Publication Date:  September 15, 2009
ISBN:  978-0-9802117-1-9
Price:  $12.50
Praise for Robert Morgan's October Crossing
About the Author
Photo by Rimas Zailskas
"Any new collection of poems by Robert Morgan is a gift, and October Crossing is
wonderful through and through.  In the past thirty years I have learned a great deal from this
man, who is exemplary as a poet, as a prose writer, and as a human being.
—Ted Kooser

"Robert Morgan's poems are always exciting for their precise knowledge of country things,

and of how things go in the world of natural fact and process.  This new collection gives us
also some delightful lore from the Southern mountains:  we learn of the horse fiddle, and

holy cussing, and the intrepid pastor who held off bear or panther with his umbrella."
                                                                            —Richard Wilbur

"Forty years after the publication of his first book,Robert Morgan makes this remarkable

October Crossing.  'Beating back the blackest shadows…to the pulse of clap and laughter,'
he surely earns the collection’s final prospect: 'years ahead / as golden as the leaves on
                                                                               —Robert West   

"The best poems in
October Crossing sound so fresh and strong that it is hard to believe
that Robert Morgan’s first book, Zirconia Poems, came out in 1969, forty years ago.  
Morgan’s distinctive voice still sounds much the same, honest and straight, but always
with new subtleties and a willingness to move into new country.  Like Thomas Wolfe and

Wallace Stevens.  Robert Morgan seems to own October, and he makes the most of it,
mature and original."
                                                                              —William Harmon

October Crossing returns to the landscapes and preoccupations of the North
Carolina mountains with the rich, grounded work that he does so well.  Though he has
taught at Cornell University for years, Morgan has never really left Appalachia for his

literary work.  There's music aplenty in Morgan's work, and his portraits not only capture
the daily lives of the people of the North Carolina mountains but always manage to get at
an even larger canvas, to find the common human story that we all share, no matter our

particular location."
                                                    —Michael Chitwood, Raleigh (NC) News & Observer
                                                        December 13, 2009

"Reading familiar poems from
October Crossing … is similar to seeing the chain of
mountains in the Blue Ridge in different lights:  each view offers new vistas….  This is
poetry written by a consummate authority on the region….  The poems…are filed with

folklore, oral tradition, family stories, recorded facts, throwing a spotlight on a region and
leaving the reader more intimately acquainted with the community."
                                                    —Karen K. Mason, North Carolina Literary Review,
                                 #22, 2013
Robert Morgan is the author of
fourteen books of poetry, most recently
Terroir, 2011, and a collection of new
Dark Energy, published in 2015.
He has also published nine volumes of
fiction, including
Gap Creek, a New York
bestseller. A sequel to Gap Creek,
The Road From Gap Creek, was published
in 2013 and received the 2014 Thomas
Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. A new
Chasing the North Star, was
published in 2016. In addition he is the
author of three nonfiction books,
Measure: Essays, Interviews, and Notes
on Poetry
; Boone: A Biography; and
the Westward Expansion, 2011. He has
been awarded the James G. Hanes Poetry
Prize by the Fellowship of Southern
Writers, and the Academy Award in
Literature by the American Academy of
Arts and Letters. In 2013 he received the
History Award Medal from the DAR. His

first play “Homemade Yankees” was
was awarded
Paperback, 24 pages
Publication Date:  January 1, 2015
ISBN:  978-1-937968-14-4
Price:  $8.50
       I will be what I will be.  It is the
dead speaking now from every petal
       of the compass, every atom in
the dark traffic.

Thus the poet
Robert Morgan gives oracular voice to his native Appalachia, to the land and
all its creatures and its people from time immemorial.  Written, he tells us, “in a very special
mood in 1973,”
Mockingbird is a poem of incantatory power, proclaiming what critic John
Lang* has called “new commandments” that “direct his readers away from ecclesiastical
institutions and toward nature,” but a nature as deeply imbued with spirit as it is with
scientific and historical truths.  For, as Morgan counsels us,

                                               Don’t try
to filibuster nature.  The act of culture
       is always substitution.

In this poem of the “southern night” Morgan is lulled by the call of the mockingbird (a
creature that William Harmon – to whom this edition is dedicated – reminds us has ancient
roots in fable**),

                        … a voice that
       raises the hackles on mountains and chills
       the barometric spine…

into wide-ranging reflections and speculations, a philosophical journey on which the reader
can only latch hold tightly and marvel at the twists and turns his thinking takes.  What in
lesser hands might have been chaotic is here exhilarating and inspiring, guiding us until we
arrive together at a point where, as in “an opening in the canopy” of Morgan’s beloved
Appalachian forests, “light shines from obscure places.”

* “Coming out from under Calvinism:  Religious Motifs in Robert Morgan’s Poetry” from An American Vein:  
Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature

**  “Robert Morgan’s ‘Mockingbird’ in Company”
Best-selling author Robert Morgan's poetry
exploring and celebrating the culture and
curiosities of his native Appalachia.
A Poem by Robert Morgan

Broadstone Books is pleased to offer this
landmark poem by one of America’s most
celebrated contemporary Appalachian
authors for the first time in an edition of its

“Morgan’s witness is radically deep, and
mountainously lofty; it is also characterized
by astonishing attention to detail….”
   Michael McFee
   The Napkin Manuscripts
NOTE:  This title is sold out from Broadstone Books but still available from by
clicking here.
And Other Stories
Though Robert Morgan has for a long time now
lived on the northernmost fringes of Appalachia
in Ithaca, New York – like his fellow displaced
Tarheel predecessor A. R. Ammons, he’s an
English professor at Cornell – his heart and his
pen (well, his keyboard more likely now) have
ever belonged to his native North Carolina.  In
this latest collection of short stories, his clear-
eyed affection for and deep knowledge of the
people and places and lore and landscape of the
region are again in evidence.  The finely observed details that form the backdrop for the little
dramas here are so deftly rendered, the language so natural, that it’s easy to overlook the
artistry, the master touch, the brushstrokes too fine to notice.  Simply life on a page.  

But that’s merely the setting for another memorable cast of Morgan characters and situations,
which here include a widower finding a new possibility of life (and sex) in a retirement
community; a doctor who enlists his friends to catch his wife
in flagrante delicto; an
Episcopal priest surprised to find his pastoral duties include sheltering a group of nudists
from a mob (this alone is worth the price of admission!); and many more.

It has become fashionable in today’s politics to parse the “real America” of Appalachia.  
Robert Morgan has always known the heartland folk, his people, warts and all.  Reading
these stories, their stories, though written as fiction, makes a better introduction than any
stack of facts – alternative or not.

                        Critical Praise for Robert Morgan

"Morgan displays an impressive command of American history and of language in [his]
stories.... Each tale embraces a strong, authentic voice; Morgan’s narrative range is
Publishers Weekly

"There’s a certain inevitability to Robert Morgan’s fiction, as if the people and situations he
portrays are not so much written as hewn from blocks of Blue Ridge Mountain stone.
Partly, that’s a function of landscape, which even more than language seems to motivate
Morgan’s writing. At the same time, Morgan brings to his efforts a timeless sensibility, a
perspective bound up less with fleeting fashions than the belief that there may be something
universal about the human condition after all.… What’s not just the sweep
and scope of Morgan’s stories, but his ability to write about individuals in a wide variety of
The New York Times Book Review

"Robert Morgan’s lyric mountain language is equal to the epic sweep of history, to the
grandeur of the land itself."
                            —Lee Smith
Cover & Book Design by Jonathan Greene
Publication Date:  April 1, 2017
Perfectbound, 200 pages
ISBN 978-1-937968-29-8

Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
awarded the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance John Cullum Drama Prize. Recipient of
fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for
the Arts, and the New York State Arts Council, and an O. Henry short story award, he has
served as visiting writer at Davidson College, Furman, Duke, Appalachian State, and East
Carolina universities. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, he was inducted into
the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. Born in Hendersonville, North Carolina in
1944, he has taught since 1971 at Cornell University, where he is Kappa Alpha Professor of
Find more about him at