July 21, 2017

Tennessee Joltwagon: Words & Music in Knoxville (and Beyond)

After a great trip to Knoxville back in December, Kelsey and I are delighted to be invited back so soon for a new collaboration. Along with poets Dawn Coppock and Susan Underwood, we'll be appearing as the group Tennessee Joltwagon and celebrating our Appalachian roots in words and music for two unique performances in one weekend: At noon on Saturday, February 18th,  we'll be on the WDVX Blue Plate Special. The one-hour show broadcasts live before a studio audience at noon EST from the … [Read more...]

Coffee with Erin Morgenstern

Yesterday Chapter 16 published "In Praise of Making Things Up" an interview by Sarah Norris with Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, who will be reading in Nashville next week at the Nashville Public Library. Being a big fan of Chapter 16 and of The Night Circus, I shared the article - and a reminder of the reading - on Facebook as soon as I read it. "I can’t go that night," a friend commented. "I’m bummed." "I'm not sure I can go, either," I replied. And then, right there … [Read more...]

What’s All This Praying and Politicking for the Mountains About, Anyway?

I often use social media to encourage my friends to pray for the mountains, or to contact their legislators to protect the mountains. Those posts don't always get a lot of comments, but sometimes someone will ask me in person,  "WHAT are you talking about?" So here's a bit of background information, and a great music video that helps explain. Living on a very flat piece of middle Tennessee, I'd never heard of a mining process called mountaintop removal (MTR) until I started attending writing … [Read more...]

A Child’s Poem Inspires My Prayer for the Mountains

Recently in a used book store, I came across a small volume entitled Chrysalis by Harry Behn. Although the book had a worn and yellowed jacket, its subject matter – children and poetry – and a quick thumb-through convinced me to purchase it to read for myself and share with a friend. It has a number of delightful stories and insights, but one particularly stuck with me. Behn tells of working with a group of children in which one little boy shares this poem: Did you think about the … [Read more...]

A Christmas Poem

My poem "And This Will Be a Sign" has been published by the Christian Science Monitor. You can read it here. I wrote the poem last Christmas season after spending some time in the picturesque town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee - a place where, for me at least, even the Christmas rush is at a more relaxed pace. (Although, if you visit Bell Buckle on one of their big festival weekends, such as the RC and Moon Pie Festival in June or the Webb School Art and Craft Fair in October, you'll find it … [Read more...]