Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“When the Dust Settles”

Bill Brown grew up in West Tennessee ten miles from the Mississippi River. He is the author of eight poetry collections and a writing textbook. Formerly the director of the writing program at Hume-Fogg Academic High School in Nashville, he was named a Distinguished Teacher in the Arts in 1995 by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and the 2011 Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance. His latest book is The News Inside. “When the Dust Settles” is from his 2008 collection, Late Winter.

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Teaching and Unteaching—and Entertaining All the Way

For more than three decades, Patricia McKissack has been writing children’s books that bring to life the stories, and the truth, of her ancestors

As she was coming of age in Nashville in the 1950s, there were many places award-winning children’s author Patricia McKissack was not allowed to go. She remembers hotels and restaurants that forbade African Americans entry, and movie theaters with a separate doorway in the alley for black patrons. The farthest reaches of the Grand Ole Opry’s balcony, known as the buzzard’s roost, was the only seating open to African Americans, McKissack recalls. She never partook: “My grandfather said that watermelons would bloom in January if any of his children went down there. ‘We don’t sit in no buzzard’s roost,’ he said. ‘We’re human beings, not buzzards.'”

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“Born Under the Sign Of”

Lisa Coffman, who grew up in East Tennessee, has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry. Her first collection of poetry, Likely, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University Press. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee. She teaches at the California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. “Born Under the Sign Of” is an excerpt from her new collection, Less Obvious Gods.

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“Teacher”

Elizabeth Cox’s poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Atlantic, and others. Her fiction has won the O’Henry Prize, the Robert Penn Warren Award, and the Lillian Smith Award. Cox grew up in Chattanooga and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. 

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“Blessing”

Book Excerpt: The Book of Awe

In addition to The Book of Awe, Susan O’Dell Underwood has published two chapbooks, and her work has appeared in the Oxford American, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, and Crab Orchard Review, among other publications. She lives in Jefferson City.

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The Ground Is Swollen With Your Name

Trauma runs throughout Tiana Clark’s I Can’t Talk About The Trees Without The Blood

The poems in Tiana Clark’s debut collection, I Can’t Talk About The Trees Without The Blood, propel us into encounters with traumas ancient and immediate, blurring any distinctions of time. Clark will appear at Ruby in Nashville on September 9, and at the Southern Festival of Books, held October 12-14.

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