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The Tillable Land: Poems

Appearance Date: 10/29/2022

In The Tillable Land, Melva Sue Priddy’s poetry tells the story of a girlhood made of both land and family in midcentury Kentucky. There is a growing up and a coming of age in these poems. Part memoir-in-verse, part praise song, The Tillable Land—through the story of one woman’s hard-won Kentucky life and the physical and emotional work of growing up close to the land in a man’s world—reminds us that it is possible to be both a farmer and a woman and that healing can be found in both the earth and the power of Mother Nature within us. “Priddy makes brilliant use of the repetitive, braiding form of the villanelle to convey the relentless cycles of farm work. But somehow, amid this punishing labor, ‘another god spoke with [her] . . . and words songed through [her] veins’. She never let go of that singing, and now she offers it to us.” (Quoted material: George Ella Lyon)

About the Author

Melva Sue Priddy, an American poet, grew up working on her family’s dairy and tobacco farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. She received a BA from Berea College, an MEd from the University of Kentucky, and an MFA from Spalding University. Priddy taught English Language Arts and Creative Writing for twenty years. Her poems have been published in Appalachian Review, Lexington Poetry Month, Motes, and Still: The Journal, among other print and online publications. She lives in Winchester, Kentucky, with her husband, and together they own a small farm in White Mills, Kentucky. The Tillable Land is her debut book.

Melva Sue Priddy