Down Here Below

We just got back from Manhattan where we attended AWP, a big writers convention. There were 7,000 academic writers-mostly students, graduate students, and writers who teach-all packed into a two conference hotels in mid-town not far from Time Square. One of Betsy’s college suitemates lives on Fifth Avenue, so we had a place to stay outside the hive of poets and novelists. Each day we...

Blackwater Paddling

November’s a good month to head east to the lowcountry to paddle. This time of year the leaves have dropped, the bugs have mostly died off, and the snakes have found shelter from the chilly nights and cool days. There’s usually good water. All this said, last Friday I drove down to Dillon, SC, for a 20-mile float on an upper stretch of the Little Pee Dee with two friends, Venable...

Descent of Hurricane Shoals

Last week I drove along the Pacolet River at Clifton and noticed that the big, swinging flood gates were open at what is known locally as the dam at Clifton Number One, or Hurricane Shoals, as I prefer to call it. Being oriented to upstream/downstream river flow, I’ve always been bothered by the industrial naming of the three mill sites in Clifton. You see, “Clifton Number...

Barnstorming with Christoper Dickey

Earlier this month I was asked to be on a panel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with poet and novelist James Dickey’s oldest son, Christopher, and Payson Kennedy, the founder of the Nantahala Outdoor Center and one of the stunt doubles for the filming of “Deliverance.” Next year “Deliverance” will be 35 years old, and it continues to resonate with those who remember...

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