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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

A Field Guide to Northeast Alabama

University of Colorado Denver
Published March 7, 2008


Jake Adam York, 2008.

Jake Adam York reads four poems in and near his hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, in January 2008. York's poetry blends themes and imagery drawn from his experiences and those of  family members, framed with the natural, industrial, and social histories of the northern Alabama landscape. 

"A Field Guide to Northeast Alabama" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.

A Field Guide to Northeast Alabama

Jake Adam York reads the poem "Gone With the Wind."

Jake Adam York reads the poem "At Cornwall Furnace."
Jake Adam York reads the poem "Bunk Richardson."
Jake Adam York reads the poem "Walt Whitman in Alabama."

About Jake Adam York

Raised near Gadsden in northeast Alabama by his steelworker father and his mother, a history teacher, Jake Adam York (1972-2012) studied architecture and English at Auburn University. He received an M.F.A. in creative writing and English literature from Cornell University. He is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he directs the creative writing program. York has published two books of poetry, Murder Ballads (2005), and A Murmuration of Starlings (2008), and his poems have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Diagram, Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, H_NGM_N, New Orleans Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Review.

Interview with Natasha Trethewey

Part 2York discusses his relation to “the southern writer,” racial geography and history, industry and manufacturing in Alabama

Part 3York discusses family history and local reception of his work: are his poems political?

Part 4York discusses the ethics and practice of writing as well as the residue of violence

Cover Image Attribution:

Coosa River Rail Bridge. Gadsden, Alabama, September 11, 2015. Photograph by Flickr user formulanone. Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0.

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