Haunting and funny, full of folk wisdom and unflinching honesty.” Publishers Weekly
Playwright and poet Jo Carson has long been mining the rich field of everyday life in her native Appalachia region and East Tennessee. Collecting found stories as part of her ongoing People Pieces” series, she has created a remarkable distillation of the rhythms and nuances of a specific landscape that proves common to us all. These fifty-four monologues and dialogues are statements of life from the region of the heart.
The pieces all come from people. I never sat my desk and made them up. I heard the heart of each of them somewhere. A grocery store line. A beauty shop. The emergency room. A neighbor across her clothesline to another neighbor. I am an eavesdropper and I practiced being invisible to get them.” Jo Carson, from the Preface.
JO CARSON is an author of poems, plays, short stories and essays who lives and works in Johnson City, Tennessee. She has toured internationally with Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet and her play, Daytrips, has been widely produced. Ms. Carson has been a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.”
Forty-nine poems derived from conversations in Appalachian Tennessee, most of which are mildly humorous, upbeat, and quaint - for instance, in a monologue a man explains that the splintery furniture his mother used to hate is now prized by his wife as antique, and there's a conversation between a confused old Grandma and her grandchild that ends with Grandma's exasperated query, "Who do I know that ain't already dead?" In a preface, Carson admits that these poems are distillations of conversations she's overheard - and although more is required from poetry than this, the disclaimer does distinguish the pieces from mere reportage. The more serious selections are better, but their subjects may not be appropriate to a young audience: one is a graphic description of the progressive stages of wife-beating. Still, while falling between genres and not the best poetry, these do capture dialogue well. (Kirkus Reviews)