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Revised Light by Sharon J. Ackerman

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Sharon J. Ackerman is a child of the Appalachian migration whose summer visits to Perry County, in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, affected her powerfully and provide the material for almost all of these poems. They focus on the natural world and the people she encountered there. Ackerman is currently a registered nurse who works for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “Sharon Ackerman’s Revised Light is a search for meaning in the gathered fragments of what has gone missing from our lives. From the loved ones we have lost to a sense of place skillfully crafted from the lush, often sensual imagery from the heart of Appalachia, Ackerman’s is a world where who we are and where we are from are the same, time being the only thing that separates the two, time and the hope (from “Ode to the Missing Piece”) that if one of these fragments “went missing//the whole picture wouldn’t vanish.” --James Alan Riley. “’For what is faith but hickory smoke/and continuity, one of these hills running/into the next, never-ending?’ Sharon Ackerman asks in her gorgeous new collection, centered on the Appalachian Mountain community of her grandparents. . . . Ackerman maps her childhood here in these lyrics, recording every detail of that world. It’s the ground of her making, despite where she has lived for most of her life. ‘The ground has final say,’ she says, and so it does, and it ‘…calls out names to the verge/where stars disappear/and return young again.’ No matter where you call home, these poems call you there, with a longing like no other. --Rita Sims Quillen

Charlotte, North Carolina: Main Street Rag, 2021. 61 pages. Trade paperback.