Tag Archives: Appalachian Poetry

Poetry Caldwell Features Jonathan K. Rice in Western N.C.

Caldwell Arts Council to host event Oct. 18, which includes Open Mic time

LENOIR, N.C. – After a short summer break, Poetry Caldwell is back at the Caldwell Arts Council (CAC), with artist and poet Jonathan Kevin Rice set to appear on Oct. 18. As always, Poetry Caldwell is free and open to all.


Held in the upstairs gallery, the event starts at 6:30 p.m. A short open mic will be held following Rice’s reading. Interested individuals may sign up to participate in open mic by calling the CAC at (828) 754-2486.

Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for 17 years and served as a co-editor for Kakalak in 2016. He most recently co-edited “Of Burgers & Barrooms,” an anthology published by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2017.

He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, “Killing Time” (2015), “Ukulele and Other Poems” (2006) and a chapbook, “Shooting Pool with a Cellist” (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including The Aurorean, Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, “Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race” and “The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.”

His art has appeared in a number of group and solo exhibits in the Carolinas. Most recently his show “Excursions: Paintings by Jonathan K. Rice,” ran through June 2018 at the North Charleston City Gallery.

He is the recipient of the 2012 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College. Rice lives in Charlotte.

For further information about Poetry Caldwell or any CAC programming, contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-248 or info@caldwellarts.com.

Caldwell Arts councilThe Caldwell Arts Council presents the arts in all its forms to the people of Caldwell County. Located at 601 College Avenue SW in Lenoir, N.C. 28645, the CAC is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

© Michael M. Barrick, 2018. Photo of Jonathan K. Rice provided by CAC. Feature (Home page) photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

Editor’s note: When first posted, Mr. Rice’s first name was spelled incorrectly in the headline. Sorry for the error.



One Thing

“You are lacking in one thing”
heard the young man.
The one thing was surrender – in his case, of possessions.
Still, the Teacher “loved him.”

The only thing else revealed is that the young man
“Went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
In time, it is possible that the young man gave away all,
and followed the Teacher, overwhelmed by love.

Of this, one can only speculate.
But this we know:
We each have “one thing” –
at least.

© Michael M. Barrick, 2015

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Interior Poverty

By Michael M. Barrick
Do not be deceived by the 4,000 square-foot house on the fairway.
The man inside, when his income dropped from seven figures to six,
drove to a city park, walked into the woods and put a revolver in his mouth.

Besides leaving behind enough wealth to feed thousands of starving children,
he also left a widow and an orphan in distress.

His suicide note was written as precisely as any insurance contract he inked.
Just an hour before killing himself, he played golf with his friends.
He called his wife and said he would see her at dinner.

It was all a façade, masking his interior poverty.

The ramshackle homes of the central West Virginia town
alert the passerby to a shared poverty.

It is, true, a scarcity of the purse.
But it is also poverty with a curse.
It is a contagion of despair.
Why else would every house be in disrepair?

Poverty need not equal filth.
Poverty need not equal mediocrity.
Poverty need not equal ignorance.
Poverty need not equal apathy.

Yet, here it does.
It is as if a vote has been taken;
by informal acclamation, by consent agreement,
a community has surrendered.

They have allowed the corporate barons
that provided and then withdrawn the work to rob them –
of their dignity,
of their hope,
of their souls.
Through surrender to their deprivation,
they have invited desperation to live among them – to lead them.

Yes, they are victims of the new Gilded Age.
Yes, they are the casualties of the Momentum of Mediocrity.
Yes, they have been defeated and defrauded by those that own the politicians.

To deny that their impoverished existence is caused by injustice
is to deny the truth.
Yet, it is also certain that they have surrendered that which
can only be given, not taken – their essence.
The self-neglect reveals what they have collectively accepted – interior poverty.

He abused his position, his power and his vows.
He wore the Roman Collar.
He ranked high in the diocese; was wined and dined at the state capitol.
He sexually abused young men, it was asserted (but that is the safe word, for too many knew it was so).

On the eve of his indictment, he died mysteriously.
He was called Father.
He was called to be holy.
Those who could have stopped him, did not.
The one willing to speak – who, in fact, alerted Rome – was banished.

One man, charged with leading the faithful to the Truth.
Instead, he prowled and devoured.
When will it stop?
Until it does, are we to conclude that the Pope is a dope? Or is that too kind?

The Vatican – such wealth.
The parishes – half empty.
Abandoned by those who can not, will not
reconcile the collection basket with abandoned and disparaged souls.

His legacy is the worst kind
of interior poverty – poverty of the soul.

Living in a putrid mess,
addicted to numbing pharmaceuticals,
the brilliant man is challenged – “You have choices you know.”

He responds, “In theory, that’s true.”
Pausing, he adds, “Practically speaking though, I don’t.”

For now, interior poverty rules his life.
Is there hope, or is he astutely accurate?

© Michael M. Barrick / Appalachian Chronicle, 2012-2014


By Michael M. Barrick

Evening in Appalachia

Evening in Appalachia

A turkey, the owls and the tree frogs
were our companions.

Two men,
old friends,
white tops

fond days
and lost days.

Thinking –
one of a bachelor’s life,
the other of a lovely wife.

Companions – friends – brothers,
joined by Providence,
abiding by choice.

for Uncle Dave,
for Coldwater Creek.

In awe of God
and His nature.
Of it; in it.

Two friends for forty years,
sitting in the Appalachian dusk.

© Michael Barrick/Appalachian Chronicle, 2012 – 2014.