Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Tristan Hickey

Poets & Writers & Tennessee’s Best of Both

Poets&Writers magazine highlights three Tennessee schools in its annual M.F.A. rankings

August 31, 2011 Every fall, Poets & Writers magazine releases a comprehensive listing of the fifty best (and most applied-to) M.F.A. programs in the nation. The rankings depend on factors like the quality of the faculty, available funding, fellowship and job-placement opportunities, and selectivity. The issue also includes information about each school’s application fee, teaching load, and the surrounding area’s cost of living. Two related articles list twenty-five honorable-mention M.F.A. programs and the top fifteen doctoral programs in creative writing.

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Anniversary Accolade

Oprah can’t get enough of Michael Knight’s The Typist

August 15, 2011 Novelist Michael Knight, a professor of English at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, published his elegant novel The Typist last August to great acclaim. A week after the first anniversary of its publication, the praise keeps on coming: Oprah.com made The Typist its Book of the Week last Tuesday. Calling it a “quiet, heartbreaking sleeper novel,” the editors also included a link to the site’s full review. Read it here.

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Zellig Harris: From American Linguistics to Socialist Zionism

Robert Barsky
The MIT Press
320 pages
$29.95


“Barsky has managed to pull together the strands of a complex life with warmth, humor, and archival research of unusual depth. Harris emerges in this book not only as one of the giants of a golden age for linguistics in the United States, but also as a political activist and thinker of great subtlety. Barsky lucidly explicates Harris’s fearfully complex ideas on language as well as recreates the lively debates and utopian brio of the Zionist organization, Avukah. With this book a new member joins the pantheon of American originals.”

Michael Holquist , Professor of Comparative and Slavic Literature Emeritus, Yale University

Sparks from My Hand

James Dickey’s legacy continues

August 12, 2011 It’s been almost fifteen years since American poetry lost one of its greatest luminaries, Vanderbilt graduate James Dickey. Dickey’s influence on Southern poetry—and fiction (we won’t soon forget Deliverance)—endures in countless archives, journals, and anthologies.

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The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin

The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin - A Prelude to the American Revolution

Kenneth Lawing Penegar
Algora Publishing
266 pages
$33.95


“Drawing from his own legal background, Penegar deftly blends his discussion of personalities and events into a narrative that will entertain general readers while providing the nuances that scholars of the American colonial and revolutionary periods will appreciate. Although he does not conclusively solve the mystery of how Franklin got access to the letters, Penegar examines the evidence and offers possible solutions. This work is an important contribution to scholarship, and I have no doubt that it will long remain the key explication of this important historic event.”

— Dr. John R. Vile, Professor of Political Science and Dean, University Honors College of Middle Tennessee State University, author of The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America’s Founding.

To the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and Beyond: Stabilization and Reconstruction in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1864-1866

To the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and Beyond: Stabilization and Reconstruction in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1864-1866

Benjamin Franklin Cooling
University of Tennessee Press
526 pages
$45.95


“Benjamin Franklin Cooling has produced a triumphant third volume to his definitive study of Tennessee and Kentucky in the Civil War. Like his first two volumes, this one perfectly integrates the home front and battlefield, demonstrating that civilians were continually embroiled in the war in intense ways comparable to and often surpassing the violence experienced by soldiers on the battlefield. The impacts of armies, guerrillas, and other military forces on civilians was continual, terrifying, and brutal in nearly all parts of the Confederacy’s Heartland.”

— T. Michael Parrish, Linden G. Bowers Professor of American History, Baylor University