College's Appalachian Lecture Series celebrates 15 years with poetry, history and stories

Poet, MC alumna, storyteller featured

Aug. 1, 2002

Maryville, Tenn. - Poetry, women's issues, tourism, storytelling and song - they're all present in the Maryville College's Appalachian Lecture Series, which is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year.

The Series begins Sept. 10.

"The Appalachian Lecture Series, now stronger than ever after 15 years of programming, is one of the things that makes living near a college special," says Dr. Chad Berry, history professor and lecture series coordinator. "It's great to see people from the community so supportive."

Jeff Daniel "Danny" Marion, award-winning Appalachian poet, returns to campus Sept. 10 to kick off the first lecture. The title of Marion's presentation is At Home in the Heart's Country and will include readings from his collection entitled "Ebbing and Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poetry and Prose, 1976-2001."

"Danny Marion is arguably one of the finest poets in the southern Appalachian region," says Berry. "I'm pleased that he is returning to the Appalachian Lecture Series to read some of his new works."

The first recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission's Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Marion has published six collections of poetry and four poetry chapbooks. He has served as poet-in-residence at several colleges in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee and for the Tennessee Governor's School for the Humanities. His poems have appeared in more than 60 journals and anthologies.

Marion grew up in Rogersville, Tenn., and now lives in Knoxville. From 1969 until his retirement in 2002, he taught creative writing at Carson-Newman College, where he was poet-in-residence, director of the Appalachian Center and editor of Mossy Creek Reader. Currently, he operates Mill Springs Press in New Market, Tenn., producing chapbooks and broadsides from handset type on a Vandercook Proof Press. He lectures widely throughout the Appalachian region and conducts workshops on teaching and writing poetry.

Other Appalachian Lecture Series presenters include historian, former Blount Countian and Maryville College alumna Melissa Walker, who will present Visiting the Land of Do-Without: The Impact of Early Tourism on Sevier County Women Oct. 8. The presentation will draw from research Walker conducted when writing her book "All We Knew Was to Farm: Rural Women in the Upcountry South, 1919-1941."

"Melissa Walker left quite an impression on the Maryville College community from her days here as a student," Berry explains. "Now, as an award-winning teacher and author, it is particularly gratifying to have her return to campus to speak as an alumna."

Walker is currently an associate professor of history at Converse College in South Carolina.

"Come Go Home With Me" concludes the Appalachian Lecture Series Nov. 12. The presenter, Sheila Kay Adams, will share stories, music and song with participants. Her stories will come from her 1995 book "Come Go Home With Me," which Life magazine called "pure mountain magic" and the North Carolina Historical Society recognized with an award for historical fiction.

"Fifteen years of bringing quality speakers to the Maryville College community is significant, so I'm honored that Sheila Kay Adams will be here to mark the occasion," Berry says. "Sheila's talent and connection to the past are special gifts to the people of the southern Appalachians."

As a ballad singer, musician, Appalachian humorist, published author and master storyteller, Adams has been a featured performer in several documentary films, news articles, magazine features and radio shows. She is a seventh-generation balladeer who is passing down the musical traditions of the English, Scottish and Irish to her three children and people who hear her perform at major festivals, colleges and universities and on tour.

Celebrating the culture and heritage of the Appalachian Mountains, the Appalachian Lecture Series is sponsored by the Lamar Memorial Library and is made possible by private donations and ticket subscriptions.

All presentations in the series begin at 7 p.m. in the Lawson Auditorium in Fayerweather Hall. Cost of the series is $30 per person, which includes tickets for the three lectures, dessert and coffee. Tickets for each individual lecture are $12 per person. All proceeds from the event go toward the support and purchases of the library collections in Appalachian Studies.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 865/981-8192.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.