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Download e-book Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers

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Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. As a woman from Appalachia, this book is very moving. It paints an accurate picture of how where you come from influences you, without you ever knowing it. It's a collection of essays, with diverse points of view. Most of the essays are wonderful and interesting, but some of them are a struggle to keep up with. Boring, self-important, missing the point, etc.

But overall, if you're looking for Appalachian literature, this is a must-have. It tells is just like it is.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I checked this book out from the library and then purchased it for Kindle before I ever finished the library book. I found it to be truly inspirational and informative as I work on my thesis on my own family's rural Southern roots.

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I marked so many pages and quotes that spoke to me and that I'll refer to over and over again. I have not yet read the Vance book, but I hope to soon. It's a book that's been around now for nearly twenty years. Its title comes from a root plant indigenous to Appalachia, valued for its medicinal properties, that "presents a beautiful appearance when cut and placed under a microscope, seeming like an aggregation of minute precious stones. Meyers, "The Herbalist and Herb Doctor," - from the frontispiece An apt title, I think, especially in view of this aggregation of 36 moving and beautiful essays from a wide variety of writers, all of them about how their Appalachian experiences have shaped and influenced them, both as women and as artists and writers.

It would be nigh impossible, I think, to try to summarize or typify what's contained within these covers, so I'm not going to try. Instead I'll just share a few short samples.

Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers

Here's Jayne Anne Phillips, on the lives of some of the poorest families of her West Virginia town, kids she went to school with in , when she was ten - " Then it's the older sisters waiting with the children, sisters who are not much older than me. Soon they'll quit school, if they haven't already, and be taken up by some man who probably already has a brood of kids. They'll live in a hollow like the one they grew up in, places with names like Mud Lick, Sago, Volga, a cluster of buildings around a coal tipple I live and think and feel and write alone, as everyone ultimately must.


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I will persist in writing because it is the only way to get some peace, the only antidote to the mostly-manic-occasionally-depressive kind of mind I have. The white page is the safety valve on the bubbling steam of words and images fogging up my brain The constraints of being a woman who chose to be a wife and mother and writer must be acknowledged and accepted.

It has become apparent to me that affirmation will never come from anywhere outside myself - not from my neighbors, not from the media, the literary establishment, or the academy. The person who will validate my experiences and affirm my words as a person and a writer is me. I know who I am, where I came from, and where I'm going.

Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers

This one hit home for me, making me remember myself nearly fifty years ago, with a brand new MA in English and a job at a community college, finally ready to begin my dream of being a writer, sitting down at a typewriter and finding I had nothing to say. Here's what Sinclair remembers - "I had been writing, and publishing, since first grade, but now that I had finally finished college and was ready to be a writer, I found myself at a stage of development no one had warned me of: I knew how to handle words fairly competently but as yet had nothing worthwhile to say.


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It was an astounding discovery, and very depressing. Click for larger view View full resolution Figure 1. A toymaker, Tryon, North Carolina, s. Photo by Bayard Wootten. How did she manage to convince 35 women authors to write brief reflections on the importance of Appalachia in their work? Whatever means she used to elicit these essays, the result is a marvel of a book, one whose significance far exceeds the boundaries of the mountains. In her graceful introduction Dyer explains why she did it. Dyer also explains how she compiled the volume. She sent a letter of invitation to a list though she does not reveal how large the list of women she wished to include, asking them to describe the influences on their [End Page ] writing and discuss whether or not the Appalachian place they inhabited, either in memory or actuality, was important to their work.

The University Press of Kentucky - About the Book

At least 35 women accepted the invitation and sent in essays remarkable in both their uniformity and diversity. Other recent books address the questions posed here, usually in the form of interviews with a handful of writers; but I know of no other book that is both so narrow in focus and so broad in participation. Though the concept is new, the format is straightforward. Dyer marches her writers down the pages in alphabetical order, introducing each with a photograph and paragraph of biographic information. The essays that follow, averaging about words and usually written specifically for this volume, all have a basic autobiographic cast but with impressively individualistic approaches.

Dyer succeeds in getting responses from some of the most prominent contemporary novelists: She includes Wilma Dykeman, whose distinguished year career of writing fiction and nonfiction has established her as the grande dame of Appalachian literature.


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It is a rich mix of genres, geography, and genealogy. The glue that gives the anthology coherence is that each of these writers has been touched in some way by the Appalachian region, either by having been born there, moved there, or even dreamed of being there.