This essay explores the history and the mystery of Rebecca Cushman (1886-1967) and her single book of poetry, Swing Your Mountain Gal: Sketches of Life in the Southern Highlands (Houghton Mifflin, 1934). It addresses not only the text itself, an illustrated collection of twenty-seven versified oral histories, but also the life and work of the author (an Asheville native and longtime resident of Chapel Hill, buried in a family plot at Moorefields outside Hillsborough), who is never mentioned in surveys of Appalachian or southern literature. Placing Cushman in the context of other writers and artists in her time and place (including Horace Kephart, Thomas Wolfe, and Bayard Wootten), this piece tries to discover how her volume came into being, why there was so little aftermath to its publication, and what the author did the rest of her long life, which did not include subsequent published books.


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pp. 37-50
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