The Weatherford Award is an honor bestowed by Berea College to highlight books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” Basin Ghosts by Johnson City poet Jesse Graves received the poetry prize again this year. Graves’s first collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, won the Weatherford Award in 2011. It also won the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award in 2012.
According to Texas Review Press, which published Basin Ghosts last fall, the poems consider life in Appalachia and “changes that have occurred over generations in communities there, and the ways in which the past lives on through memory and attachment to the land.”
Berea College issued this statement in announcing the prize:
One Weatherford judge explains that Basin Ghosts “has a retrospection for personal and regional histories that resonates with a wide audience. We are captured by what he is showing us, and that is a key to fine storytelling. The poetry asks questions about ‘what happened to those histories’ and ‘where are we now because of them?’”
Another judges explains, “There’s a haunting delicacy to the work in this book; each word carrying weight, load bearing, yet simple and fresh: ‘The story passes down scant as noon shade.’”
To read Chapter 16’s review of Basin Ghosts, click here.
To read an excerpt from Basin Ghosts, click here.
To read an essay by Jesse Graves for Chapter 16, click here.
To read Chapter 16’s conversation with Jesse Graves, click here
To read more about the honors for Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, click here.
To read an excerpt from Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, click here.
For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16‘s News & Notes page, here.