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Poet Diane Gilliam Fisher is April 19 guest of Appalachian’s Visiting Writers Series

Diane_G_Fisher_t.jpgBOONE—The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State University hosts poet Diane Gilliam Fisher April 19.

Fisher will give the craft talk “What History Means to Me: Writing Poems from History” from 2-3:15 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Table Rock Room.

She will read from her work at 7:30 p.m., also in the Table Rock Room. Books will be available for sales and signing.

Admission to both events is free and the public is invited. Call (828) 262-2337 for more information or visit

Fisher is a visiting professor this semester in Converse College’s Department of English.

Fisher’s book of poems “Kettle Bottom,” published in 2004 by Perugia Press, uses the voices of West Virginia coal miners, their wives, children, sisters and mothers to tell the stories of mountaineers, Italian immigrants and black families. The book was selected by Smith College for its summer 2005 reading program for first-year students.

Fisher’s family was part of the Appalachian outmigration from Mingo County, W.Va., and Johnson County, Ky. Her collection of poems is set during the West Virginia coal mine wars of 1920-21. At its core, “Kettle Bottom” is about a community that lived in the presence of constant danger and the choices the residents made.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette wrote, “The poems in ‘Kettle Bottom’ deliver, with the simplicity of homespun, details about coalfield faith, childhood, family, workplace danger, bias, marriage and — again and again — economic injustice. Fisher’s collection is a profoundly human portrait that rings out beyond the folds of a lost Appalachian story. [It is] an inquiry into coal that returned with diamonds.”

Her autobiographical collection “One of Everything” was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Fisher’s chapbook, “Recipe for Blackberry Cake,” was published by Kent State University Press in 1999. It is a collection of poems about women’s lives and the relationships in their lives.

Fisher was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She has a Ph.D. in romance languages and literatures from Ohio State University and an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

Fisher is the winner of the 2005 Ohioana Library Association Book of the Year Award in Poetry for “Kettle Bottom” which also won a Pushcart Prize and was an American Booksellers Association Book Sense Pick for the Top Ten Poetry Books of 2005.

A free shuttle will be available to take audience members to and from the craft talk to the Rivers Street Parking Deck. The shuttle will leave the parking deck at 1:45 p.m. and will depart from the student union traffic circle at 3:20 p.m. Parking is $3 for two hours in the parking deck.

Parking is free on campus after 5 p.m. Parking also is available free of charge after 5 p.m. in the new parking deck on College Street adjacent to Belk Library. For further parking information or a campus map, visit or call the parking and traffic office at (828) 262-2878.

The Visiting Writers Series is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

The series is also supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation; Appalachian’s Offices of Academic Affairs, Multicultural Student Development, and Cultural Affairs; the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Summer Reading Program, the University Bookstore, The Appalachian Journal and The Richard T. Barker Friends of the University Library.

Business sponsors are The Gideon Ridge Inn and The Red Onion Restaurant. Community sponsors include John and Marjorie Idol and The High Country Writers.

The Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of Hughlene Bostian Frank, class of 1968, a member of the university’s board of trustees and generous supporter of Appalachian.