Photo credit: Greg Clary

On December 3, 2020, Downbound Books, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition and West Virginia University Press co-sponsored “Don’t Cry for Us J.D. Vance, A Reading by Ohio Appalachian Authors,” a program intended to broaden awareness of Appalachia and its people by offering a reading from some of Ohio’s most respected Appalachian authors and advocates. Short readings were followed by a conversation about the strengths and challenges of Appalachian communities, both urban and rural. Presenters were Gregory Kornbluh of Downbound Books (co-host), Pauletta Hansel of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition (co-host and author), and Omope Carter Daboiku, Kari Gunter Seymour, Richard Hague, Michael Henson, Michael Maloney, Dale Marie Prenatt, Bonnie Proudfoot and Sherry Cook Stanforth (authors).

Featured Readers:

Omope Carter Daboiku’s writing focuses on the intersectionality of place, identity, and belonging and the experience of growing up a “mixed-race colored child” on the Appalachian landscape. Purchase Omope Carter Daboiku’s published works:

Kari Gunter-Seymour, author of A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen is Poet Laureate of Ohio and the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year. Purchase Kari Gunter-Seymour’s published works:

Richard Hague’s 20 volumes of poetry and prose include Studied Days: Poems Early and Late in Appalachia. Awards include Appalachian Writers Association Poetry Book of the Year and the Weatherford Award. Richard is also editor of the anthology Quarried (Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative/Dos Madres Press) and co-editor of the anthology Riparian (Dos Madres Press). Purchase Richard Hague’s published works:

Pauletta Hansel was Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate. Her poetry collections include Coal Town Photograph and Palindrome, 2017 Weatherford Award winner for Appalachian Poetry. Pauletta is also a Core Member of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition. Purchase Pauletta Hansel’s published works:

Michael Henson is the author of four books of fiction and four poetry collections, most recently Maggie Boylan (Ohio University Press/Swallow Press), a 2018 Great Group Reads Selection.

Michael Maloney is an Appalachian activist and a scholar whose long career has included founding the Cincinnati Urban Appalachian Council and its successor, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition. Michael Maloney’s reading is an excerpt from his essay “The Hillbilly Miracle and the Fall” in Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (West Virginia University Press).

Dale Marie Prenatt is a poet and storyteller. “Canary Dirge” is from Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy. “Community” is from the anthology Quarried (Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative/Dos Madres Press).

Bonnie Proudfoot has published both fiction and poetry, and lives in Athens, Ohio. Her first novel, Goshen Road (Ohio University Press/Swallow Press), is a 2020 Great Group Reads selection.

Sherry Cook Stanforth is director of Thomas More University’s Creative Writing Vision Program, editor of Riparian, and author of Drone String. Purchase Sherry Cook Stanforth’s published works:

Photo credit: Greg Clary, co-author of Piercing the Veil: Appalachian Visions, with Byron Hoot (2020)

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