A remarkable number of writers have been associated with the first rural settlement school in America, located in Knott County KY. This history begins with the journals and reports of Katherine Pettit and May Stone, founders of the school, and sketches the chain of creative influence that has linked faculty and students up to the present day. Writers of the Settlement School and its famous Appalachian Writers Workshop have helped to define Appalachian consciousness and preserve regional culture for decades.
In Going Places, Elaine Fowler Palencia’s third poetry chapbook, she continues to explore the themes of her two collections of Appalachian fiction: identity rooted in place and family, exile and return, childhood, and lost Edens. Grounded in history and the western literary tradition, these poems bring together imagery from fairy tales, the Civil War, bluegrass music, spectral visits, Abraham Lincoln, mountaintop removal, regional speech, and Greek statuary to make surprising connections. The poetry is imbued with the grace, gentle irony, humor, and social concern of her distinctive storyteller's voice.
"Elaine Palencia sifts the bones of the cold Phoenix wind and carves delicate ash butterflies, giving them wing, giving them life. Some moments, a mother understanding a retarded son, are like inside ice. Yet in the melting, Palencia's gift, we knowm we know."--Lee Pennington
The Dailiness of It, a chapbook published by Grex Press (Louisville KY) continues the story of life with a son who has multiple mental and physical disabilities. Both collections have been used in university English classes and classes on community health. Taking the Train is out of print. The Dailiness of It is available from the author.
"Lovely stories set in postwar, backcountruy Kentucky --specifically Blue Valley, the country seat of Moore County. . . . The sense of region is indelible and unique here, although it could stand for blue-collar life anywhere. Palencia has perfect pitch."
-- Booklist Starred
Praised by James McConkey as "unique and yet part of an American Tradition that includes . . . the fiction of Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor, and reaches back to Mark Twain," Palencia is known for her trademark wit, ear for dialogue and sense of place.