Brenda Kay Ledford, Author
Poet Brenda Kay Ledford’s roots go back seven generations in Clay County and she draws upon her Appalachian upbringing for the stories she tells and the poems she writes, including those in her new collection, Red Plank House. “I grew up in a red plank house eating apple butter, wearing homemade clothes and listening to tales on the front porch during the summer,” she says.
A high school English teacher advised her students to write what they knew. Bus rides over winding country roads to and from school gave Ledford time and a vantage point for early observations: “fall foliage setting the mountains on fire, snowflakes spreading a blanket over Shewbird Mountain, and, during springtime, wildflowers and the dogwood trees washing the hillsides with wonder.”
She moved back to her beloved mountains after a brief period of “cultural shock” working as a clerktypist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. “I missed the beautiful mountains, my family and home,” she says. She became an elementary school teacher after receiving an M.A. from Western Carolina University and shared her love of poetry with her students.
History has been another passion throughout Ledford’s life and she has received the Paul Green Multimedia Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians ten times for her books, blogs and oral history collections. “Preserving the culture and history of Southern Appalachia is very important to me,” she says.
Her poetry has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Our State, Appalachian Heritage and many other literary journals and publications. “It’s my hope that everyone who loves nature and enjoys the culture of Southern Appalachia will relate to my writing about this region,” Ledford says.
Red Plank House, November, 2018, poetry, paperback, $14, by Brenda Kay Ledford, and published by Kelsay Books, American Fork, Utah. Find her history blog at HistoricalHayesville.blogspot.com.