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Newfound by Jim Wayne Miller

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It was so much fun to read this novel because I had heard Jim Wayne tell so many of the episodes in this book as personal reminiscences. Jim Wayne Miller (1936-1996) was one of a bare handful of people who established the sub-genre of Appalachian Literature. A poetry book he published during President Jimmy Carter's fuel-saving 55 MPH era was actually entitled Nostalgia for 70 because he spent so much time traveling around the region promoting our literature. Jim Wayne's readings were unique - despite the fact that he had many books out, and was one of our foremost poets - what he read was the works of others, both well-known and obscure. One reason he drove so many miles was that his job was Professor of German at Western Kentucky University, quite a ways from the rural outskirts of Asheville where he grew up and Berea Coilege where he got his undergraduate degree. Whenever I give a presentation on Appalachian Literature, I always start by reading an excerpt from "The Brier Sermon" from his poetry collection, The Mountains Have Come Closer.

New York: Orchard Books, 1989. 213 pages, Hardback in dust jacket.