With a rich and layered literary history, LMU has been home to some of the most haunting voices in Appalachian Literature. Our heritage, including noted alumni James Still, Jesse Stuart and Don West, has made LMU a Mecca for Appalachian literature today, drawing the likes of Lee Smith, Silas House and Ron Rash to campus. Events like the annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival and the Appalachian Reading Series have shined a light on the work that LMU is doing to promote and preserve Appalachian Literature, but perhaps the greatest contribution to the movement continues to be LMU’s people.
LMU’s faculty and staffs are laden with gifted storytellers and their reign is not limited to the English department. A prime example is Director of Student Success, Retention and Career Services Larry Thacker. Already the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, Thacker’s first foray into poetry will be published next month.
Voice Hunting, a collection of poems, dives into what being Appalachian in today’s world means. From the obvious to the symbolic in everyday life, Thacker’s poems are a journey of discovering personal voice and meaning in a mountain culture that is quickly being absorbed into the mainstream.
“These poems are my attempt at preserving snapshots of clarity I’ve experienced over the last few years as I’ve tried to understand who I am as an Appalachian in this early 21st century culture,” Thacker said. “Some serve as prayers of understanding, some express frustration with the challenges of our area, some deal with our unique connection with our natural surroundings, while others try to fill in the blanks of my family history that have been lost with time.”
As a seventh-generation Cumberland Gap-area native, Thacker’s writing over the years – whether through columns, fiction or poetry – has served as a cultural balm of sorts, helping him, and hopefully others, better understand the history of our surrounding Appalachian experience.
Voice Hunting is being published by Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, Kentucky) and is available by mid-September from the publisher (http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm) as well as a number of local book dealers including Book Haven and the LMU Bookstore. Contact Larry via his Facebook at www.facebook.com/thackalachia.