Content Tagged ‘Charles Allen Smart’

1st review of my book

March 29, 2014 | 16 Comments

A true farmer & a good writer

December 4, 2013 | 14 Comments

During the years I worked on Shepherd: A Memoir, I learned that literary folk interested in country matters wanted to know my agrarian pedigree was pure. Maybe that I had one. Those early draft-readers wanted assurance that I’d read Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson. At first this irked me. Sure, I knew their work. Their writings on agriculture and American society have informed my thinking from early adulthood; Berry’s Jayber Crow is one of my all-time favorite novels.

But why was it crucial that I let readers of my story know that?

From the start, Shepherd explored my boyhood hero worship of Ohio farm memoirist Louis Bromfield; and my being influenced as a practitioner by Bromfield’s more pragmatic eco-farming successor, Joel Salatin; and my discovery of Charles Allen Smart’s classic memoir, RFD, set in the same region where I ended up struggling to become a farmer. Plus my day job was in publishing, so there was plenty more about books in my memoir.

I finally decided that concerns about my literary lineage were a kind of backhanded praise. As if those readers were saying, “This book is by a writer, not just some farmer.” So I dutifully mentioned Berry and Jackson.

Now it strikes me as odd that nobody mentioned E.B. White.

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true farmer and a good writer. White was both.

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Daydreaming, attitude & audience

September 15, 2009 | 2 Comments

Charles Allen Smart (1904–1967), author of eleven books of fiction, memoir, philosophy, and biography, was best known for RFD, his 1938 bestseller about returning to the land on his family’s ancestral farm. After his service in WW II, depicted in his memoir The Long Watch, he became writer in residence at Ohio University, the press of which returned RFD to print in 1998 under its Swallow imprint and with a new Foreword by Gene Logsdon. Smart’s thoughts, below, on the …

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