Protection Bricking the house against the happy jaws of wolves, my father and his tawny hired man, backs drawn deep in conspiracy, slapped mortar onto trowels, eyes migrating to as distance beyond clouds. Heat swam around them, requiring the huge delusion of some believable project to produce it. Neither spokeContinue Reading

It started as a lark. Six of us guys sat watching TV one evening in our college dormitory lobby. Someone absently picked up a copy of the local newspaper lying on the sofa. “Hey, here’s something we can do,” Joe M. announced. (Names are abbreviated to protect the chronically stupid.)Continue Reading

Growing up in the shadow of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a city socially stratified according to altitude, I fell under the spell of native author Christine Noble Govan, whose specialty was children’s mystery novels set in or near the city’s scenic attractions. A prolific writer of more than 50Continue Reading

  All aficionados of Southern literature know that William Faulkner’s literary landscape was the alluvial soil of the Mississippi Delta, the author’s “postage stamp corner of the world,” in his own memorable phrase. However, Faulkner’s biographers often overlook or downplay his connections to Tennessee. For instance, Faulkner’s great-grandfather and namesake,Continue Reading

The myth of the Old West exerts a tremendous influence on the popular imagination. Zane Grey pulp novels, countless TV series, and iconic Western films ensure that the cowboy remains a uniquely American archetype representing in one writer’s words, “movement, isolation, change, and new beginnings.” Of course, the outlaw isContinue Reading

The following excerpt was taken from Edward Francisco‘s introduction, “Appalachia Recognized,” in The South in Perspective:  An Anthology of Southern Literature (2001 Prentice Hall p.1058-59) This anthology is the only Southern literary compilation to feature Appalachian literature as its own category. Works from writers within the region are acknowledged andContinue Reading

Enjoy another sneak peak at Edward Francisco‘s forthcoming book, The Ever Changing Sky:  Meditations on the Psalms (Resource Publishers). Look for it in 2021!                 Psalm 57 “My soul is among lions:  and I lie even among them that are set on fire,Continue Reading

Their similarities were keen enough to define an archetype of the Appalachian writer at mid-20th century. Their differences were such as to make each a singular talent. Jesse Stuart, James Still, and George Scarbrough knew one another and admired each other’s work. All possessed shared experiences of growing up onContinue Reading

          He had idiot written all over his face. He smelled bad too, like he’d been swimming with crawdads in a sewer. Mama made me promise not to make fun of his poorly brushed teeth or the way he came to school sprouting hair in all directions. But Mama never hadContinue Reading

Growing up in the 1960s during an era of assassinations, civil unrest, and the war in southeast Asia, at times I wore sadness like a raincoat as a palpable and threatening cloud hung over the nation. My memories of that time recur as a series of stock and binary images: Continue Reading