Coal River Road by Kathy Ackerman
Coal River Road exposes the impact that a rapidly fading oral history can have on one’s perception of cultural identity. The poet’s connection to the West Virginia mountains is as ephemeral as her connection to hearth and family, simultaneously formative and destructive, yet impossible to resist. These poems are about heritage learned and loved and lost, the quest to retrieve one’s self in the ordinary domestic day, and the ferocity of familial relationships that can never quite be fulfilled.
Kathy Ackerman has lived in the Carolinas since 1984. Coal River Road is her first full-length book of poems. She has published three chapbooks: The Time It Takes (Finishing Line Press); Crossbones and Princess Lace (NCWN Mary Belle Campbell Poetry Chapbook Award); and Knock Wood (Main Street Rag) as well as a critical biography of North Carolina proletarian novelist Olive Tilford Dargan, The Heart of Revolution (University of Tennessee Press). She is Dean of Arts and Sciences and Writer-in-Residence at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, NC, and resides in Tryon.