Fable in the Blood
The Selected Poems of Byron Herbert Reece

Edited by Jim Clark

A generous selection of poems by a unique and influential twentieth-century Georgia poet


"Clark has performed his labors with obvious love but with fine critical discrimination. . . . Here is a poetry steeped in tradition that is as fresh as morning milk, that has affinities not only with Robert Herrick in the 17th century and with E.A. Robinson in the 20th, that honors techniques regarded as outmoded and makes them brightly, even abradingly, expressive."
—Fred Chappell

"Clark's book affectionately brings back into print poems originally published in the 1940s and 1950s by one of North Georgia's most intriguing and neglected poets."
Now & Then

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Collected here are poems by one of Georgia's most intriguing and talented poets of the twentieth century. Byron Herbert Reece was born in Union County, Georgia, in 1917 and authored four volumes of poems and two novels during his short lifetime. Until now, many of his poems, originally published in the 1940s and 1950s, have been out of print. Reece, who faithfully assumed responsibility for his family's farm when his parents became ill, was never a poet of the academic ivory tower. Indeed, he rebelled against the rising New Criticism associated with the Vanderbilt Fugitives, the elite of southern poetry at that time.

Reece's work reflects both the devastating impact of his parents' death from tuberculosis and his own affliction with the disease, which caused him to distance himself from others: "A solitary thing am I / Upon the roads of rust and flame / That thin at sunset to the air." Reece was also preoccupied with his ambivalence toward the farm, which sustained his solitude yet took time away from his writing: "In the far, dark woods go roving / And find there to match your mood / A kindred spirit moving / Where the wild winds blow in the wood." Reece's poetry is resonant and contemplative, and Jim Clark has included here works that speak for the true grace of Reece's talent. In addition, Clark's attentive introduction should bring increased interest to this notable southern poet.

Page count: 160 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

Read more about Byron Herbert Reece at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $31.95

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Byron Herbert Reece was a lifelong resident of the north Georgia mountains. An author whose work is closely tied to the spirit and traditions of Appalachia, he wrote two novels: The Hawk and the Sun and Better a Dinner of Herbs (both Georgia). In addition, Reece was the author of four highly acclaimed volumes of poetry. Jim Clark is the Elizabeth H. Jordan Professor of Southern Literature and Chair of the Department of English and Modern Language at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina. He is the author of two collections of poetry and his most recent book is Notions: A Jim Clark Miscellany. He has also recorded and released three CDs of music and poetry, and his current CD project, The Service of Song, will feature his musical settings of twelve of Byron Herbert Reece’s best known poems.