The Gone and the Going Away

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-23
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Pulitzer finalist Maurice Manning returns us to the beloved and lamented lives and landscape of the hill people of his native Kentucky. In the great tradition of E. A. Robinson's Tilbury Town, Manning's The Gone and the Going Away brings to life the mythical "Fog Town Holler," where men have "funny names" like "Tiny Too" and "Eula Loom," and there's a fox named "Redleg Johnny." While the real world that "Fog Town Holler" represents has almost disappeared, Manning is able to recapture it by moving beyond his own boyhood impressions of the Kentucky hill country and its people to discover "the way things used to be/...the scrape of the grass/ in the wind, the butterfly drinking/ the thistle top." The discoveries are so powerful and clear that he conjures up his "grandmother, wearing a dress/ carrying a hoe by its neck." "Lawse," she exclaims, "the sun can't hardly find this place!" The great magic of Manning's poetry not only allows him to find "this place," but also, in beautifully controlled verse, to bring it vividly into the present where, as Manning hopes, it "shall never suffer removal."

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