Blues and Roots/Rue and Bluets: A Garland for the Southern Appalachians
Jonathan Williams (1929–2008), photographer, poet, and publisher, was founder of the Jargon Society Press. His many works include An Ear in Bartram's Tree: Selected Poems, 1957–1967; Quote,Unquote; A Palpable Elysium: Portraits of Genius and Solitude; The Magpie’s Bagpipe: Selected Essays; and Jubilant Thicket: New and Selected Poems as well as the collection Portrait Photographs.
Jonathan Williams’s poetry has been described as brilliant, sensuous, lyrical, quirky, suave, vital, joyful, sardonic, melodious, passionate, alive, pyrotechnic. This new, much enlarged edition of Blues and Roots displays all of the above. Williams has tramped the Appalachian Trail for decades, botanizing, jotting down specimens of authentic American speech, graffiti, superstitions, and nostrums—always curious, alert, and affectionately attentive. Blues and Roots focuses on the linguistic horizon of Appalachia in lyrics of wonder and light, of wit and comic incongruity, in found poems of the speech of his mountain neighbors. Publishers Weekly said of the earlier edition, “One of the most beautiful and evocative tributes to the Appalachians and its people yet published.” Blues and Roots is a fine celebration; Wiliams is a joyful ringmaster.
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