Word Press has recently released Rick Mulkey’s latest book of poetry, “Toward Any Darkness.” The 80-page tome is his fourth book of poetry, and is available through bookstores or at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. Mulkey is director of Converse College’s Creative Writing program and also serves as associate professor of English.
In "Toward Any Darkness,” Mulkey takes the reader to his native Appalachia region of Virginia. In the California-based literary journal “Rattle,” Arthur McMaster writes “Few places in America lend themselves more readily to literature than Appalachia–her many stories, her many poems. Few poets give the reader a sense of place as clearly as does Rick Mulkey, who offers something to echo James Wright and his mother lode of woe leaching from Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. Besides abandoned factories, benign rat snakes and corn snakes, along with several fattened squirrels to periodically populate Mulkey’s poems, we find simple people living lives that are uncomplicated only on the surface. Going deeper, we are given to move with the poet into the darkness. Even when blackberry-picking, something foreboding awaits, their ‘camouflaged bodies coiled into throbbing knots.’ If ever a sense of doom lay upon a pastoral setting, ‘he wind hissing in the thicket’s leafy undertow,’ this is that place."
Since the release of “Toward Any Darkness,” Mulkey has been in demand as a guest reader throughout the country. In July, he participated in a reading and book signing in Wichita, KS Upcoming scheduled dates include Sept. 14 in Charleston, SC for the South Carolina Poetry Society; two readings in October at the River City Reading Festival in Lawrence, KS and at Wichita State University, and a Nov. 12 reading and workshop in Virginia at Bluefield College. In March, he will serve as visiting writer-in-residence at Michigan State University.
Mulkey is the author of three previous poetry books and chapbooks, including "Bluefield Breakdown" (2005) and "Before the Age of Reason" (1998). Among his awards are a Hawthornden Fellowship for a writing residency in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Charles Angoff Award from The Literary Review. He has taught creative writing and American literature at a number of colleges, universities and writing workshops.