Celebrating Miscellany and Myths at Barton

Wilson, N.C. – Please join the Barton College community to celebrate the publication of Dr. Jim Clark’s newest book, “Notions: A Jim Clark Miscellany” and the release of The Near Myths’ “Words to Burn,” his band’s latest CD. Sponsored by the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library and the College’s Department of English and Modern Languages, a reception and book signing will be held at the Willis N. Hackney Library this coming Tuesday, Feb. 26, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. A reading and performance by the author/musician is scheduled for 6 p.m. This event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

Clark, Barton College’s Elizabeth H. Jordan Professor of Southern Literature and writer-in-residence, continues to find time for writing and composing – even in the midst of an often-hectic teaching and advising schedule. “Notions: A Jim Clark Miscellany,” his third book to date, hit the shelves this past summer, and his band, “The Near Myths,” released their second album “Words to Burn” in January.

Clark describes “Notions: A Jim Clark Miscellany” as very different from his two earlier books. “Basically, in addition to the poems, I’ve written prose all along – short stories, scholarly pieces and, even lately, some writing in more of a memoir style,” Clark shared. “Most have been published in various magazines and journals, but until recently, I’d never thought about compiling my work. The more I considered it, I just really liked the idea of a collection that showcases all that you do – this book contains non-fiction, both scholarly and personal essays, short stories, a full length play and a selection of poems in addition to the CD single. It contains a little bit of all that I do. That’s why I call it a ‘Miscellany’ because it’s just all these different kinds of pieces. It took me a while to think about what I would include, and I did some rewriting of older pieces that I wanted to revise. I really worked on the arrangement, and I hope there is a certain amount of consistency and coherency about the whole collection.

“One of the things that interested me in the project, which I talk about a bit in the preface, is that a lot of the subject matter is kind of autobiographical, so in the poetry, the stories, and the non-fiction, I’m treating similar or same subject matter in different genres, and that really intrigued me.”

The variety of genres found in Clark’s “Miscellany” makes it appealing to many. There is something for every taste, and readers are soon spellbound by the descriptive language and colorful images of characters with whom they can relate or would want to meet. Jeff Daniel Marion’s forward for Clark’s book ends, “There’s a gracious plenty here, like dinner on the grounds at a family reunion, a real feast for the eyes and mind and heart.”

A bonus with the book is the CD single, “One Night Late,” that serves as a companion piece to one of Clark’s essays included in the compilation. “As much as I love music and also the writing of poetry, I do generally find song writing really difficult,” said Clark. “And, I don’t know why that is. I’ve written very few songs that I’m pleased with, and so this essay is kind of a meditation on the fact that I love music and I can play music and I love poetry and can write poetry, but combining the two, which should seem so natural, is hard for me.” The companion essay reflects on Clark’s process for writing this particular song. Clark, also an accomplished musician, plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica for “One Night Late,” while singing harmony with himself. Quite a feat for one man; however, he enlists the assistance of “tech wizard” and assistant professor of audio recording technology, Phil Valera, who plays bass on this track. Valera has handled the recording and mixing for most of Clark’s musical projects, including the earlier produced CD “Buried Land,” as well as two CDs for “The Near Myths” band.

Clark and close friends Katy Adams, Matthew Adams, Ben Greene, Bernadette Greene, and Terry “Teep” Phillips make up “The Near Myths” band, widely known for their eclectic style of folk rock, acoustic and pop music. They completed their first CD “Wilson” in 2005. The group remains intact with the exception of one member, Andy Oglesby, who passed away following a battle with cancer before the group completed the recording of “Words to Burn” in July 2006. The band honors his memory with the CD title, “Words to Burn,” named after a phrase from one of Oglesby’s songs. With 13 tracks, this second album offers a diverse mix of folk, rock and jazz, with a four-part harmony that delights the soul.

Copies of Dr. Clark’s books and CDs will be available for purchase at the event. For additional information, please contact Cynthia Collins at 252-399-6503 or email: cecollins@barton.edu.


Questions? Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-3099-6529 or email: kdaugehty@barton.edu.