By Jo Carson
“Jo Carson is one of the nation’s premier playwrights and storytellers. Her roots as a writer reach back to the American traditional narrative styles, and her dramatic works drawn from American frontier history are brilliant in their originality.”
Gurney Norman, author of Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories
“Jo Carson is one of Appalachia’s most gifted and original playwrights.”
Journal of Appalachian Studies
“Carson deftly leads the Teller Tales audience through the thicket, occasionally and suddenly bringing us out into a linguistic clearing before plunging us back into the laurel. This narrative inventiveness makes reading Teller Tales an exhilarating experience.”
“This work is not a standard history text. Instead, it is an engaging, almost poetic, pair of narratives that relate historic events told as though the reader is a guest at a kitchen table. Perfect as an easy supplemental read for high school or college history classes, or for any history buff.”
Jill Oxendine, managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Appalachia
“All my work fits in my mouth,” Jo Carson says. “I write performance material no matter what else the pieces get called, and whether they are for my voice or other characters’ voices … they are first to be spoken aloud.” Following an oral tradition that has strong roots in her native Tennessee, the author of Teller Tales invites the reader to participate in events in a way that no conventional history book can.
Both stories in this book are set in East Tennessee in the mid-eighteenth century and share certain characters. The first narrative, “What Sweet Lips Can Do,” recounts the story of the Overmountain Men and the battle of King’s Mountain, a tide-turning battle in the American Revolution. “Men of Their Time” is an exploration of white-Cherokee relationships from early contact through the time of the Revolution.
Although not well known to the outside world, the stories recounted in Teller Tales are cornerstones in the heritage of the Appalachian region and of American history. In ways that will appeal to young and old alike, Jo Carson’s irreverent telling will broaden the audience and the understanding for the stories of native Americans, settlers, explorers, and revolutionaries of early America.
Jo Carson is a writer and performer from Johnson City, Tennessee. She is the author of The Last of the “Waltz Across Texas” and Other Stories, Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet, and Spider Speculations.
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Traditionally, the legends, myth-cycles, tales, rituals, songs and poems of Native Americans (both North and South) have been treated as ethnological data or as curious objects. William Brandon believes that the songs and poems in this volume will, in time, be accepted as representatives of one of the world’s great literatures.
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