July Read of the Month: “The Disappearing Act,” by Sara Pirkle Hughes

Reviewed by Anya Krugovoy Silver In her consistently outstanding debut volume of poetry, The Disappearing Act, Sara Pirkle Hughes demonstrates her facility with beginnings and endings.  Poems about childhood, family relationships, and the fleeting, fraught nature of sexual desire detail life’s complexities while resisting answers to its mysteries. Hughes writes masterful first and last lines:  […]

Richard Rankin

Richard Rankin has been the Anderson Davis Warlick Head of School at Gaston Day School for the last 17 years. He is the author of several books, including While There Were Still Wild Birds: A Personal History of Southern Quail Hunting, which is forthcoming in May 2018 with Mercer University Press.  He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He and his wife, Sarah […]

February Read of the Month: “Kiss of the Jewel Bird,” by Dale Cramer

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl All things being equal: Possessed by spiritual dissatisfaction, or a hunger for knowledge or mastery, Faust makes a pact with the devil. It’s an old legend, of course, with tales told as early as the 1500s, and the stuff of drama, Marlowe and Goethe, and then Thomas Mann. The Faustian […]

“Rise and Shine,” by Johnathan Scott Barrett

  Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Our late friend Bill Borland was from Eudora, Arkansas; he loved to cook gumbos and such and hush puppies. Once, before we were on our way to his home for dinner, my wife asked me what a hush puppy was and I said cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking […]

“South of the Etowah,” by Raymond L. Atkins

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The “Etowah” in the title to Raymond L. Atkins’s recently published book refers to a 164-mile-long waterway rising in northwest Georgia to begin flowing south and then west through Rome, Georgia. If one had the interest, one might build a raft and, Huckleberry-like, float along through Alabama down to Mobile […]

“Conjuror,” by Holly Sullivan McClure

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Anyone driving east on Interstate 40 and crossing from Tennessee into western North Carolina will cross over U.S. Route 19 running roughly northeast-by-southwest.  Near the intersection of Route 19 and U. S. Route 441 is the Oconaluftee River Valley and the Qualla Boundary land trust. The area has an interesting […]

“Wondering Toward Center,” by Kathy A. Bradley

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Back in 1851 Henry Thoreau arrived at the Concord Lyceum to deliver a lecture, one he would repeat ten or more times.  He thought of the piece as seminal to everything he might write afterwards.  He revised it throughout the next nine or so years, publishing the piece eventually as […]

“Where the Souls Go,” by Ann Hite

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Ann Hite’s Where the Souls Go is subtitled “A Black Mountain Novel.”  It’s the third in her series of novels rooted in this complicated, mystical, wispy place. For the geographically challenged, North Carolina’s Black Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains region, old mountains steeped in mystery […]