Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Review will present novelist, short story writer and poet Robert Morgan reading from his work on Monday, March 29 at 7 p.m., at Ciné in Athens. Morgan’s appearance is the last of this year’s trio of Georgia Poetry Circuit events, and is free and open to the public. Athens-based poet Ida Stewart will open.
Morgan has published many books in multiple genres. His poetry collections include The Strange Attractor: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2004), Topsoil Road (LSU Press, 2000), Sigodlin (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), and At the Edge of the Orchard Country (Wesleyan, 1987). Among his many novels is the bestseller Gap Creek (1999), which Oprah Winfrey selected for her book club in 2000. In both his poetry and prose, Morgan explores Appalachian culture, often drawing on family legends as a starting point. His work forms an extended portrait of the Blue Ridge Mountain region in which he grew up, with its ways of life, its dedication to hard but honest labor, and its close connection to the earth.
Of Morgan’s Topsoil Road, the Southern Humanities Review said: “It is such a pleasure to rest on the fertile banks of [his] imagination, engaged by a steady current of haunting images and carefully chiseled phrases, that when the final poem comes, the reader feels as if the power company dammed the Green River without putting it to a vote.”
Morgan has lived most of his adult life in central New York, where he has taught at Cornell University since the early 1970s.
Stewart holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the Ohio State University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Georgia. Her poems and short fiction have been published in The Laurel Review, The Country Dog Review, and Staccato, and new work is forthcoming in MAYDAY Magazine. Her poetry manuscript Gloss was selected by Claudia Rankine as a finalist for this year’s Kore Press First Book Award. She is a native of West Virginia.
The Georgia Review is the local sponsor for the Georgia Poetry Circuit, a consortium of schools around the state which cooperate in touring three notable poets across Georgia every year. Founded in 1947 at the University of Georgia, where it remains headquartered today, The Georgia Review is one of the nation’s top publications of arts and letters, as evidenced not only by the continuing quality of its contents but also by the numerous national and regional awards it has received over the years.
Robert Morgan published the following poem in the Spring 2000 issue of The Georgia Review:
A fence will plant a row of trees
it’s said, just like an orchardman
had set them. Birds that rest on rails
or wire or posts do all the work.
And as the fence falls down or rots
and disappears the trees reach up
and march into maturity
in line. But where a snake fence zagged
like splintered lightning through a field
and pinked the edge of pasture lot,
the trees the birds set out are staggered.
The line tacks folded in its stretch
across the ridge or peneplain,
but still articulates where rails
lay angled, meshed with rails this way,
that way, in rhythm and in rhyme
across the open field beneath
the larger measure of the mountains.