What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

If you prefer a battle hymn to an elegy, listen to historian Elizabeth Catte provide the context of her book What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia. Catte explains how Appalachia is not what you may have thought it was, and Appalachia's future doesn't have to be one of depopulation and the desperation of those left behind:

I left.... moved to wherever the job market decided that I needed to go.... If the logic of exodus was correct, then my relocation would forever entitle me to be spared the sight of people weeping for their homes. It would exempt me from conversations with bank tellers about the worsening symptoms of their children's asthma. My daily commute would be forever free from the monotonous rush to roll up windows at certain mile markers. My water would be drinkable and my air would be clean. I would be paid my worth, allowed to live in productive comfort, among others allowed the same. This is not the reality that I experienced; instead, I followed the market to the polluted air and contaminated water of Texas's cancer belt.... This time it was me weeping for my home.... The logic of exodus just shrugs its shoulders at these realities and tells us to move smarter. I decided to ignore this logic and come back home and fight smarter.

About the Podcast

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Knox Pods
Podcasts of Knox County Public Library

About your hosts

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Melissa Brenneman

Melissa listens to hours of podcasts on most days. She started the habit with the intention of taking long walks, but podcasts proved to be more addicting than exercise. She records, edits and mixes podcasts for the library.
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Alan May

Alan May works as a reference librarian at Lawson McGhee Library. In his spare time, he reads and writes poetry. May's most recent books are Dead Letters (2008) and More Unknowns (2014). His poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, The New Orleans Review, Plume, and others.