Appalachia is no stranger to loss. The region suffers regular ecological devastation wrought by strip mining, fracking, and deforestation as well as personal tragedy brought on by enduring poverty and drug addiction. In Driving with the Dead, Appalachian poet, teacher, and artist Jane Hicks weaves an earnest and impassioned elegy for an imperiled yet doggedly optimistic people and place. Exploring the roles that war, environment, culture, and violence play in Appalachian society, the hard-hitting collection is visceral and unflinchingly honest, mourning a land and people devastated by economic hardship, farm foreclosures, and mountaintop removal.
With empathy and a voice of experience, Hicks offers readers a poignant collection of poems that addresses themes of grief and death while also illustrating the beauty, grace, and resilience of the Appalachian people. Invoking personal memories, she explores how the loss of physical landscape has also devastated the region's psychological landscape.
Graphic, bold, and heartfelt, Driving with the Dead is an honest and compelling call to arms. Hicks laments the irreplaceable treasures that we have lost but also offers wisdom for healing and reconciliation.