A! Magazine for the Arts

The "environmental uniqueness and corresponding imaginative warmth" of the region inspires Bristol poet Dan Stryk.

The "environmental uniqueness and corresponding imaginative warmth" of the region inspires Bristol poet Dan Stryk.

Regional Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month

March 24, 2009

I am honored to select only a small group of poets from this area's rich array of talent to represent all regional poets in the April issue of A! Magazine for the Arts that celebrates National Poetry Month.

After spending most of my youth in the Midwestern "cornlands" west of Chicago, I've lived, taught, and written here in Bristol for 22 years. Despite my "Northern" past and its indelible memories, I have for a good while now felt equally connected to my adopted Appalachian home. I have tried to make poems about this special corner of the world I've come to love, with growing cultural insight and a hoped-for authenticity.

In fact, since settling in the South, I and my painter wife, Suzanne, have never tired of turning over logs to view salamanders on our daily walks in the woods near our home and in those higher elevations beyond - which naturalists have aptly dubbed "The Salamander Capital of the World." To top it off, on days that we've had the good fortune to spot a few new specimens, the two of us like to celebrate with a ritual stop at one of our favorite local eateries for that purely Southern lunch we both could die for: pulled pork barbecue with hickory-sweet sauce (and, of course, the coleslaw slathered on it!) - with bluegrass trilling, above laughter, from the jukebox.

But humor aside, I'm still truly inspired by that environmental uniqueness and corresponding imaginative warmth so characteristic of our region.

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Celebrate the poetry of this region more fully when all of the poets represented below will read from their works at the annual Sunday with Friends Poetry Celebration on Sunday, April 19, 2009, at 3 p.m. in the Conference Room of the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon, Va.

-- Dan Stryk: 'The Smell of Onions, Mowing'
-- A Review: Solace and Radiance: The Imaginative Writings of Dan Stryk
-- Rita Sims Quillen: 'What Probably Made Me a Writer'
-- Warren M. Harris: 'String Theory'
-- Linda Parsons Marion: 'Inheritance'
-- Jeff Daniel Marion: 'The Man Who Loved Hummingbirds'
-- Jane Hicks: 'The Ryman Auditorium, 1965'
-- Edison Jennings: "The Sympathy of Dust'
-- Dominique Traverse: 'Escaping Mamaw in Stormy Weather'

-- Arts for Youth Spotlight: Margo Thomas Expresses Emotions Through Poetry
-- Poetry Reading April 21: Gretchen McCroskey, 'Finding My Way Home'