Americana Rural

Nancy Dillingham

A North Carolina family history, with all its joy and imperfection, is explored 
through poems and prose — words used in all their lyric possiblities.

In western North Carolina, at the head of Big Ivy, nestled just below the Corner Rock, is Dillingham, the place of my birth and childhood. I can still hear the frogs hollering and smell the wild crabapple blossoms in spring, see the wall of lightning bugs, and breathe in the heavy, hypnotic aroma of honeysuckle. I love its spirit and its people—they are the wellspring of my vision. About twenty minutes away is Flat Creek, my mother's place of birth. My grandfather Horace Greeley McLean (who died when my mother was sixteen) ran a little country store. The opening poem, "Americana Rural," is a fictionalized version of a fond, wry reminiscence of my mother who used to accompany him to the store. 

At its best, this kind of literature achieves the lyricism of Kathryn Stripling Byer or the folk naturalism of Mildred Haun.  It is a collection of memories; taken in full, it is a series of tableaux documenting the experience of a mountain woman. 
— Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen-Times

In Nancy Dillingham's fine new work, Americana Rural, past times delicately reopen under the careful lyric eye of the poet.  Magically, this focus—"set in the red clay mud like stone"—binds itself firmly to the perspective of the present.  The reader is guided through temporal layers to the rich textures of another generation.  "It is like poetry" is the refrain that signals the reader to make ready for travel into a canvas vibrant with intelligent memory.  History, the land, and family beckon with a "finely formed hand."  The reader will enjoy this journey and the shining details placed on their path. 
— Katherine Soniat, The Swing Girl and A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge 

Rather than being annoyed by what the writer has left out, in Dillingham's book the reader is drawn in by the silences between the words, the spareness, the sensory, the perfectly hone phrases.  Some books are made for keeping, for returning to, for sticking close by.  Such is this book. 
— Celia Miles, Mattie's Girl: An Appalachian Childhood