Jesse Graves is widely considered one of the very most promising young Appalachian poets to appear recently on the scene. He grew up in rural Union County, Tennessee, surrounded by traditional neighbors and kinfolks. His poems typically deal with uplifting, rather than depressing, topics. It will be interesting to see, as he grows older, how this will develop. Wait! By Jesse Graves AND William Wright??? No, it isn’t half and half, divided in two by some Graves poems and some Wright poems. These are poems that these two poets collaborated to create! The whole enterprise is adroitly and succinctly summarized by Robert Morgan, their elder and one of America’s most celebrated contemporary poets who, like Graves, has deep roots in rural Appalachia. I don’t think I will be giving away too much, if I tell you that one of the voices employed by this dynamic duo is the mountain itself and that it is called “Specter” Mountain because it is haunted, though that certainly does not figure into all the poems here. Jesse Graves now is Poet-in-Residence at East Tennessee State University. William Wright grew up in the Carolina Piedmont and teaches at Emory University.
Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2018. 67 pages with an introduction by Robert Morgan. Trade paperback