I Am A Modern Day Appalachian Woman


by Lisa Norvell   

Reprinted in AppLit with permission of the author. Lisa Norvell, a teacher in Franklin County, Virginia, wrote this poem in 2003, while she was a student at Ferrum College. It also appeared in ALCA-Lines, 2004 issue.

For another great response to stereotpyes of Appalachian women, see Jessica Wimmer's 2009 poem in this web site: "The Art of Being Southern." The AppLit page Thematic Table of Contents for Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia lists selections by 105 women writers.

I am a modern day Appalachian woman.
Not the image you have in your mind.
There's no corncob pipe or spittoon in the corner.
There's no shotgun or blue tick hound by the door.
My husband does not double as my cousin and
I have an education and all of my teeth.
I am a modern day Appalachian woman.
Full of life and overflowing with ambition.
I don't suffer from a lazy streak.
And I don't sit on my front porch
Pining over a life hard lived.
I have hoed my share of corn
And fed the cows and chicken.
I have tended the crops and
Preserved the fruits of my labor.
I am a modern day Appalachian woman.
I speak with a drawl and say mam to my Grandmother
As well as my waitress and the lady at the bank.
I have read Poe and Shakespeare
And I can recite them as well as all of y'all.
I don't have a still in my backyard
But I do know where to get good shine.
I am a modern day Appalachian woman.
I was raised in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Swimming in my back yard crick,
Eating my Grandma's pound cake,
And never lacking for inspiration.
I do not look to the north with envy or embarrassment
As I am supported by my foremothers
And I say to whoever will listen,
I am a modern day Appalachian woman.

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