I made a quick jaunt up to Louisville, Ky., for Saturday's reading of winners and finalists in New Southerner's 2012 Literary Awards. Judge Silas Hall had picked an excerpt from my upcoming novel "The Half-Life of Home" for a second-place finish, but I saw a chance to get out of town.
I love road trips through the countryside, following after of explorers and writers who have come before me. You can see the geography change along the Appalachians from the rocky Pigeon River gorge that Interstate 40 cuts through from Asheville toward Knoxville, then up Interstate 75 through Tennessee into Kentucky over the Cumberland Gap where limestone bluffs and outcroppings overlook what was Dan'l Boone's first footprints here. Then onto into what I consider Wendell Berry's neck of the woods, headed through rolling pastures of bluegrass (now brown grass in winter) toward the Ohio River.
It was a real treat last to hear the poems of Amy Tudor, who won the James Baker Hall Memorial Prize for her poem "Studies in Extinction", followed by a knockout-out new as yet unpublished work. My thanks to editor Bobbi Buchanan for inviting me and for running such an excellent, high-quality magazine. You should check it out.
Novelist, journalist, backpacker, aficianado of all things Appalachian.