Lost and Found Poems: George Scarbrough

While sifting through his library the other day, our own Edward Francisco found this gifted poem (below) written by George Scarbrough entitled “The Kitchen.”


The Kitchen

Broad planks laid on the raw clay
Composed the floor. Some had cupped
At edges, others at ends, so one made
A higgledy-piggledy journey from stove
To table. The butter-churn walked
The jigging timbers, and I passed
And repassed the cynosure of the room:
Herself seated shelling aprons of peas.
Ah, that trundling jar scudding spray
From motive dasher propelling yellow
Gold in spits and jots and tittles, frog-
Eggs of savoury oil gathering slowly
Into a summer island. She waved to me,
Knowing if I went, I would come again.



The following is George Scarbrough’s short biography, written before his death, from The South in Perspective:  An Anthology of Southern Literature by Edward Francisco, Robert Vaughn, and Linda Francisco.

Born to a sharecropping family in Patty, Tennessee, on October 20, 1915, George Scarbrough describes himself as an early, avid reader. He attended the University of Tennessee from 1935 to 1936 and the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee, from 1942-1943. In 1947 he graduated with a B.A. from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. In 1954, he received the M.A. from the University of Tennessee. Scarbrough’s poetry includes Tellico Blue (1948); The Course is Upward (1951); Summer So-Called (1956); New and Selected Poems (1977); and Invitation to Kim (1989). His novel A Summer Ago was published in 1986.


The Poetry Foundation, which has a few select poems, writes in a bio of Scarbrough:

George Scarbrough – Lincoln Memorial University Alumni Association

In 2005, Scarbrough was awarded an honorary doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University . . . In his lyrical poems, Scarbrough engaged the rural southern landscape and the lives that cross it . . . Scarbrough’s honors include a PEN American Branch Grant, two Carnegie Fund grants, a Borestone Mountain Award, Spirit Magazine’s Sheena Albanese Memorial Prize, a Governor’s Outstanding Tennessean Award in Literature, a Fellowship of Southern Writers’ James Still Award for Writing of the Appalachian South, Poetry‘s Bess Hokin Prize, a Knoxville Writers’ Guild Career Achievement Award, and induction in the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame . . . Scarbrough died in his sleep in Knoxville at the age of 93. His papers are archived at the University of the South.


Poets.org also features one of Scarbrough’s poems and some of his books are available at Iris Press.

** Featured Image from Iris Press



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