By Michael Dean Benton
Joseph Anthony is in the midst of a creative surge. In 2009, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College humanities professor authored Camden Blues, a short story collection put out by Wind Publishing. Earlier this year, Old Seventy Creek Press released his novel Pickering’s Mountain. Later this year, Wind will release Bluegrass Funeral, a collection of short stories/novellas about Central Kentucky. Not bad for a college professor with a 5-5 course load.
I had heard that Anthony’s most recent offering, Pickering’s Mountain, dealt with the issue of mountaintop removal in Eastern Kentucky, and so, with the Kentucky Rising protests of June 1-3 in Frankfort coming up, it seemed this was a good time to read it. I was rewarded in multiple ways: a rich, sensitive text, superb characters, and a keen eye for both the Eastern Kentucky landscape and the ethical complexities of the political issues that affect the communities that reside there.