The History of Tree Roots

Phillip Howerton (Author) Adam Davis (Preface by)


Although these poems are informed by a lifetime of living in the Ozarks, readers will not find the over-wrought sentimentality, tired stereotypes, or visions of an indestructible, primeval wilderness that have too often colored writing set in this region. Instead, these poems recognize the attributes and faults of the past and present, challenge the clichéd representations of place, and engage the experiences of small and independent farmers--a group largely ignored in depictions of the region. These poems also move beyond the Ozarks by addressing a number of universal concerns, such as urban sprawl, the devaluation of manual labor, a diminished sense of place, the loss of small communities, and the fragility of the natural environment.

Product Details

Golden Antelope Press
Publish Date
November 09, 2015
5.5 X 0.23 X 8.5 inches | 0.31 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Phillip Howerton is professor of English at Missouri State University-West Plains. His essays, reviews, and poems have appeared in numerous journals and books, such as American History through Literature, Arkansas Review, Big Muddy, Christian Science Monitor, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Midwest Quarterly, Red Rock Review, Slant, and Writers of the American Renaissance. He is a co-founder and poetry editor of Cave Region Review and general editor of Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies. His poetry collection, The History of Tree Roots, was published by Golden Antelope Press in 2015, and his The Literature of the Ozarks: An Anthology was published by University of Arkansas Press in 2019, a project for which he received the Missouri Literary Award from the Missouri Library Association.

Adam Davis, senior research and teaching associate at the Project on Civic Reflection, is coeditor of The Civically Engaged Reader: A Diverse Collection of Short and Provocative Readings on Civic Activity and Talking Service: Readings for Civic Reflection.


"The poems of Phil Howerton are quiet, witty, and sly, their images drawn from the thin soil but rich cultural substance of the poet's native Ozarks. Time and again these poems challenge readers to see Ozarkers, particularly elderly Ozarkers, as something other than flat, cardboard clichés. Like fellow rural poet Ted Kooser, Howerton possesses a distinctive gift for metaphor, and his comparisons lure us into epiphanies that increase our appreciation of personal dignity, humility, and a thoughtful regard for the natural world. His is a welcome voice in the chorus of contemporary American poetry." Craig Albin, Editor Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies "Howerton's poems are important works of cultural preservation, yet their strength comes from their capacity to speak to experiences that move us beyond region toward the universal." Jeffery Hotz, Editor EAPSU Online: A Journal of Critical and Creative Work