I applaud the Affrilachian Poets for the stand they took recently when they rejected Gov. Matt Bevin’s 2016 Governor’s Award in the Arts, saying, in part, “we cannot truthfully and accurately represent our aesthetic character and ethical position if we accept an award in this current governor’s name.”
After a quarter-century of carefully dodging the issue, I wish to go on record saying that I, as a Harlan County native, do not — anthropologically, geographically, historically or personally — accept Danville native Frank X Walker having renamed my homeland “Affrilachia.”
As for me and my house, we would rather our neck of the Appalachian woods remain invisible and obscure than to be created and branded by poets who seem to know and write very little, specifically, about us or our space, while the brand “Affrilachia” generates copious visibility for them.
William H. Turner