Closed Hold

Poems take us places we haven’t been before, and introduce us to new people, and sometimes they play our favorite songs on the radio while we are getting there. Jane Hicks’s poems carry us across time and into the deep woods of memory, and after reading them, we may feel that we ourselves have eaten banana pudding at communion on Pyburn Creek. Hick’s poetry first appeared in Now & Then magazine in 1987, and she went on to publish more than a dozen poems in the magazine in the years that followed. Hicks is a treasured ETSU alum, and her work is an indispensable thread in the quilt of Appalachian literature. We are delighted to share these new poems from her so early in the life of Appalachian Places. Learn more about Hicks and her work here: http://www.cosmicpossum.com/


Everyone holds a story.

Not everyone tells a story.

Not everyone tells a story,

buried deep, reached but by nightmare.

Buried deep, reached but by nightmare,

fists, wasps of words, forbidden doors opened.

Fists, wasps of words, forbidden doors opened,

shadows in gloom, hand across the mouth.

Shadows in gloom, hand across the mouth,

stranger, kin, false friend – power and control.

Stranger, kin, false friend – power and control.

Heart bruise and flesh wounds heal and fade.

Heart bruise and flesh wounds heal and fade,

leave storied scars we every one hold.


Jane Hicks, a native of East Tennessee, is an award-winning poet, teacher, and quilter. Her poetry appears in journals and numerous anthologies, including Southern Poetry Anthology: Contemporary Appalachia and Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee. Her first book, Blood and Bone Remember, was nominated for and won several awards. The University Press of Kentucky published her latest poetry book, Driving with the Dead, in the fall of 2014. It won the Appalachian Writers Association Poetry Book of the Year Award for books published in 2014.