apil book picks
photograph by Matt Hulsman


by Fred Chappell (LSU Press, 2014)

Chappell’s most recent collection focuses on the solitary, graceful cat. His poems follow felines through field and barnyard, across sun-warmed winter floors, from porch to flower bed to “a patch / of sassafras below,” treating each cat — Emilia, Marian, Alexander, and Black Margo, to name a few — as an old friend, and a code to crack.

Selected Poems

by James Applewhite (Duke University Press, 2005)

Retired Duke professor Applewhite’s anthology chronicles almost 30 years of his responses to life in the South. “Broom sedge in the wind has curved this bent / Into speech,” he says of the Southern accent. Applewhite’s oeuvre is a journey through a fertile landscape of language and imagination.

Red Clay Gypsy

by Maria Ingram Braucht (Press 53, 2015)

Kernersville native Braucht’s second collection of poems in almost 40 years contains snapshots of a life lived, of moments preserved in the ebb and flow of Southern temperaments. She conjures up images of a slower time, of people and places only dreamt of in an after-nap haze, when sight, sound, and meaning are temporarily hushed.

Blue Yodel

by Ansel Elkins (Yale University Press, 2015)

In her debut collection of poetry, Elkins, a Greensboro resident and 2014 recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, weaves a tapestry of heat, light, and loss. She aligns the timelessness of the Old South with that of an antiquated South, revealing the dual constancy of tradition and change in a shifting world.

Read across the state

literary trailsNorth Carolina has been the muse for many a Southern writer. In her trilogy, Literary Trails of North Carolina, Georgann Eubanks devotes a volume each to our western, central, and eastern regions, and the writers who were inspired by them. Literary Trails are books about books — “literary hors d’oeuvres,” Eubanks says — meant to connect writers’ work and lives to places right down the road.

Find the Literary Trails trilogy online at uncpress.unc.edu.