My first experience with the Ozark Mountains was virtual – a novel called The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by the late Donald Harington. It was published in 1975; I read it about 1980 and thought it hilarious. A few years later, we spent a long weekend in Branson, before it was discovered by all the big name entertainers and when Silver Dollar City at the duck boats were the bog attractions.
It was then that I learned about The Shepherd of the Hills and the Bald Knobbers, a group of vigilantes who were still fighting the Civil War for the North in the 1880s, their enemy being the Anti-Bald Knobbers, who sided with the south. I also discovered that St. Louis is considered to be in the foothills of the Ozarks, surprising, since the Ozarks about 100 miles away. And we’ve spent several long weekends at Lake of the Ozarks, created way-back-when by a dam and today a heavy tourist draw Missouri.
So my knowledge of the Ozarks was essentially limited to what any observant tourist might know. And I didn’t consider the movie Winter’s Bone to present an accurate portrayal of life in the Ozarks, either.
I’ve had a different picture of life in the Ozarks, and it’s thanks to Dave Malone’s poetry: View from the North Ten; Under the Sycamore; Seasons of Love; and Poems to Love, and the Body. His latest collection, O: Love Poems from the Ozarks, includes some of the most vivid love poetry I think I’ve read.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph by Candy Simonson via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.