Marianne Worthington


Marianne Worthington is a poet, editor, and co-founder of Still: The Journal, an online literary magazine publishing literary, visual, and musical artists with ties to the Appalachian region since 2009. She received the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Appalachian Book of the Year Award for her poetry collection, Larger Bodies Than Mine. She was awarded grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship at Berea College. She recently co-edited, with Silas House, Piano in a Sycamore: Writing Lessons from the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, a writing craft anthology from teachers at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop from the last 40 years. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Oxford American, CALYX, Grist, Shenandoah, The Louisville Review, Appalachian Heritage, Southern Poetry Anthology, and Vinegar and Char: Southern Food in Verse, among other places. She lives in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and teaches communication studies, media writing, and journalism at University of the Cumberlands.


Here are some of her most recent writing projects:

Co-editor, Piano in a Sycamore: Writing Lessons from the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, 2017.

Afterword for Crystal Wilkinson’s novel Water StreetUP of Kentucky, 2017.

Liner notes for Daniel Martin Moore’s CD Archives Vol. II – Old Stepstone, 2016.

Review of Kathleen Driskell’s Next Door to the Dead: Poems, Appalachian Heritage, 2015.

Liner notes for Daniel Martin Moore & Joan Shelley’s CD Farthest Field, 2015.

Still: The Journalthe literary journal she co-edits with Silas House and Karen Salyer McElmurray, publishes new issues every February, June, and October.



We publish Issue #15 of Still: The Journal

We’ve just published Issue #15 of Still: The Journal, featuring new work from fiction and creative nonfiction writers, poets, a photographer, a musician, and scholars. We also have an interview with celebrated novelist and activist Denise Giardina, a writing prompt idea on “place” from our fiction editor, and a feature on a writing community. We’re also announcing our 5th annual literary contests. Give us a read and share the word!

Contributors to Issue #15: Jennifer Adams , Jacob Anderson, GC Bailey, Anne Charlton, Jennifer Barton Chadourne, Maggie Colvett, David Cornette, Jacob L. Cross, Roberta Senechal de la Roche, Della Eaves, Sue Eisenfeld, Natalia Fallon, M. Brett Gaffney, Denise Giardina, Richard Hague, Christine Hale, Bonnie Cram Hall, Jeff Hardin, Melissa Helton, Jeanne Marie Hibberd, Jane Hicks, Judith D. Hoover , Melanie K. Hutsell, Sharon Isaac,Tia Jensen, Libby Falk Jones, Marilyn Kallet, Matthew Kingesly, Luther Kirk, C. Ann Kodra, Coleman Larkin, Kathleen Brewin Lewis, Rose McLarney, Anna Kate McWhorter, Parker Millsap, Renée K. Nicholson, Matthew Sidney Parsons, Matt Prater, Melva Sue Priddy, Anjie Seewer Reynolds, Jane Sasser, Savannah Sipple, Jay Sizemore, Judith Ramsey Southard, Shelby Stephenson, Natalie Sypolt, Jamey Temple, Janelle Terry, Lindsay Weist, Charles Dodd White, Ron Yates

Troublesome Creek Writers’ Retreat

Hindman Settlement School is offering a weekend writing retreat April 4-6, 2014, and I’m honored to be facilitating the weekend. This basically means that we will have loosely-structured and informal sessions with loads of private writing time. Oh! It will be such fun. Come go with me. Read about the details, costs, housing, etc. here. I hope to see you at Troublesome Creek in April.


Golden Apples of the Sun

I hope by now you’ve heard Caroline Herring’s latest CD project, “Golden Apples of the Sun” (Signature Sounds 2009). If you haven’t, you must.

Really. Hurry.

Honestly, it’s one of my favorite CDs of the year, maybe of the decade. Bobbi Buchanan’s online magazine, New Southerner, featured my review of “Golden Apples” in the Winter 09-10 issue. You can read the review here, but it would be better if you just bought the CD and shared the love. You won’t be disappointed.

Herring’s video for “Tales of the Islander”

Epistemology or 10 Ways of Knowing:

Discover Something New Every Day: The Challenge

1. Watching a daughter in sleep.

2. Determining which birds are pacifists and which are competitors at the feeders. Squirrels will let the finches feed with them, but not the jays. Jays will let finches and turtle doves feed with them, but no crows allowed. Crows are hoggish, but fascinating.

3. Smelling the air after rain on a humid day.

4. Rubbing a dog’s fat belly.

5. Eating a ripe peach.

6. Reading the right poem at the just-right time.

7. Singing with Lester Flatt.

8. Finding an old photograph of your parents.

9. Receiving a letter.

10. Striking the right chord.

Morning Quiet

Discover Something New Every Day: The Challenge

I’ve been up writing since before daybreak. The house is quiet but humming peacefully. The refrigerator motor provides a pedal-point accompaniment to the rhythm of my dogs snoring through their early morning nap and to the percussive chip-chip-chip of the redbird family at the feeder right outside my library window. The weather has cooled down. Mornings are foggy and slow. These couple of hours before I have to go to school have given me just what I need: time to contemplate without anxiety or the burden of interruption. It’s a gift. I wish I could give it to you.

The Great Blue Heron: Sightings, Sculptures and Stanzas

Discover Something New Every Day: The Challenge

My mother’s nursing home sits near the banks of the Holston River in southeast Knoxville. She often reports that from her window she can see great blue heron flying across the sky. She saw one recently, its matchstick legs long-dangling as the blue-black feathers blurred past her view of the outside world.

The great blue heron is inspiration to many artists; perhaps because it’s a stunning experience just to see one. Native Americans believed the heron wise and considered it a good omen to see one before a hunt. Tennessee artist William Brock’s sculptures of the great blue heron are so life-like that real herons have been known to set down in his field where several of his sculptures live. My friend and former teacher Danny Marion has spotted many a heron from his river house on the Holston River. Here’s his poem, “The Great Blue Heron,” originally published in his chapbook about birds, Miracles of Air (1987), and available in Marion’s collected works, Ebbing & Flowing Springs:

Framed in my window
your swash of slate grey
stillness is a winter study
of stones cobbling shore.

Twilight & the river unravels
its secrets in shallow threads
rippling gold around your spindle-

Downriver sycamore & willow
echo the grace
of your neck arched
to angle over pools.

Soon darkness drapes a distance
between us & fog rises
in a dance of wings.