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Michael McFee Taps Into Mountain Language In New Book Of Poetry

Courtesy Michael McFee

Poet Michael McFee is known for creating rich images of his native Appalachia that are grounded in the simplicity of everyday life and in the unique language used by his family over generations.

In his new collection, "We Were Once Here" (Carnegie Mellon/2017), the cast-iron skillet, chewing tobacco spit, and linguistic peculiarities of the mountains become anchors for stories woven from memories.

Though grounded in Appalachian imagery, McFee’s new book also explores his personal reflections on the death of his niece and his role is caring for her during her last days.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Poet Michael McFee about his book, and about striking the balance between family grief and a poet’s need to write through love and loss. McFee reads from his new book on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and in the following months in Durham, Fearrington, and Asheville. 

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Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.