Book_Kentucky's 12 Days
Kentucky's Twelve Days of Christmas, published by Kentucky Monthly
“The holy hush in the gray twilight that comes only on Christmas Eve” is captured and wonderfully told in a new anthology edited by James. B. Goode, an award-winning author (Up from the Mines) and English professor. Brimming with stories and poems sure to become holiday favorites, Kentucky’s Twelve Days of Christmas is a collection that spans decades and contains pieces written by literary legends and contemporary masters from across the state. Goode states in the introduction that “Christmas stories, poems and songs were being written by Kentucky writers almost from the beginning of the Commonwealth in 1792.” While a few volumes of Kentucky Christmas literature have been amassed, there are too many writers in the state to be represented in this category, which Goode realized as he compiled the anthology and discovered “the amount of quality material not anthologized far exceeded [his] expectations.”
The anthology’s Christmas-themed stories and poems reflect the wealth of material Kentucky writers have to draw from in their memories of home, people, history and heritage. It is apparent that “when the white stars talk together like sisters and when the winter hills raise their grand semblance in the freezing night,” poets and authors are inspired to capture the joys and poignant sorrows of Christmas in Kentucky. And in the process, writers fill their readers “with the hope of something most divine.”
Divided into 12 sections, the book takes readers into snow-covered boughs, cozy cottages, and through “the pin oaks and the birch, the elms and the maples droop[ing] like weeping willows and the winter birds [that] are out of sight.” The collection transverses many holiday scenarios, from a grumpy grandmother who rules the holiday roost to Christmases marred by commercialism and poverty, to lessons of yuletide mercy and forgiveness.
Readers can settle in and enjoy Kentucky’s Twelve Days of Christmas “by the cheerful hearth-fire’s light” and get lost in poems and stories written by some of the state’s most luminous authors, including Harriette Arnow, John Fox Jr., Robert Penn Warren, Irvin S. Cobb, James Still, Frank X Walker, Tammy Ramsey, Jane Stuart, Allen Tate, Stephen M. Vest, Crystal Wilkinson, Wendell Berry and Goode himself. The literature is engaging and represents a wide range of yarns that ultimately wish readers a “merry joyous Christmas tranquil, complete as a flake of snow.”
Buy Kentucky's Twelve Days of Christmas now at shopkentuckymonthly.com.