Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place by bell hooks

By bell hooks

Writer, activist, feminist, instructor, and artist bell hooks is widely known as one of many nation's top intellectuals. Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hooks drew her distinctive pseudonym from the identify of her grandmother, an clever and strong-willed African American lady who encouraged her to face up opposed to a dominating and repressive society. Her poetry, novels, memoirs, and children's books mirror her Appalachian upbringing and have her struggles with racially built-in faculties and unwelcome authority figures. one in every of Utne Reader's "100 Visionaries Who Can swap Your Life," hooks has received huge acclaim from critics and readers alike. In Appalachian Elegy, bell hooks maintains her paintings as an imagist of life's harsh realities in a set of poems encouraged via her early life within the remoted hills and hidden hollows of Kentucky. immediately meditative, confessional, and political, this poignant quantity attracts the reader deep into the adventure of residing in Appalachia. relating such issues because the marginalization of its humans and the environmental degradation it has suffered through the years, hooks's poetry quietly elegizes the sluggish lack of an id whereas additionally celebrating that that's consistent, firmly rooted in a spot that's not entire.

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Example text

Hard rain softens harder ground from solid rock to mud so thick feet go under making every step dirge and trial even as joy surfaces at last today we plant we hope 24 15. pink and white oleander not native to Appalachian ground still here lies years and years of poison rebel flags heritage and hate in the war to fight hunger and ongoing loss there are no sides there is only the angry mind of hurt bringing death too soon destroying all our dreams of union 25 16. go high up climb to the very top look out remnants of majesty remain here where soldiers stand watching their gods die what will be given in return for shelter an end to hunger sanctuary look from the mountaintops an army of broken promises land invaded then left as though there were no other way to claim belonging 26 17.

Ritual places a set offering dead bird on wooden slats carry beauty still stretched and moaned as though bearing its own cross suffering those last moments there are altars in these hills organic monuments calling the sacred rock on which to stand and know divine presence witness and testify as birds of prey fly high opening wide wings reaching past death 49 40. on hallowed ground I cast the circle that there may be haven for the lost refuge and sanctuary turning to the hills I place feet on steady ground letting earth hold me in praise of air I lift my hands to the heavens call down grace for blessings for anointed being turning toward water I let go remembered sins cleanse and purify burning sage I bring fire to warm and illuminate all around this body light moves a communion of gathered spirits 50 41.

Barren broken hill once a place of possibility now only remnants old glory gone heritage sullied with hate ancestors indigenous and dark held captive by soldiers and greed by bloody conquest battlefields where the dead live unclaimed not mourned histories buried forgotten lost to a world of cover-ups ghosts return to these hills to grieve cry out lamentations mourning the desecration of earthbound bodies ghosts gather here make promises of resurrection and return 55 46.

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