What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do communities and cultures survive?
Central Appalachia and south Wales were built to extract coal, and faced with coal’s decline, both regions have experienced economic depression, labor unrest, and out-migration. After Coal focuses on coalfield residents who chose not to leave, but instead remained in their communities and worked to build a diverse and sustainable economy. It tells the story of four decades of exchange between two mining communities on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and profiles individuals and organizations that are undertaking the critical work of regeneration.
The stories in this book are told through interviews and photographs collected during the making of After Coal, a documentary film produced by the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University and directed by Tom Hansell. Considering resonances between Appalachia and Wales in the realms of labor, environment, and movements for social justice, the book approaches the transition from coal as an opportunity for marginalized people around the world to work toward safer and more egalitarian futures.
A new collection of stories from celebrated Kentucky author Gurney Norman
“A beautiful book” … “A remarkable, eye-opening set of stories” … “Brilliantly arranged” … “An exhilarating mirroring of consciousness itself” … “Grand and important, funny and heartbreaking” … “An act of grace”
Allegiance is a brilliant and original set of stories by former Kentucky Poet Laureate Gurney Norman. Spanning forty years of work, Allegiance is an autobiography told through stories—a rich personal journey into Norman’s life, place, and consciousness. In classic short stories, lyrical meditations, folktales, dreamscapes, and stream-of-consciousness writing, Norman imaginatively weaves together the threads of his life. Each story builds on what has come before, “prisms enlarging the effect of the whole …” The stories are humorous and heartbreaking, told mainly in the voice of Norman’s fictional narrator, Wilgus Collier. From his working-class childhood in the coalfields of Appalachia to the center of the 1960s counterculture and back again to Kentucky, Norman’s journey has been a life of many movements. This is a jacketed hardcover edition of Allegiance, featuring a foreword by poet Leatha Kendrick, an author’s note, and an original cover painting by Appalachian artist Pam Oldfield Meade. A selection of nonfiction pieces comprises the book’s epilogue.
Published by Old Cove Press
American Grief in Four Stages is a collection of stories that imagines trauma as a space in which language fails us and narrative escapes us. These stories play with form and explore the impossibility of elegy and the inability of our culture to communicate grief, or sympathy, outside of cliché.
One narrator, for example, tries to understand her brother’s suicide by excavating his use of idioms. Other stories construe grief and trauma in much subtler ways—the passing of an era or of a daughter’s childhood, the seduction of a neighbor, the inability to have children. From a dinner party with Aztecs to an elderly shut-in’s recollection of her role in the Salem witch trials, these are stories that defy expectations and enrich the imagination. As a whole, this collection asks the reader to envisage the ways in which we suffer as both unbearably painful and unbearably American.
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