THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Dresses, Dreams and Beadwood Leaves, by Julia Taylor Ebel
Softcover: $8.95 (ISBN 978-1-932158-85-4) Published by High Country Publishers/Ingalls Publishing Group Publication date: January 2009 Available from Ingalls Publishing Group 828) 297-7127 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ingallspublishinggroup.com
Julia Taylor Ebel celebrates nature, heritage and cultural history through stories and poetry. Her books include Orville Hicks: Mountain Stories, Mountain Roots; Addie Clawson: Appalachian Mail Carrier; Walking Ribbon, and most recently, Dresses, Dreams and Beadwood Leaves. The earlier three received North Carolina Society of Historians book awards. Over 50 of her nature poems are published in children’s magazines. Julia leads programs and workshops on keeping stories and on poetry. She lives in Jamestown, North Carolina, but a part of her heart is in the North Carolina mountains, where she finds inspiration for much of her writing.
--------------------------------------- Rosa May wears dresses made from feed sacks, but her earthy knowledge of roots and herbs gives her hope of owning a store-bought dress and feeds her dream of wearing nurse’s white. Dresses, Dreams and Beadwood Leaves sets a girl’s journey to mold her own self esteem within the cultural history of the North Carolina mountains in the late 1940s, where root and herb gathering has offered many mountain people a way to meet both needs and dreams.
Dresses, Dreams and Beadwood Leaves includes delicate pencil sketches and end notes on root and herb gathering.
(from website: www.juliaebel.com
This description from Julia Ebel's website is only the beginning of a story told in verse that will entertain and move you. Rosa May works to gather beadwood leavees to make enough money to buy a "store-bought" dress. She learns some important lessons about growing up in the process.
In August, roots and herbs add up but not enough to buy a dress and the shoes I need too. So I choose.
I open the catalog to the page with the red plaid dress. Mama measures me and helps me choose the right size. “You’re getting to be a young lady,” she says.
Mama watches me address the envelope to Sears, Roebuck and lick the stamp.
And she watches me skip to the mailbox with my order in hand.
One week, two weeks, three weeks— how long will it take to get my package? I watch each day for the mail.
Daddy comes in grinning. “Got a good price on beans today. Enough to buy flour, sugar, and cocoa powder.”
At supper, we celebrate with chocolate gravy on biscuits.
Just in time— the package came, wrapped in brown paper, but the package held no plaid dress, bright as autumn trees.
I’d changed my mind and ordered shoes to wear with the dress Mama and I made, blue calico with white buttons, tucks, and grosgrain ribbon trim— prettier than the one at Mr. Kelsey’s store.
Someday soon I’ll order that plaid dress.
Someday I’ll wear white.
In Dresses, Dreams and Beadwood Leaves, Rosa May gathers beadwood (witch hazel) leaves to earn money. The following is from the book's end notes on herbs and herb gathering.
Witch Hazel is a deciduous native shrub or small tree, growing 20 to 30 feet in height. Leaves are asymmetrical and shallowly lobed, 3 to 5 inches long. Witch Hazel grows commonly in moist, rich hardwood forests of Southern Appalachia, but its habitat extends through most of the eastern United States.
The term “beadwood” comes from the hard bead-like seed capsule. When dry, seeds explode from the capsule.
An extract from Witch Hazel leaves, bark, and twigs has long been used medicinally as a mild astringent.
from ROOT AND HERB GATHERING IN SOUTHERN APPALACHIA
The Mountain Environment
Traditional Home Uses of Roots and Herbs For centuries, people have used native plants as food sources. People also have eased their pain and soothed illnesses with teas and salves made from roots and herbs. Mountain people knew these herbal remedies. They respected local “herb doctors,” who shared knowledge of plants’ healing powers. As trained doctors and modern medicine became more available in the mid 1900s, people used herbal remedies less.
Gathering Many Appalachian people learned to recognize the native plants. They spoke of these plants with common names, like beadwood (witch hazel), life plant, and turkey corn. They gathered roots and herbs and passed along knowledge of wild plants to their children. By the age of six or seven, children could help with root and herb gathering. Mountain people first gathered roots and herbs for personal use. Later, they sold these plant materials. Families bought school clothes and shoes for the children with profits from root and herb gathering. Native plants provided the primary income for some families. Money from the sale of roots and herbs not only bought clothing but also helped pay electrical bills and property taxes.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.