Sue Weaver Dunlap’s life has revolved around walking to both literal and figurative spring houses – walks that have evolved from chores to respites over the years. A retired teacher, she once sought to encourage creativity roiling up from deep places. As a farmer, she had been dependent upon water and other necessities emitting from both ground and sky. As a poet, the author at this juncture of three collections, words, wise and beautiful, have emanated from her life experience deeply grounded in the Smoky Mountains, where she lives on land not far from an entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “This gifted poet captures Appalachian humankind as it carries its geography in its genetic code, voice and place are inseparable, and each generation is an embodiment of all that comes before, all the heart, hurt, history, and homage. These poems sing to the beauty of life fully lived against a ragged, raging, and glorious land, and the tender intimacies that run through like arteries and veins. All the while, personal and family history is vividly rendered and respected. The rock, the creek, the body, the work are one beautiful thing always.” -Darnell Arnoult. “This surefooted account of Appalachian life in transition rings with faith and deep mourning. Sue Weaver Dunlap documents the rituals of making do, getting by, and ultimately, letting go-all in a landscape that is by turns glorious and harsh. She grounds us in plant and place names, native rock deposits, and the tools of farming and cooking. Ultimately, this musical homage to family leaves us wiser.” -Georgann Eubanks. “Images of gardens, the wild profusion of mountain wildflowers, and ‘frost glistened tips of grass blades’ on an early morning amble balance the pain of cemeteries where babies are buried, the difficulties of life for a father whose picket-line stand has led to blackballing by prospective employers. Readers will long remember taking a walk to the spring house with Sue Weaver Dunlap.” -Connie Jordan Green.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Iris Press, 2021. 108 pages. Trade paperback.