of his work. 

A shiner’s tale, a woman’s perspective

In a literary genre (Appalachian noir) dominated by men, Amy Jo Burns’ new novel Shiner breaks through barriers and the unspoken publisher-induced rules of the genre — conflict, conflict, conflict — and comes out on the other side with a compelling story that has an interior rather than a dark, action-driven or plot-driven narrative.

Neanderthals were smarter than we thought

Toward the end of 2020, I reviewed a book here titled The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron. This was fiction and a novel based on actual anthropological research giving the reader a camera-eye look into the lives of the last full-blood Neanderthals to inhabit Europe. Cameron had done her homework and had written a captivating story.

The poetry of living off the grid

If the word “value” is to mean anything, it should at least apply to two or more things. First it should refer to monetary worth, and second, and more importantly, it should refer to appreciation of higher consciousness regarding human experience. 

Pick up a book and travel

If you are like me and have been more than somewhat stranded by the pandemic for the past year or more and are succumbing to cabin fever and the isolation blues and are looking  forward to getting out and about or even doing some traveling, then I have a suggestion.

Spilling words like a house afire

News flash: Buncombe County author Wayne Caldwell is also a poet! Evidenced by his just-released collection Woodsmoke (Blair Publications, Durham) we are treated to a life in the Western North Carolina mountains from the perspective of an elder gentleman who has lived, according to a multi-generational tradition, the old ways.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.