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Kentucky poet Darlene Franklin-Campbell has new book of poetry

Columbia, KY author and Col. Wm. Casey teacher's Uncommon Clay is draws inspiration from working close to the earth in the tobacco fields of South Adair County, KY. The book will be launched with a book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, Kentucky) on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at 7pmET/6pmCT

By Deanna Roy

Poetry of the Appalachia claims Mary Ballard Chapbook Prize

Lexington, Kentucky - April 15, 2012 - The urgent need to make the voice of the people of Appalachia heard drove Darlene Franklin-Campbell, of Columbia, Adair County, KY, to write her first poem on the face of her grandmother's prize squash when she was just a girl. "My ties here go back to before recorded history with ancestors whose names have not been spoken in hundreds of years," Franklin-Campbell said.

This unique voice earned her the medal for the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize by publisher Casey Shay Press. Franklin-Campbell's book, Uncommon Clay, will be released in conjunction with April's National Poetry Month.

Jay Parini, renown poet and author of Robert Frost: A Life, judged the contest and praised Uncommon Clay for its "deep sense of not only nature but spirit." He said that Franklin-Campbell "brings rich native tradition into play here, in language that is strict and pure. Emily Dickinson could not have put it more succinctly, more memorably."

Sherry Chandler, an Appalachian native and author of Weaving a New Eden, recognized the importance of documenting the unique history of the area through poetry. "It is a heritage of early death from labor in the coal mines and tobacco fields, of the 'ugly' work-roughened hands of a farm girl."

Franklin-Campbell said she drew her inspiration from working close to the earth, as she had since her youth. "I suppose not many teenage girls work the tobacco fields these days, even here in southern Appalachia, but I can't help but think that part of my existence was made from the earth and the wind and of the jugs of water I drank as I worked in the fields."

Even her current job as a school teacher comes into play in the poetry, where she often laments the limitations of helping the children in verses such as, "Marie sits on my knee at recess / her hair, mangy, tangled, stiff / flaps like a plastic flag in the wind."

Elizabeth Oakes, poet of Mercy in the New World, appreciated this new addition to the poetic voice of Kentucky. "The poet writes of working in the tobacco fields, of seeing relatives die from working in the mines, and of seeing the south she knew disappear beneath a parking lot, but she also writes of the 'golden warmth' she feels in the Eden that Appalachia can be."

The book will be launched with a book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, Kentucky) on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at 7pmET/6pmCT.

Uncommon Clay: Poems by Darlene Franklin-Campbell, Release Date April 2012, Casey Shay PressISBN: 9781938150005, $8.00 paperback, $3.99 ebook

This story was posted on 2012-04-19 11:37:54
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