See the photos and lengthy interview of childhood friends Elaine, Vanda Galen, and Dexter Alexander at photojournalist Malcolm J. Wilson's Humans of Central Appalachia website.
Elaine Fowler Palencia, of Champaign, IL, grew up in Morehead, KY and Cookeville, TN. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate in English of Vanderbilt University, she is the author of six books of fiction, four genre romances and two literary short story collections, as well as three chapbooks of poetry and numerous essays and book reviews. She has lectured at many workshops and at universities where her work is studied. Her work has appeared in such journals as Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, South Carolina Review, Still, Willow Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Literary Mama, Pentimento, and Crossroads: A Southern Culture Annual, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, River Styx, Bluegrass Now, Tipton Poetry Journal, and many others, including such anthologies as Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers, Appalachia Inside Out, and the fifteenth anniversary retrospective of Iowa Woman. She was named the 2004 Passager Poet and has received six Pushcart Prize nominations, two for fiction and four for poetry. She is the book review editor of Pegasus, the journal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society. With her husband Michael Palencia-Roth, she has translated and published poems by the Colombian writer William Ospina. Her reviews have appeared in such periodicals as Library Journal, the American Book Review, Gently Read Literature, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader, and at newpages.com.
Along with Mary McCormack, Frank Modica, John Palen, and Pat Simpson, she is a founding member of the Quintessential Poets of Champaign-Urbana. She is also the moderator of the Red Herring Fiction Workshop, a community group founded in 1980 and sponsored by the Channing-Murray Foundation.
Elaine's new poetry chapbook, Going Places, is published by FutureCycle Press. A monograph, The Literary Heritage of Hindman Settlement School, is scheduled for publication in summer 2017. She is currently working on a historical manuscript, "My Dear Companion: the Civil War Letters of John M. Douthit, 52nd Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment."