Standing on the Outcrop by Joyce Brown
“Standing on the Outcrop herself, Joyce Compton Brown looks out over the vast peaks and deep valleys and long swoops of land she knows like the back of her hand, it IS her hand, bone and blood—and the voices she hears are her own voices coming from way back....the underside of history, the inside of history. Yet somehow Joyce has the great gift of writing them down and bringing them to us just as they were, just as they are still, peopling those vast and ancient hills. Standing on the Outcrop is a treasure."
—Lee Smith, author of On Agate Hill, Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, and The Last Girls
“‘Here the stories linger’ opens Joyce Brown’s lovely collection, a line fulfilled on every page. This book is immersed in place, the shadow of Honeycutt and Linville mountains, the beautiful valley where people till the ‘ever cloying earth’ or work the mills or own them. They are named and unnamed–Cherokees ousted from their land, Italian railroad workers, Black men and women ‘bought or hired,’ murdered strikers, shadows in photos or lost under trees and rock. There’s joy in language here, whether a tale of loss bluntly told, the lyrical testimony of the laborer released by a stroke to reveal his true nature, or the linguistic dazzle of the Clinchfield railroad singing its siren song– ‘and you can/ work shifts /work shifts /work shifts…’ You’ll remember these people and hear their voices long after you’ve closed the covers."
—Valerie Nieman, author of Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse
“Like a farmer searching for water, in these poems Joyce Brown delves deeper and deeper into her spirit country between Linville and Honeycutt Mountains. Voice, time, and landscape merge, and the essence of the place is revealed, becomes our spirit country too. Brown is one of our state’s finest poets.”
—Ron Rash, author of Serena and One Foot in Eden
Standing on the Outcrop is a book of linked poems portraying a mountain valley, North Cove, NC, and the changes endured by the landscape and its people from the past to the present.
Joyce Compton Brown is the author of two previous books of poetry, Bequest (Finishing Line) and Singing with Jarred Edges (Main Street Rag). She has published poetry in numerous journals as well as scholarly essays and prose in a previous life. She enjoys roots music, any thing Appalachian, and her Appalachian husband, Les Brown.