Our theme for the library this year is What a Wonderful World, and to that end, we’re focusing on seeing the wonder in our world. Usually, every month at the desk, we have an article available for patrons to read and discuss with Julie, our library director, but this year, we’re handing out poems instead. Our trusty library goose is also helping us pen a monthly column that focuses on some of the gems in our poetry collection.
We don’t have any Wendell Berry poetry collections at the Berryville Library–though we do have his work available in our system–but I wanted to draw attention instead to a poetry collection we have from a local author who has spoken at the library.
Those of you who attended Dr. Phil Howerton’s lecture about Ozark literature at the library a couple of years ago will know that he’s an English professor at Missouri State University–West Plains with deep roots in the Ozarks. But did you know he’s also a published poet?
The History of Tree Roots is a collection of poems about the rural Ozarks. Most literary work about the Ozarks deals in stereotypes, but Howerton’s doesn’t. He often looks beyond the stereotype to uncover some hidden truth and spends a lot of time on the small farmer, who is often overlooked in discussions and depictions of the area. His work is not sentimental (nor is it unfeeling) as it meditates on the changes the region has experienced, both the good and the bad.
These thoughtful, original, lyrical poems are a real treat and well worth checking out.
Who is your favorite poet? What’s your favorite poem? Do you ever write poetry? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on this item or to place them on hold.