Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Spirit of the Mountains

Scholar John Lang examines the many faces of God in Appalachian poetry

June 16, 2010 In Six Poets from the Mountain South, John Lang argues that Appalachian literature may reject harsh fundamentalism, but it also embraces a spirituality inspired by the mountain landscape.

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Prize Pickin' Time in Tennessee

Barry Mazor wins the Belmont Book Award

June 16, 2010 Nashville music journalist Barry Mazor has won the Belmont Book Award for his book, Meeting Jimmie Rodgers. The prize for the best country-music book of the year is given at the International Country Music Conference at Belmont University in Nashville. Read more about the award here and a Q&A with Barry Mazor here.

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Emancipation Memories

In Robert Hunt’s review of regimental histories, veterans of the Army of the Cumberland interpret the Civil War.

June 15, 2010 Recruits from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois went off to fight in 1861 to put down a rebellion promoted by radical secessionists. Few of these soldiers thought of abolition as an issue. As the war continued and intensified after 1863, however, their own practical experiences with freed slaves, led them to reconsider. In The Good Men Who Won the War, Robert Hunt traces the infinite variations in how the veterans came to think of the Civil War.

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The Longest War

As the war in Afghanistan drags on, Sebastian Junger joins the ranks of Michael Herr and Ernie Pyle in exploring the psychological horrors—and insidious appeal—of modern warfare

June 14, 2010 On Monday, June 7, the war in Afghanistan became the longest in U.S. history, surpassing the eight and a half years the nation officially spent in Vietnam. As in that seemingly endless conflict, American troops in Afghanistan face a determined guerilla resistance that exploits hostile terrain to maximum advantage. Combat casualties have been heavy, and nowhere heavier than in the Korengal Valley, which sits about fifty miles due north of the Khyber Pass. Hellishly hot in the summer, bitterly cold in the winter, it is a place where foreign fighters infiltrate from the high peaks of Pakistan, paying local herdsman five dollars a day to take pot-shots at Americans crouched in tiny outposts. Sebastian Junger, author of the nonfiction bestsellers The Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont, traveled to the Korengal Valley in 2007 and 2008 on assignment for Vanity Fair, to produce a series of articles on the most active combat unit within the U.S. Army. His reporting became the basis for War, a fascinating book that chronicles the daily practice of war. He will be in Memphis to discuss the book at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on June 15 at 6 p.m.

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This One's For the Girls

Facing a double mastectomy at age 23

June 11, 2010 It’s been nearly three years since I heard the eulogy, the hymns, and the loving testimony my father gave at my grandmother’s funeral. The first female Baptist minister in Dallas, her love knew no boundaries or obstacles. She simply followed God’s calling—registering the homeless to vote, working tirelessly to defeat George Bush—and she upset a lot of people at the time. Eventually she had to join the Methodist faith in order to preach from the pulpit. And while her sermons were always moving, it was the way she lived her life and loved indiscriminately that changed so many lives, including my own. It’s because of my grandmother that I have decided, at age 23, to undergo a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction.

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Mountain Bound

Poet and novelist Darnell Arnoult will replace Silas House at Lincoln Memorial University

June 10, 2010 Poet, novelist, and Chapter 16 editorial board member Darnell Arnoult has accepted the position of writer-in-residence at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate. She will replace Silas House, who is leaving Tennessee to return to his native Kentucky as National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.

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