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Where You Come from Is Gone, by Annie Woodford

Mercer University Press9780881468540

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WHERE YOU COME FROM IS GONE examines the economic and racial violence of rural America, where whiteness is a fraught and often dysfunctional identity. It is a poetic attempt at a blues line or a bluegrass breakdown to embody a lush, dangerous, and often damaged American landscape as well as the resilience of the human spirit in the face of blunt labor and white supremacy. In the spirit of Hart Crane's My Grandmother's Love Letters, these poems attempt to carry back the music to its source by presenting a lyric line that is both ragged and fluid, both colloquial and avant-garde, shaped by the displaced cadences of the Appalachian diaspora of mill workers and the folkways of Southside, Virginia. Woodford's perspective is as a poet who came of age at the end of a dying economy. She shares the economic precarity experienced by her community college students, writing poems meant to honor how people make beauty despite that precarity and perhaps because of it.