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Where You Come from Is Gone: Poems

By author: Annie Woodford
Product Code: P648
ISBN: 9780881468540
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WHERE YOU COME FROM IS GONE examines the economic and racial violence of rural America, where whiteness is a fraught and often dysfunctional identity. It is a poetic attempt at a "blues line" or a bluegrass "breakdown" to embody a lush, dangerous, and often damaged American landscape as well as the resilience of the human spirit in the face of blunt labor and white supremacy. In the spirit of Hart Crane's "My Grandmother's Love Letters," these poems attempt "to carry back the music to its source" by presenting a lyric line that is both ragged and fluid, both colloquial and avant-garde, shaped by the displaced cadences of the Appalachian diaspora of mill workers and the folkways of Southside, Virginia. Woodford's perspective is as a poet who came of age at the end of a dying economy. She shares the economic precarity experienced by her community college students, writing poems meant to honor how people make beauty despite that precarity and perhaps because of it.
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Reviews

Review by: Maurice Manning, professor of English and writer-in-residence at Transylvania University, and author of THE COMMON MAN and RAILSPLITTER - May 18, 2022
"The sacred act of remembering in this haunted and heart-breaking book is finely harnessed to artistic precision, articulating the history of the rural South. The result cloaks anguish with beauty, suffering with grace, ignominy with a dignity whose desire to redeem is wholly human. How else to explain to a culture and its people their shared doom? How else to transform that doom into truth, that once known, softens the blow to the spirit and even provides that spirit the light of hope? This is a poet whose task has been to confront the world of her formation, not to leave it behind, but to know it, to forgive it, and even to love it, because there is nothing else to do. Amid the broken darkness here is the unmistakable effort of the poet to strike the match and light the way, a testament to what poetry is and can be, the angel of clarity and compassion."
Review by: Airea Matthews, assistant professor of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia's Poet Laureate 2022-2023, and author of SIMULACRA - May 18, 2022
"This is a collection that interrogates the nuance of what 'home' actually means. Set in the deep South, Woodford captains a journey toward a place of great comfort, pastoral beauty, and familiarity while confronting the historical violence of both race and class. In this work, the poems lift above the page and gently question the ways in which love coupled with disgrace create the tapestry that is, at once, our families, our memories, our lives."

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