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Mtn. Talk: Appalachian Women Poets – Part Two

Mtn. Talk: Appalachian Women Poets – Part Two


April is National Poetry Month, and so, we’re bringing you two episodes chock full of poetry written and read by Appalachian women!  This is Part Two, and in it, we’ll hear from Savannah Sipple, Ansel Elkins, and George Ella Lyon!


Savannah Sipple. Photo by Rebecca Dayle Ashby.


Savannah Sipple is the author of WWJD & Other Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019), which explores what it is to be a queer woman in Appalachia and is rooted in its culture and in her body. With a beer-drinking Jesus as her wing man, she navigates this difficult terrain of stereotype, conservative Evangelicalism, and, perhaps most, shame. A writer from east Kentucky, her writing has recently been published in Southern Cultures, Split This Rock, Salon, Appalachian HeritageWaxwing, and other places. She is also the recipient of grants from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Savannah is an Assistant Professor of English at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. A professor, editor, and writing mentor, she resides in Lexington with her wife, Ashley.


Ansel Elkins. Photo by Revell Carr.

Ansel Elkins is the author of Blue Yodel, winner of the 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, The Believer, Oxford American, Parnassus, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the American Antiquarian Society, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as a “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. She is is currently visiting Writer-in-Residence at the University of Kentucky.


George Ella Lyon. Photo by Ann W. Olson.


George Ella Lyon  has published award-winning books for readers of all ages, and her poem, “Where I’m From,” has been used as a model by teachers around the world. Recent titles include She Let Herself Go (poems) and the following picture books: “Which Side Are You On?” The Story of a Song, and All the Water in the World (both CCBC Choices), The Pirate of Kindergarten (Schneider Award) and You and Me and Home Sweet Home (Jane Addams Honor). Originally from the mountains of Kentucky, Lyon works as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington, where she lives with her husband, writer and musician Steve Lyon. They have two grown sons. Lyon was the Kentucky State Poet Laureate from 2015-2016.

Music on this episode features the Dutch Cove String Band with a tune called “The Greeneville Waltz.”  That song comes off their album Sycamore Tea released by Appalshop’s own June Appal Recordings in 1978.

This episode was produced and hosted by Rachel Garringer. From all of us at WMMT thank you for listening and please follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus in these scary times.








Appalachian Literature,
Appalachian Writers,
National Poetry Month,