Poetry 365

manning
Poet Maurice Manning

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting the fantastic fifth book from celebrated poet Maurice Manning.  In The Gone and the Going Away, the Pulitzer Prize finalist mines his own rural Kentucky roots while creating the folks of Fog Town Holler – a mythical, bygone land that “celebrates and echoes the voices and lives of his beloved hill people.”  Southern, earthy, and uniquely timeless, this 52 poem collection leaves little wonder why W.S. Merwin proclaimed Manning a “fresh and brilliant talent.”  So check out this vivid new volume, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

The Slate

Way back, the men had funny names
like Tiny, who was anything
but small, and Tiny’s son was called
Tiny Too or Double T,
and Tiny’s wife who was big and mean
was known as Honey, and everybody
called Honey’s sister Birdie, and Birdie,
who couldn’t talk much less whistle,
was beautiful but touched in the head,
so Birdie lived with them way down
in Fog Town Holler, beside
the green waters of Shoestring Branch,
and only the land was rightly named,
for it was foggy half the day down there
and the branch was skinny and whipped across
the mossy roots and rocks like a snake;
but by the time I came along,
Tiny and Honey were already planted
and Birdie was bent over and old
and Tiny Too was getting on
and sleeping in the chicken coop
with fourteen chickens and a rooster
named Mister Sump, and Sump was short
for Something, and Tiny Too just said
he liked the company, and besides
he had to guard the chickens against
Redleg Johnny, who was a fox,
because Mister Sump was only good
at making chickens, and Tiny Too
would have winked about that sort of thing,
and all of this — I learned it young,
when I was just a scratch of a boy
and I skipped down Shoestring Branch
to Fog Town Holler and found
Old Tiny Too, who told me where
I was from, and who my people were,
and how they named the world around them.
.

gone and going

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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