Robert Morgan: From the Wilderness Road to the Underground Railroad
So much American history is the story of trails, roads, and traces. In the 18th century, the way to the West and to the future was Boone’s Trace through Cumberland Gap, later known as the Wilderness Road. Hacked by Boone and his crew in 1775, the Wilderness Road became the gateway into Kentucky, the Ohio Valley, and the settlement of the interior of the continent. In the next century, the most important route for those in bondage in the South was the way north, often called the Underground Railroad. Both roads helped define the future of the United States, leading to our present world.
Robert Morgan is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently Terroir, 2011, and a collection of new poems, Dark Energy, published in 2015. He has also published nine volumes of fiction, including Gap Creek, a New York Times bestseller. A sequel to Gap Creek, The Road from Gap Creek, was published in 2013 and received the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. A new novel, Chasing the North Star, was published in 2016. In addition, he is the author of three nonfiction books, Good Measure: Essays, Interviews, and Notes on Poetry; Boone: A Biography; and Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion, 2011. He has been awarded the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Academy Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2013 he received the History Award Medal from the DAR. His first play, Homemade Yankees, was awarded the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance John Cullum Drama Prize. Recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Arts Council, and an O. Henry short story award, he has served as visiting writer at Davidson College, Furman, Duke, Appalachian State, and East Carolina universities. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. Born in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 1944, he has taught since 1971 at Cornell University, where he is Kappa Alpha Professor of English.
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