March 16, 2011 When the Queen of Daytime TV first launched her on-screen book club, she also launched the careers of any number of literary novelists who had labored in obscurity, if not outright poverty, until touched by Oprah’s golden wand. Former Nashvillian A. Manette Ansay earned enough money from the Oprah-fueled sales of her novel, Vinegar Hill, to seek a cure for the mysterious affliction that had kept her confined to a wheelchair for two decades: “The bottom line here is extraordinary good luck,” she writes on her website. If Oprah hadn’t happened to pick up a book I’d written at the age of 25, I would not be walking today. I would not have a child. Sometimes, I wonder if I’d even be alive.”
The book-review section of Oprah’s magazine, O, doesn’t generate nearly the same riches for the lucky writers featured in its pages –yes, pages: O is one of the few mainstream magazines to devote several pages each month to literary recommendations–but this month’s poetry feature will likely bring greater exposure to poets than any one event since Robert Frost made his declamation at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Oprah herself grew up in Nashville, of course, but the poetry package also offers several other Tennessee connections: click here for Rosanne Cash’s recommendation of Philip Larkin’s poem “An Arundel Tomb” and here for Terrell Owens’s recommendation of Nikki Giovanni’s poem “Choices.”
For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16‘s News & Notes page, here.