Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region by Karen Blomain

By Karen Blomain

Fourteen poetic voices creatively exploring the Pennsylvania mining experience.  listen them sing of the feel of family members existence, the confluence of ethnic cultures, the brutality and threat of the mines, and the scars left at the souls and the surroundings. checklist to the humor that allows the stressed to outlive, and to the myths that safeguard the distinction of the marginalized. proportion transcendent moments as glossy as faceted items of anthracite coal, and be renewed through re-experiencing the energy of the human spirit.

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Sample text

Just for us. The men should never know. I remember you telling me too late what to expect. And then, only stories of what would happen: dogs would follow then, there was a smell, I am still weak at the sight of my own blood. I can feel it start early, before the flow, and I accept it the same way you have come to accept my weakness, packing me in when I come home drunk, knowing God is punishing you for some terrible sin. TANYA Jay Parini One day after school I was running the tracks back into the country in early spring, sunlight glazing the chips of coal, old bottles and beer cans shoaling the sides.

I found myself sprinting the whole way home with her bag of mushrooms. The blue sky rang like an anvil stung with birds, as I ran for a thousand miles to Poland and further east, to see her dancing, her red skirt wheeled in the Slavic sun. Page 52 MAKING SOAP Nancy Deisroth Iused to make my own soap, made it of drippins, like lard, old lard drippins; you'd save that and when you had about four pound of drippin, I'd get a can of lye, and dissolve so much water, you know, cold water; dissolve the lye in cold water, 'cause that thing boils.

The catalog referred to his debt to Japanese calligraphy, but I knew better. He was from Wilkes-Barre, sure as black lung. His ebony slashes were not sumi brush strokes: they were the charred timbers of the mine workings on Stanton Street, the underground support pillars of Glen Alden, the Huber Colliery in Ashley, the blasted-out pits of Avondale. " It is not just the hard mining life that these pages honor. They are, in large measure, given over to the ordinariness of life, the beautiful common moments which, although they might have happened anywhere, happened there, at that particular moment, to that particular person.

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