March 5, 2019

New Anthology of Ozarks Literature Released

A new book featuring a collection of some of the best literature ever created in the Ozarks has been released by University of Arkansas Press.

The collection, titled The Literature of the Ozarks: An Anthology came out earlier this week, and includes work spanning more than a century featuring a host of Ozark writers over that time.

The book was edited by Phillip Douglas Howerton and includes fifty pieces broken up into four volumes organized by time period.

From the description:

The job of regional literature is twofold: to explore and confront the culture from within, and to help define that culture for outsiders. Taken together, the two centuries of Ozarks literature collected in this ambitious anthology do just that.

The fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama presented in The Literature of the Ozarks complicate assumptions about backwoods ignorance, debunk the pastoral myth, expand on the meaning of wilderness, and position the Ozarks as a crossroads of human experience with meaningful ties to national literary movements.

Among the authors presented here are an Osage priest, an early explorer from New York, a native-born farm wife, African American writers who protested attacks on their communities, a Pulitzer Prize–winning poet, and an art history professor who created a fictional town and a postmodern parody of the region’s stereotypes.

The Literature of the Ozarks establishes a canon as nuanced and varied as the region’s writers themselves.

The first volume includes work from “beginnings to 1865,” including authors Hlu-ah-wah-tah, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, Alphonso Wetmore, Charles Fenton Mercer Noland, Friedrich Gerstäcker, and George William Featherstonhaugh. John Monteith.

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The second volume encapsulates work created from 1865–1918, with writings from John Rollins Ridge, Albert Pike, John Monteith, Minna Caroline Smith, Rose Emmet Young, Benjamin F. Adams, and Harold Bell Wright.

The third volume includes poems and prose written from 1918–1945 around the theme, “The Promotion of a Regional Image.” This volume includes work by Dennis Murphy, Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni, Charles Morrow Wilson, Ralph Alan McCanse, and others.

The final volume focuses on more modern work from 1945 to the present, including Wilson Rawls, Frank Stanford, Miller Williams, Donald Harington, C. D. Albin, and others.

According to a media release about the new book, the collection of work is intended to “challenge common assumptions about backwoods ignorance, debunks the pastoral myth, expands on the meaning of wilderness, and positions the Ozarks as a crossroads of human experience with meaningful ties to national literary movements.”

The book retails for $29.95 for a paperback, and signed copies will be available to purchase at events scheduled at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at Fayetteville Public Library, and at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 at Dog Ear Books in Russelville.

It is also available at bookstores throughout the state, and via Amazon.com.

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Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew

Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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