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The Fiddler of Driskill Hill


100 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807151969 / October 2013
Deeply rooted in personal and regional history, David Middleton’s The Fiddler of Driskill Hill celebrates a particular place and the universal human experience. While evoking distinctive Louisiana landscapes, both north and south, these poems address the great philosophical and theological questions of the ages. In the title poem, a mysterious fiddler climbs Driskill Hill—the highest point of elevation in Louisiana—under the cover of darkness to practice his craft: “I sing what is and ought to be / And will until I die: // For that’s what bow and strings are for, / To raise things up in song / Between The Fall and Paradise / And urge the world along.”
Other poems contemplate loneliness and loss—a father mourning the death of his ten-year-old daughter, a soldier’s recollections of war, and a woman who, in bidding farewell to the only home she and her husband ever owned, says that she “Must walk one final time these rooms I share / With ghosts that speak and breathe in memory’s breathless air.” This collection reflects on the agrarian way of life, southern historical events, family, racial reconciliation, the relation between language and things, becoming and being a poet, and the experience of tragedy, death, and love.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, David Middleton served as professor of English, Poet-in-Residence, Distinguished Service Professor, Alcee Fortier Distinguished Professor, and head of the Department of Languages and Literature at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Currently professor emeritus of English at Nicholls, he lives in Thibodaux with his wife, Francine. He has one grown child, a daughter, Anna Marie Middleton Conrad.

Praise for The Fiddler of Driskill Hill

“Middleton is a poet who makes the local universal. . . . Middleton’s contribution to Louisiana literature has long been recognized. What is needed now is for his verse to be collected in a single volume, to give it the national audience it deserves.”—South Carolina Review

“[A] beautiful volume of poems. . . . A vivid, rich, and powerful portrait of its region that also aligns itself with the timeless and biblical understanding of humanity, creation, and the story of redemption. . . . The Fiddler of Driskill Hill is a masterful and beautiful tapestry of Louisiana life in the tradition of regional poetry.”—Modern Age

“[Middleton’s latest book, The Fiddler of Driskill Hill, is his third collection from Louisiana State University Press, following Beyond the Chandeleurs and The Burning Fields, and continues his mission of restoring gracefulness and melodicism to contemporary verse. It also happens to be the best collection of American poetry in many a moon.”—Randall Ivey, Abbeville Review

“For the reader looking for something a bit different, The Fiddler of Driskill Hill is a small volume that packs intense emotion in graceful verse. It is highly recommended for the thoughtful reader.”—Baton Rouge Advocate

“Quietly audacious. . . . The Fiddler of Driskill Hill is the finest of Middleton’s peerless collections of verse.”—Quarterly Conversations

“[This book] is a gorgeous work of formalism. And if you think nothing new can be achieved with traditional forms, then David Middleton is the man to challenge that notion. . . . We at Image tend to agree with poet Catherine Savage Bosman: ‘Middleton’s contribution to American poetry cannot be doubted.’”—Image

“Throughout The Fiddler of Driskill Hill David Middleton fearlessly embraces a formalism and a spiritual conceit from an earlier time that, ironically, seem here very fresh and new.”—Rita Quillen, Anglican Theological Review

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