Vein of Stone
by Sarah McCartt-Jackson
Vein of Stone is our first offering of Appalachian poetry. This chapbook of poems sifts through the life of a family in coal country, primarily via a series of letters from three voices. It calls to mind land full of limestone, of sweet magnolia blossoms along a buffalo trace. She captured our ears and minds with her weaving of culture and language nestled in with little bits of folklore—she reaches down again and again to mine up the story of this family—what’s left of them in absence of each other—and she shows us how they’re marked like a body taking on coal dust with each breath. (Porkbelly Press, 2014)
EXCERPT FROM “KENTUCKY ROSE”
Five days and a riverside away from his wife Ora, Eli knows the rain
by whether or not his ankles slap through coalwater,
whether the sludgy drip of soil-seep oils his palm.
And when the earthhush of that shaft struggles to slip from the blue
shale stitched above the carbon, the sound becomes the rasp
of a carpenter bee’s mandibles boring tunnels
into the porchwood to remove its yellow poplar
grain by grain, gram by spittled gram.
ABOUT THE POET
Recently chosen as artist-in-residence for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for its 2014-2015 season, Kentucky poet Sarah McCartt-Jackson has spent decades developing her craft, dedicating her art to exploring the natural and cultural world that encompasses all who share in planet life. Through poetry, she endeavors to inspire others to connect, reflect, meditate, and act for the future of our ecosystems of all sizes: valley, prairie, forest, fern. As a poet, naturalist, and folklorist, McCartt-Jackson interprets scapes (landscape, homescape, culturescape) in both traditional and contemporary ways. Her poetry allows for enriched understanding for ideas to feather into a central locus, exploring the diversity of biological and cultural life and profound experience rooted in sanctuary and wilderness. Her work has been published by and received honors from the Academy of American Poets, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Copper Nickel, Indiana Review, Journal of American Folklore, Tidal Basin Review, and others.
ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST
“I Was Listening” (collagraph & monotype, 15 x 22 inches) by Kathleen Piercefield. Piercefield is a Kentucky-based printmaker and fine artist.
Some of the poems from this chapbook originally appeared in: The Fourth River, Friends of Acadia Journal, Indiana Review, Redheaded Stepchild, and Sugared Water.
Calf Canyon (Brain Mill Press, 2018)
Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River (Casey Shay Press, 2015)