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Poetry reading with Dana Wildsmith

On Tuesday, October 4th at 7:00p.m, Appalachian Arts Center will host award winning poet and essayist Dana Wildsmith for a public reading of her works. Like Eudora Welty, Wildsmith says “it was living that made me write.” The daughter of a Methodist minister and a Navy-career wife, her life and writing has been shaped by the experiences of moving from place to place. In 1999, she returned to the Appalachian foothills of north Georgia to work with extended family to preserve her family's farm in the midst of encroaching development. Her life on the farm is the inspiration for her book of essays, Back to Abnormal: Surviving With An Old Farm in the New South, of which Jeff Biggers writes, "Dana Wildsmith's poetic essays are as rare and indispensable as golden seal. Her tales of modern life on an old family farm are refreshing, poignant and timely. Wildsmith's writing, like her 40 acres and a lot of hope, is not simply rooted among the woods and pastoral ways; her beautiful stories are a testimony to what we stand to lose without their secrets."

Mrs. Wildsmith has been named a Poetry Fellow in the South Carolina Academy of Authors, and her second chapbook, Annie, won the Palanquin Press competition at the University of South Carolina, Aiken. Her poems and essays have been widely published in both literary and commercial journals, and she is among the selected writers whose works appear in the University of Kentucky's Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia and in The Southern Poetry Anthology published by Texas Review Press. Her poem, Making a Living, was featured on "The Writer's Almanac" by Garrison Keillor on National Public Radio.

Describing her collection of poems, One Good Hand, Robert Morgan says, "Dana Wildsmith has one of the most authentic and memorable voices in contemporary poetry. She speaks in lines natural as the morning, yet exact in phrase and cadence; wise, without illusion, of the values we aspire to in love and work and the cycles of rural life. One Good Hand is a poet's calendar, an almanac of seasons and growth, kinship and community. Wildsmith is at her best celebrating sweat, the affection of dogs, and the risks of being silly in love."

The presentation is made possible through the SWCC Educational Foundation's Rodd Altizer Visiting Poet-in-Residence Program and the George Britt’s Literary Fund. While there is no cost to attend, reservations are recommended to ensure adequate seating. Voluntary donations will be accepted at the door for those wishing to encourage future literary events. Light refreshments will be served and copies of Mrs. Wildsmith's books will be available for sale following the program.

Appalachian Arts Center, a part of Southwest Virginia Community College, is located in the 'Old Archie Helton Store' on Rt. 19, 2.5 miles south of Claypool Hill. For more information, or to reserve a seat, please contact the Arts Center at 276-596-9188, or via email at

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