Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Linda Parsons


On the mystery of mothering

This spring, thinning my garden beds overfull with hellebores, the early- and long-blooming Lenten rose, I accidently exposed a rabbit’s nest. It was the first I’d ever seen. I gently pulled back the top layer of gray fluff — then the scream. A humanlike scream of innermost fear.

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COVID Garden Diary

Dialogues with nature in a time of pandemic

Though we fight every step up and out, we ascend by sheer muscle of will, purpose, and service. The convergence is with our highest and best self. The blade of change slices our tender middle; we smooth the jaggedness of some force we didn’t see coming.

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An Unbroken Thread

Poet Jesse Graves discusses his fourth collection, Merciful Days

In haunting lyric poems and traditional narratives, Jesse Graves’ Merciful Days shows us the ‘ghost-lives’ that shaped the boy learning the rough language of cows and that imprint the returning adult who walks the fence line now without his father. Graves talks with Chapter 16 about the experiences and influences that inform his work.

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Suffrage: Giving Voice

A grandmother’s legacy

“I’ve never voted,” she said. The grandmother I adored. The grandmother whose oak-like presence sheltered and grounded my turbulent childhood. During a visit decades ago, we must’ve been talking about an election, the TV news on. I remember feeling stunned, then embarrassed, and even a little ashamed at her complacency.

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“For Chloe, on Turning Eighteen”

Book Excerpt: Candescent

Linda Parsons’ poetry has appeared in The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, and Shenandoah, among many other journals and anthologies. She is playwright-in-residence for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville. Candescent is her fifth poetry collection. 

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Book Excerpt: This Shaky Earth

Both poet and playwright, Linda Parsons is an editor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her poetry has appeared in The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Asheville Poetry Review, and Shenandoah. This Shaky Earth is her fourth poetry collection. Her play Under the Esso Moon was selected for the Tennessee Stage Company’s 2016 New Play Festival and will receive a staged reading in 2017.

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