Monday, February 19, 2007

Rue & Bluets

Here's a book to pick up -

Blues & Roots, Rue & Bluets - A Garland for the Southern Appalachians - by Jonathan Williams. A long-time resident of Highlands, the poet riffs on the linguistic landscape of these hills we call home in this 1985 volume.

Five reasons to enjoy the book and JW:

1. A Round of Nouns in Jackson County - the found poetry of a circle of local place names: "...Mayapple Gap to Fern Mountain to Soapstone Gap to Rocky Face Cliff to Alum Knob..."

2. Selected Listings from the Western Carolina Telephone Company's Directory - priceless stuff...I see a few names of people I knew back then...JW took the phone book and just edited out everything but the poetry.

3. The Ancient of Days - inspired by a photograph of Aunt Cumi Woody taken by Bayard Wootten.

4. Black Mountain College - Williams participated in this progressive petri dish over past Asheville...the school attracted Buckminster Fuller, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Anni Albers, Jacob Lawrence, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Ben Shahn, Buckminster Fuller, M.C. Richards, Francine du Plessix Gray, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and on and on...He speaks of those times in this interview. Another Williams profile and bibliography is found here.

5. Jonathan Williams the photographer

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