Rob Merritt

I have a B.A. and MA. in English from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kentucky. I have taught at Virginia Tech, the University of Kentucky, and, since 1990, at Bluefield College. My main scholarly interest has been modern poetry. I have published a book, "Early Music and the Aesthetics of Ezra Pound," which examines how Pound adapted some elements of pre-Mozartian instrumental music into his poetry and into his critical defenses of modern art (fiction, poetry, painting, sculpture, and music). I have also published essays on Joyce, Yeats, and Faulkner.

I also write poetry and creative nonfiction. In both genres, I seek to connect what seem to be increasingly unraveling threads of experience: past (personal, historical, mythic) & present, this geography & that (and how geography is time as well as place). I try to make literary experience (the dead authors) impinge upon our ordinary world. I am focusing more on nature writing, trying to notice the lens through which I view nature, trying to let it speak more directly to me. I have taught several interdisciplinary courses about the environment.

Besides serving as general editor of "The Nantahala Review," I am also overseeing the nonfiction submissions. Although we are looking for a wide variety of topics and approaches, I hope to see some innovative creative nonfiction: personal essays that take a journey into insights both personal and “cosmic” through attention to language and focus on discovery. The world is chock full of models for living, for enhancing our spirit, if we pay attention. All good art makes us look anew. The best creative nonfiction chronicles that visioning process.

I am excited about "The Nantahala Review" because I believe the ACA needs a publication to showcase the artistic talent of the faculty and students at these colleges. The ACA has done a lot through workshops, conferences, and the Virtual Center to lessen some of the isolation (that I, at least, feel) in working at a small college in rural Appalachia, but I still wonder what my colleagues in the Arts and Humanities are doing in and out of the classroom. I hope "The Nantahala Review" can become a place where we can keep informed about each other. "The Nantahala Review" editors also want to publish the best work we can find in the region by those not necessarily associated with the ACA. We know our guest editors, Alyson Hagy and Mike Chitwood, will help us to do so.