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

More News

  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army"><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." class="lw_image" 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"/></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/412-finding-french-roots"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/120,70,372,322/4181_IMG_6862_1.rev.1527277507.JPG" alt="Tim Fields (E&H re'88) at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, France." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="252" data-max-h="252"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/412-finding-french-roots">Finding French Roots</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Tim Fields is part of an organization seeking out the early French influences of the City of New Orleans. <a href="/live/news/412-finding-french-roots" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1643-lisa-jordan-honored-by-the-eamph-alumni"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,175,175/9429_lisa_jordan_3.jfif" alt="Lisa Jordan, Emory & Henry Class of 1984" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1643-lisa-jordan-honored-by-the-eamph-alumni">Lisa Jordan Honored by the E&H Alumni Association</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Lisa Jordan, Emory & Henry Class of 1984, has been named the 2021 recipient of the E&H Distinguished Achievement Award, awarded annually by the Emory & Henry Alumni Association. (<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.ehc.edu/alumni/get-involved/alumni-awards/">Read more about E&H Alumni Awards.</a></span>) <a href="/live/news/1643-lisa-jordan-honored-by-the-eamph-alumni" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/623-not-a-typical-success-story"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/633,620,1708,1696/5787_IMG_6576_1.rev.1546551600.JPG" alt="Rachel Shenk and Patrick Holcomb at a wedding in Northern Virginia." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/633,620,1708,1696/5787_IMG_6576_1.rev.1546551600.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/633,620,1708,1696/5787_IMG_6576_1.rev.1546551600.JPG 3x" data-max-w="1075" data-max-h="1076"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/623-not-a-typical-success-story">Not a Typical Success Story</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Rachel Shenk and Patrick Holcomb are on Colorado’s front line of a new industry: legal cannabis. <a href="/live/news/623-not-a-typical-success-story" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/311-obituaries-updated-feb-9-2018"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,2400/3379_IMG-3500.rev.1519759241.JPG" alt="Fall day at Emory & Henry College." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,2400/3379_IMG-3500.rev.1519759241.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,2400/3379_IMG-3500.rev.1519759241.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="2400"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/311-obituaries-updated-feb-9-2018">Obituaries: Updated Feb. 9, 2018</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1147-2020-eamph-distinguished-alumni-awards-announced"><img src="/live/image/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg" alt="Founders Day" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2131" data-max-h="2136"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1147-2020-eamph-distinguished-alumni-awards-announced">2020 E&H Distinguished Alumni Awards Announced</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">In lieu of Founders Day being canceled, we are working to find a way to celebrate and honor our award winners in other ways at later date. <a href="/live/news/1147-2020-eamph-distinguished-alumni-awards-announced" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/56-rhythm-roots-had-a-little-lamb"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/568_brent.rev.1505410086.jpg" alt="Brent Treash is serving as the 2017 Rhythm & Roots President" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/568_brent.rev.1505410086.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/56-rhythm-roots-had-a-little-lamb">Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">…and his name was Brent Treash, E&H Class of ’01. He served as president of the 2017 Rhythm & Roots Festival. <a href="/live/news/56-rhythm-roots-had-a-little-lamb" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1533-jonathan-turpin-is-never-too-busy-to-think-of"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,800,800/9020_jonathan_Turpin.jfif" alt="Jonathan Turpin, Emory & Henry Class of 2017" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1533-jonathan-turpin-is-never-too-busy-to-think-of">Jonathan Turpin is Never Too Busy to Think of Others</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Think back to the sort of activities that occupied <em>your</em> senior year.</p><p> Now…consider the story of Jonathan Turpin’s senior year.</p><a href="/live/news/1533-jonathan-turpin-is-never-too-busy-to-think-of" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1353-eamph-football-is-on-the-air-in-2020"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/577,339,1851,1613/7057_score.rev.1571769042.jpg" alt="Oct. 19, 2019, Emory & Henry’s Max Yates catches a Hail, Mary pass to win the game against ..." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/577,339,1851,1613/7057_score.rev.1571769042.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/577,339,1851,1613/7057_score.rev.1571769042.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1274" data-max-h="1274"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1353-eamph-football-is-on-the-air-in-2020">E&H Football is On The Air in 2020!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">When the going gets tough, the tough get creative! And sports fans will be pleased to know that the E&H football program is getting creative: they have found a way for us to enjoy a little Wasp Football this fall. <a href="/live/news/1353-eamph-football-is-on-the-air-in-2020" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1386-eamph-alumni-librarians-organize-reading-challenge"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/40,0,559,518/8585_books.rev.1601424919.png" alt="" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="519" data-max-h="518"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1386-eamph-alumni-librarians-organize-reading-challenge">E&H Alumni Librarians Organize Reading Challenge for Stay Homecoming</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">This Stay Homecoming event is a real page-turner. <a href="/live/news/1386-eamph-alumni-librarians-organize-reading-challenge" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1725-coa-invites-eamph-for-one-more-road-trip"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,470,470/9634_bristol_Train_station.rev.1617240659.jpg" alt="The Bristol Train Station just might be a haunted location." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="470" data-max-h="470"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1725-coa-invites-eamph-for-one-more-road-trip">COA Invites E&H for One More Road Trip!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">The Emory & Henry Alumni Office is pleased to be participating one last time in the “College for Online Adults” sponsored by the SWVA Higher Education Center. <a href="/live/news/1725-coa-invites-eamph-for-one-more-road-trip" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1840-dr-laura-hainsworth-making-scientific-observations"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/88,90,453,454/9841_laura_Hainsworth.rev.1620315838.jpg" alt="Dr. Laura Hainsworth, Emory & Henry Chemistry and Environmental Studies Professor and Directo..." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="365" data-max-h="364"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1840-dr-laura-hainsworth-making-scientific-observations">Dr. Laura Hainsworth: Making Scientific Observations “on the Farm”</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Emory & Henry’s Dr. Laura Hainsworth doesn’t agree with John Denver on one important point: life on the farm is anything but laid back. <a href="/live/news/1840-dr-laura-hainsworth-making-scientific-observations" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/519-dogs-best-friend"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,3200/4527_IMG-9834.rev.1536347287.JPG" alt="One of the adoptable dogs found at BARK." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,3200/4527_IMG-9834.rev.1536347287.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,3200/4527_IMG-9834.rev.1536347287.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="3200"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/519-dogs-best-friend">Dog’s Best Friend</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">David “Skip” Harless shows up day after day to make sure the dogs of BARK feel loved. <a href="/live/news/519-dogs-best-friend" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/607-josh-mancuso-debuts-documentary"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,960,960/5719_Josh-tight.rev.1544563035.jpg" alt="Josh Mancuso, E&H Class of 2003" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,960,960/5719_Josh-tight.rev.1544563035.jpg 2x" data-max-w="960" data-max-h="960"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/607-josh-mancuso-debuts-documentary">Josh Mancuso Debuts Documentary</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">After a big debut in Los Angeles, the movie came home to East Tennessee. <a href="/live/news/607-josh-mancuso-debuts-documentary" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/38,0,514,475/6285_Richard_Trollinger.rev.1554994277.jpg" alt="Richard Trollinger, E&H Class of 1971." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="476" data-max-h="475"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year">Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Richard Trollinger (E&H ’71) has been named Danville, Kentucky, citizen of the year. <a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>