“Web of Water: Reflections on Life Along the Saluda & Reedy Rivers,” by John Lane with Photography by Tom Blagden, Clay Bolt, jon holloway, and Ben Geer Keys

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl I recall from graduate school years a semester with Wallace Stegner; in an odd crossing of the ways, Paul Horgan came to visit and discuss his Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History.  Stegner and Horgan were lionized in years past; likely the literary fame they once owned […]

March Read of the Month: “Driftwood Tides,” by Gina Holmes

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The American poet Hart Crane wrote in a late letter that “[t]here is constantly an inward struggle.”   More often than not such is the case with any artist, novelist, poet, sculptor, or wood-worker.  Inside the soul, inside the imagination, there’s a stirring, a warring, contradictions of personality, affirmation, enthusiasm, skepticism […]

“Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County,” by Amy Hill Hearth

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl There are ladies with stories to tell, maiden ladies, of course, but also ladies with worldly experience, oral histories for sure, and in the south the stories are most fun when they rub against one another, meandering down and along rivulets until collecting in a main stream. I recall, for […]

“Jacob Jump,” by Eric Morris

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Pat Conroy prefaces Eric Morris’s first novel by placing him in a pantheon of southern writers whose theme is darkness: Cormac McCarthy, Ron Rush, and Flannery O’Connor. One could be “tripped up” by arguing such. It’s equally likely that Morris’s first novel could be placed in a larger context: any […]

“A Clear View of the Southern Sky: Stories,” by Mary Hood

Reviewed by Dan Sundahl I once had a student who wrote a poem about a farmer coming home mid-afternoon. In the farm-house kitchen, refreshed by some icey-sweet tea, he listened to muffled voices in an upstairs room. Carefully and quietly he mounted the steps and then down the darkened hallway to a room with a […]

“Soon,” by Pam Durban

Reviewed by Dan Sundahl Came a time I drove into old man Engebretson’s farm yard, late 1950s, southern Minnesota. It was a good bright day with a light sugary coating of snow on the ground. The old man had a 40-acre duck pond on his farm and corn rows to walk, ducks and pheasants in […]

“Slab,” by Selah Saterstrom

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl It’s been about four decades since the now mythologized Merwin incident at Naropa, chronicled by Tom Clark in a Cadmus Edition titled The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. In many respects, the incident is now like an epitaph for very different kinds of writing, the very charged, passionate and declamatory style […]

“Untying the Moon,” by Ellen Malphrus

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl It’s been four decades since Harold Bloom published The Anxiety of Influence. Bloom’s theory is that creative writers are hindered in their work because they maintain ambiguous relationships with precursor writers. He’s enlarged his theory these days by referencing precursor writers as “daemons.” I mention this because in his foreword […]