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Appalachian Heritage - Fall 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 32 Number 4
  • Published Date: Fall 2004

What really drives my exploratory urges through the realm of literary magazines is the chance of finding one journal or another which seems in every way a representation of a real America. Appalachian Heritage is just that kind of publication. The journal’s handsome, down-to-earth appearance alone is a refreshing contrast to the often overly cerebral or academic format of so many American literary magazines. And the work featured here has a wonderfully unassuming quality about it: short stories, memoirs, poetry and photographs all unified by a down-home style that authenticates the journal’s eponymous claim to represent a bona fide heritage. In three short stories—by Lee Maynard, Patty Crow, and Sharyn McCrumb—the reader finds a lively, earnest narrative style that holds so faithfully to the clean, basic arcs of classic storytelling that it hearkens back to the rural oral tradition upon which so much of America’s contemporary literature is based, in whatever deviating forms. This issue’s featured author Sharon McCrumb (paraphrased by editor George Brosi) speaks to the very heritage alluded to in the journal’s title: “…[There is] a split between the ‘folk’ and the ‘fine,’ but there is no reason that our ‘folk’ traditions should have any less literary merit than those of Homer, the first epic poet…” This comment met with my emphatic underlining, so aptly did it express the reason for my own appreciation of Appalachian Heritage. Not often while reading literary journals do you get the feeling that you’ve happened upon a publication completely free of the corrosions of pretense, completely at ease with itself, and completely authentic. Appalachian Heritage is the real thing. Read it and find yourself relieved at the incontrovertible evidence it offers that, though big-money publishing may run the roost, the center of the literary universe is not characterized by The New Yorker

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Review Posted on February 28, 2005
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