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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
James Still, author, was born on July 16, 1906, in Lafayette, Alabama, the son of J. Alex and Lonie (Lindsey) Still. He graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, in 1929, earned an M.A. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1930, and later received a degree in library science from the University of Illinois. For the next six years he served as librarian of the Hindman Settlement School at the forks of Troublesome Creek in Knott County , Kentucky, where, among other duties, he conducted a library- on-foot, delivering books in a carton on his shoulder to one-room schools.
His first poem appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review in 1935 and his first short story in Atlantic Monthly a year later. In 1939 he moved into a two-story log house on Dead Mare Branch of Little Carr Creek in Knott County, where he expected to stay only long enough to complete the novel River of Earth. With time out for military service in World War II, fellowships at writers and artists colonies, and parts of fourteen winters spent in the Yucatan, Guatemala, and Honduras, Still has lived in his log house for over half a century.
Still draws on everyday experiences and observations, especially the speech of the area, for his poems, stories, and novels. Even when writing stories and novels, Still is primarily a poet. Themes and images of his early poems, such as the "river of earth," his metaphor for the human condition, are elaborated in the novels and stories. His novel River of Earth (1940) is considered an American classic. Still's works include: Hounds on the Mountain (poems, 1937); On Troublesome Creek (stories, 1941); Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek (juvenile, 1974); The Wolfpen Rusties (juvenile, 1975); Pattern of a Man (stories, 1976); Sporty Creek (novel, 1977); Jack and the Wonder Beans (juvenile, 1977); The Run for the Elbertas (stories, 1980); The Wolfpen Poems (collected poems, 1986); and The Wolfpen Notebooks: Appalachian Life (1991).
Still's work is part of the literary flowering in the American South during the late 1920s and early 1930s, which included Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner, and Kentuckians Elizabeth Madox Roberts , Jesse Stuart, Harriette Simpson Arnow, Caroline Gordon, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, and Robert Penn Warren.
He died April 28, 2001 at the age of 94.
JIM WAYNE MILLER, Entry Author
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Still, J. (1991). The Wolfpen notebooks : A record of Appalachian life. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky.
PS3537.T5377 W59 1991, Special Collections Research Center
Still, J., & Olson, T. (2009). James Still in interviews, oral histories and memoirs (Contributions to southern Appalachian studies ; 23). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. PS3537.T5377 Z46 2009, Young Library - 5th Floor
Still, J. (1983). River of earth : The poem and other poems. Lexington, Ky.]: Workshop, The King Library Press.
PS3537.T5377 R520 1968, Special Collections Research Center