Decades Of Friendship With North Carolina Poet A.R. Ammons

Nov 19, 2019

Before dying, Archie Ammons asked his friend Emily Herring Wilson to tell his story.
Credit R.A. Fountain

A.R. “Archie” Ammons never wanted to be called a Southern writer. Raised in rural Columbus County, Ammons wrote reverent poems about a Depression-era landscape of tired mules and empty tobacco barns, touting his bootstraps’ ascent to literary fame. Yet he bemoaned the South as uneducated and chose to spend most of his adult life teaching and living in upstate New York.

In her new book “When I Go Back to My Home Country: A Remembrance of Archie Ammons” (R.A. Fountain/2019) writer Emily Herring Wilson argues that Ammons’ anxiety with his own context is fundamentally Southern. Wilson talks with Frank Stasio about chronicling the life of her dear friend and colleague. She will host an afternoon of poetry and remembrances of Ammons on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. at Wake Forest University’s Reynolds Library.