Kettle Bottom Background

Kettle Bottom Background

Published by Perugia Press in Massachusetts in 2004, Kettle Bottom is a collection of poems written by Diane Gilliam Fisher, focusing on the 1920 and 1921 West Virginia labor battles.

An author's note at the beginning of the collection explains the background of the conflicts: "Subsistence wages, the unwillingness of coal operators to slow production for safety reasons, their intransigence with regard to the rights of the miners to organize—these conditions made enemies of the miners and the operators. The situation was aggravated by the organization of life in the camps, which the companies controlled in every respect. Housing was owned by the company; trade was often limited to company-owned stores; the company brought in the doctor, often built the school and brought in the teacher, built the church and supplied the preacher."

The collection is split into three sections: Summer - Fall, Raven Light, and Winter - Summer. The whole collection of 50 poems is meant to be read like prose, with the poems structured in chronological order.

Kettle Bottom was named Top Ten Poetry Book for 2005 by American Booksellers Association Book Sense. It also won the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year, was a finalist for the Weatherford Award of the Appalachian Studies Association. 

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