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Robert Morgan: Essays on the Life and Work edited by Robert M. West and Jesse Graves

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This book is a collection of essays by sixteen distinguished scholars along with a previously unpublished article by the subject himself, Robert Morgan, an interview of him, and a bibliography of books and articles by and about Morgan. Few authors have so richly deserved to be catapulted from relative obscurity to a secure presence in the country's literary elite than Robert Morgan. He grew up in humble circumstances in a family that did not own a car, but a bookmobile came to the Green River Baptist Church near their small farm in Henderson County, North Carolina, and he became a voracious reader. In the sixth grade, he didn't have the three dollars to go on the class trip to the Biltmore Estate, so he had to stay by himself that day in his classroom. That is when he wrote his first story. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and then studied under Fred Chapell to receive his MFA from UNC-Greensboro. In 1969 the first of his sixteen poetry collections, Zirconia Poems, was published. He began teaching at Cornell University in 1971.  After twenty years of publishing only poetry, in 1989 the first of his three story collections, The Blue Valleys, was released. Ten years later, in 1999, the first of his six novels, Gap Creek appeared. It was this book that made him nationally known. And it was Oprah Winfrey who gave Gap Creek the nudge that it needed to get the attention of the reading public. Robert Morgan loves to tell the story of the phone call he got from Oprah, and I love hearing it. Of course, he didn't believe it really was her at first! In 1993, Morgan published a non-fiction book on poetry, and in 2007 a biography of Daniel Boone, followed in 2011 by Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion. The co-editors are Robert M. West, who teaches English at Mississippi State, and Jesse Graves who is poet in residence and professor of English at East Tennessee State.

Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2021. 254 pages with an Index, Bibliography, and photos. A 7” X 10” trade paperback.