NC Literary Hall of Fame



The Beauty of Silence by Glenda Barrett

Kelsay Books
$17.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1945752773
April, 2017
Available from

"In The Beauty of Silence, Glenda Barrett reveals the most authentic Appalachian voice to rise out of the southern mountains in years. 'The Gist of the Matter' invites us in, as she sits at a table with her kinfolks, peeling and eating an apple. The reader listens as this wise family elder recounts the then and now of her mountain heritage. In her poem, 'Sorting it Out,' she affirms, 'In hindsight, my best lessons were learned not in good times, but in deepest sorrow. I learned pain would not destroy me.' Her hope is to share specific truths. This nugget of wisdom emerges from, 'Serenity,' 'I’ve learned the comfort and peace found in solitude.' I chose 'The Fork of the River' as my favorite. 'My best lessons have been learned not in chaos, but in places of silence. Like the Cherokee before me, I seek direction in the quietness of the morning.'"
—Nancy Simpson, author of Across Water, Night Student, and Living Above the Frost Line, New and Selected Poems

"Glenda Barrett’s poems reflect a wisdom that grows from a life-long relationship with nature. The gentle flow of a mountain stream, the hardship of ice in winter, and a sudden drought in summer contribute to her perspective. In The Beauty of Silence, Barrett plants seeds for the reader through a garden of strong people, simple ways, and the wisdom of experience. From her grandmother, her ancestors, flowers in a garden, to the trail tree of the Cherokee, she sifts her life to find nuggets of country wisdom. She 'stands knee deep in the cool, clear waters of Owl Creek.' A quiet simplicity feeds her, feeds the reader. 'Clods of dirt are busted, large rocks rolled aside, tangled vines uprooted, and brambles turned under, until it’s time to return to my complicated life.' Barrett is a 'homegrown girl' who couldn’t leave her roots for long. Her poems provide the reader a wealth of perspective, a wisdom long remembered."
—Mary Ricketson, M. E. Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, author of I Hear the River Call My Name and Hanging Dog Creek

"In clearly crafted poems, Glenda Barrett connects a literal geography, the North Georgia mountains of her heritage, to a landscape of honest and varied emotions. There is elation in, 'I can almost feel the pulse beat of my ancestors who hoed this ground,' balanced with sorrow, 'I felt searing pain like deep furrows plowed slowly back and forth across my heart.' As a poet who finds meaning in the ordinary, she often surprises the reader with insights such as, 'For the soil to be useful it has to be broken.' Always close to the natural world, her poems reveal that she is a professor of the five senses, as when she describes spring, 'Even the red tulips . . . with their mouths wide open seem to be shouting with the rest of creation, "Hallelujah."' As seen her lines reflect a triumphant spirit that is certain to be transferred to readers."
—Janice Townley Moore, author of Teaching the Robins

Glenda Barrett, a native of Hiawassee, Georgia, is an artist, poet and writer. Her poems and essays are widely published including Woman’s World, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living, Barely South Review, and many others. Her Appalachian artwork is online at Fine Art America.

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