Tina Barr

I have lived in a log cabin on the side of a mountain, in Black Mountain, North Carolina, since 2011. My life here, with bear, deer, copperheads, woodpeckers, with hundred-foot poplars, hickory and oak, feels very far from “civilization,” although we are close to the village of Black Mountain. The plateau on which the cabin was built in 1988, as a summer retreat, is cut out from the side of the mountain, so the windowless back of the cabin faces a cut-bank of clay and rock, out of which water runs in rivulets like an earthen waterfall.  The edge of the cutbank, which is 30 feet at its highest point, verges on the woods, and it’s a pathway for animals. I’ve had encounters with many bear cubs. I step outside the door if I can, to see them ten feet away, but stay inside when full grown bears appear. I am fairly skilled at killing copperheads, with the help of my husband. I grow onions, garlic, asparagus, sweet potatoes in raised beds. And I have months of daffodils in beds I built from rock along the upper driveway. For a short blog with photos go to this link

A lot of my recent poetry is based in this landscape, although it reaches outward in time and geography, since I have made a number of visits to places like Egypt and Istanbul. Before moving to Black Mountain, I directed the Creative Writing Program at Rhodes College, in Memphis, for over a decade, and was Charles R. Glover Chair of English Studies. Before Memphis, I lived in Philadelphia, where I earned a doctorate and a Master’s degree in literature from Temple University. I also taught private workshops, which I continue to do, on Zoom, and give tutorials by phone. I’ve taught consistently, in Black Mountain, for the University of North Carolina in Asheville’s Great Smokies Creative Writing Program. I love teaching and won teaching awards at both Temple University and Rhodes College. I grew up on the north shore of Long Island, New York, and spent summers on the rocky beaches of Cold Spring Harbor. I would go into New York by train, and lived in Manhattan after college at Sarah Lawrence, and during the time I earned an M.F.A. from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

In 2015 I co-founded The Shining Rock Poetry Anthology & Book Review, a free, online website which anthologizes poems, and I’ve solicited essays and articles from many well-known poets.