“The creative story shapers of this volume reveal a dynamic Appalachia—people who refuse to follow a fixed pattern or fade into a gray-grained background. The loose parts of creation are held up for our curiosity or dismay. Natural and home territories burgeon with wild growth, and public venues carry unusual nuances, leaving no room for cliché or homogeneity. Most memorable, perhaps, are the expressive personae rising from these pages to enchant, startle, warn, mesmerize, amuse, and inspire. Children, elders, and all folks in-between reflect the evidence of spirits being broken and healed. They survive inside a transformative whirl of rituals, habits, and systemic practices, touched by loneliness, temptation, trauma, amazement, fear, resistance, love, faith. They are wonders. Of course, these pages contain a cryptid or two—and supernatural tensions brew in the margins, where the mysteries of astral planes and bones and death also linger. Appalachian strangeness, it seems, ranges all over the regional map. To carry its stories, we must be still, pausing in our workaday lives to listen, watch, learn.” —Sherry Cook Stanforth
Miscellaneous. Poetry. Fiction. Essay.
Sherry Cook Stanforth is a writer, musician, and cultural program designer living along the Ohio River in Clermont County, Ohio. Her 3-generation family band Tellico features themes of the nature, ecology, home place, work, play, survival, and cultural traditions inspired by her southern-to- urban Appalachian heritage. Children and adults alike love the high-energy music and storytelling, which is with (not simply "for") people. As founder and director of Thomas More University's Creative Writing Vision program, Sherry also provides interactive educational and public arts programs for diverse populations in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky community. Offerings include creative writing workshops and retreats, uniquely tailored ecology (STEAM) activities, and arts-based Express programs that inspire curiosity about cultural diversity and community building.
Sherry's work as an artist and academic is shaped by her family's southern Appalachian, Tellico Plains Cherokee ancestry and regular I-75 journeys "back home" to visit loved ones. The musical jam circles, mountain and creek excursions, kitchen-table/front-porch storytelling, and joyous intergenerational gatherings of her childhood still define her time and sense of value.