Letters to the Dead: A Memoir

Jeff Daniel Marion


Letters to the Dead (2013) may be obtained from your local bookstore or from on-line vendors such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The Shelby Star

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600 Overbrook Dr
Nicholasville, KY 40356


My motivations to write poems have remained relatively constant over the years—to capture vividly and explore the world as I see it, primarily the natural and rural world, its places, inhabitants and their ways of being, the twang and flavor of their speech. I am motivated to enter into the writing of a poem by the need to discover whatever there is in that feeling that's so tantalizing, but at the moment unknown. I'm sort of following Emily Dickinson's comment, "these are my letters to a world that never wrote to me."

"His voice in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction is one of our most authentic, and one of our most beloved, by readers old and new." 
          — Robert Morgan

[ Danny Marion's work is ] "good ... in the deepest and truest sense of that word."
          — Ted Kooser

Jeff Daniel Marion, a native of Rogersville, Tennessee, taught English and creative writing at Carson-Newman College for over thirty-five years until his retirement in 2002. There he was poet-in-residence, director of the Appalachian Center, and editor of Mossy Creek Reader. He has published eight poetry collections, four poetry chapbooks, and a children’s book, Hello, Crow. Poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, Epoch, Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. In 1975, Marion founded The Small Farm, a significant regional poetry journal, which he edited until 1980. In 1978, he received the first literary fellowship awarded by the Tennessee Arts Commission. For nearly ten years, he served as poet-in-residence for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Humanities. In 1993, he participated in the Distinguished Writers Reading Series sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and was the featured writer at Emory & Henry College’s 13th Literary Festival in 1995. Marion’s seventh book, Ebbing & Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poems and Prose, 1976-2001 (Celtic Cat Publishing, 2002), won the 2003 Independent Publisher Award in Poetry, was a finalist for the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Award, and was named Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association. Father, Marion’s eighth poetry collection, received the 2009 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize from Wind Publications. The Appalachian Writers Association presented him the 2002 Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award; in 2005 Carson-Newman College gave him the Educational Service to Appalachia Award; he received the 2006 Career Achievement Award from the Knoxville Writers’ Guild; and in 2007 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. Marion served as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence for the University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, from 2009–2011 and was awarded the 2011 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Marion lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, poet and editor Linda Parsons Marion.