April Asbury Publishes Chapbook of Poetry

Posted by Monica Hoel
Woman with Crows is a newly published chapbook of poetry by April J. Asbury, E&H Class of 1996.

April writes in an Appalachian voice – but one that defies stereotypes. She embodies the rich connection to language and story-telling that is a hallmark of Appalachia, and she has a deep and respectful appreciation to the region. Her mother was part of the Appalachian Studies program at Radford University and her father grew up in McDowell County, West Virginia. But she warns that being an Appalachian writer means more than just offering a “flavor of what’s gone before.” She admires other writers who manage to reflect their roots while also telling a very modern story of what life is like now. “There’s a lot going on here … and people shouldn’t miss it just because they don’t expect to see it.”

Her poems offer readers an opportunity to find bits of their own stories in her words. She captures a childhood moment of dealing with a friend’s obnoxious kid brother. She relays the challenges of dealing with the insurmountable mounds of “stuff” – and sentiment – while trying to clean out homes of deceased family members. And while telling us stories, she manages to convey a greater sense of emotion and commonality.

April believes in the power of stories. “Making connections through stories is what will save us as people.” While some moments in life may not seem like typical poetry topics, April sees life differently: “There’s poetry in all of it.”

April J. Asbury teaches writing and literature at Radford University in Virginia. She holds an M.F.A. from Spalding University and an M.A. from Hollins, where she also worked as a visiting assistant professor. Her work appears in Artemis, Still: The Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and other publications. Woman with Crows is her first published collection and it is available through Finishing Line Press.

You can enjoy a conversation with April found in the WEHC archives, where she reads the following poem from the new chapbook. The poem, originally published by Floyd County Moonshine, is entitled A Petition for Merciful Salvage:

Come, American Pickers! Come, cold-eyed
angels of commerce, warrior-merchants
of the History Channel! Part the dust
and straw of dim barn cathedrals, brush
lacquer flakes and crusted sentiment
from the cracked ruin of things.

What is precious brings fifteen, twenty,
thirty dollars going once, twice, sold
for sweet absolution. No more worry
about moths, rust, thieves; no more guilt
about lost parts, dents and dings, givers
never thanked. Sweet American Pickers,
grant me one less thing to care for,
one less thing to dust, one less
thing to clutter the path of rooms
from here to someplace else.

Do right by me, keen eyes
of appraisal. Weigh my heart
against a feather and pay
fair cash. O free-styling Pickers,
save me from myself.

  • April J. Asbury, Emory & Henry Class of 1996
“There’s poetry in all of it.”
April Asbury, E&H ’96

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg" alt="Michael Shipley (E&H '13) and his wife Nicolette and daughter Elizabeth." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1113" data-max-h="1113" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army">Michael Shipley is Serving the US Army</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> He is a Company Executive Officer in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. <a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1216-abingdon-farmers-market-is-open-with-a-twist"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.JPG 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.JPG" alt="The Abingdon Farmers Market at Berry Home Center in Abingdon." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/934,478,2579,2119/8046_IMG_9596_1.rev.1587141136.JPG 3x" data-max-w="1645" data-max-h="1641" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1216-abingdon-farmers-market-is-open-with-a-twist">Abingdon Farmer’s Market is Open – with a Twist</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Kyra (’77) and Tom (’75) Bishop are providing a safe way for local farmers to offer curbside service. <a href="/live/news/1216-abingdon-farmers-market-is-open-with-a-twist" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1295-action-is-better"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.jpg" alt="Ron Miller ('20) and Liam Besneatte-Cullinane (?21) at the food pantry in Chilhowie" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/396,0,2796,2400/8277_IMG_9254.rev.1591281504.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1295-action-is-better">“Action is better…”</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> These E&H students are flexing their service muscles this summer. <a href="/live/news/1295-action-is-better" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>