Sunday Oct 25

Quillen Poetry Rita Sims Quillen’s novel Hiding Ezra, just released by Little Creek Books, was a finalist for the 2005 Dana Awards, and a chapter of the novel is included in Talking Appalachian, a scholarly study of Appalachian dialect published by the University of Kentucky Press in 2014. She also published a new poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press in 2014, Something Solid To Anchor To. One of six semi- finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, she received a Pushcart nomination and a Best of the Net nomination in 2012. Her most recent full-length collection, Her Secret Dream, is from Wind Press in Kentucky and was named the Outstanding Poetry Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in 2008. Previous works are poetry collections October Dusk and Counting the Sums, and a book of essays Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry. Her poetry, short stories, reviews and essays have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, including Roanoke Review, Chattahoochie Review, Potomac Review, Appamattox Review, Appalachian Heritage, Laurel Review, and the Birmingham Arts Journal, and she was anthologized in the Appalachian volume of the Southern Poetry Anthology series published by Texas Review Press, who will also be publishing her forthcoming collection, The Mad Farmer's Wife. She lives and farms on Early Autumn Farm in Scott County, Virginia. You can learn much more about her, her work, and the beautiful Appalachian mountains at her website here.


The Grey Fox

I couldn’t believe it
When I saw him
Flashing beauty against the blinding snow
Limping along the fence inside the yard,
The artificial boundary between
The world and the wild.
Carrying one leg, he owed
No explanation for the breach.
Just beyond the fence at the woods’ edge,
Regal and ramrod straight,
He sat down and stared intently
At me through the window
Already a ghost
My memory his only heir
Before coyotes delivered his fate.
What an honor to be sought
By what’s broken,
To be called to testify
To the struggle.

Heritage Apples

I need to talk about apples.
City folk only know the famous ones:
Red and Golden Delicious and Winesap
Gala and Granny Smith.
A few who remember the smell of woodsmoke might name
Summer Rambo or Juneapple.
Just as with most things,
What is popular is the least substantive.
The apple has been simplified, smoothed-out
Commercialized from the untamed perfection of creation.
They mutated and crossed and were reborn
In every conceivable combination of traits.
Purists study and propogate them,
Attempt to bring the obscure treasures
Back into our hands.
There are books devoted to cataloging them.
Adding to the list of hundreds and hundreds of kinds.
Their names lilt across the breeze
Cox Orange Pippin and Virginia Beauty
Arkansas Black and Mountain Boomer
Roman and Ruby Red and Sunday Sweet.
No other food comes in so many varieties.
Why are there so many kinds of apples?
Corn and beans and potatoes have no such abundance.
Could it be that the story of The Fall,
The saddest of family stories
Points to the answer:
For such a sweet and lovely thing
As an apple to wear that burden
Of symbol of sin,
It must become every kind imaginable.