“A Sonnet for the Spoils” poem

Ted Kendrick recently wrote a poem, “A Sonnet for the Spoils” after a day spent cleaning up the grandparents’ farmhouse in Prattville, Alabama which was built in the late 1970s, but has not been lived in for several years. Continued cleaning has been an endeavor, but there were several poetic elements from the day which were arranged in the following piece. Find the poem embedded below via Instagram:

The farmhouse is still beautiful, even though it’s no longer in its heyday. You can see various spots on the property that were loved by the extended Kendrick family, but have now rusted in age, like the basketball net over the grass or the loveseat swing. To aid in the poem visual, check out some photos taken on the cleaning day.

Woods & Wilds Storytelling and Music Festival // poetry finalist

In November, my original poem “Tender Apocalypse” was selected as a finalist in the Dogwood Alliance’s Woods & Wilds Storytelling and Music Festival flash fiction contest. The top three finalists read their works aloud at the festival while the Asheville Grit published the works online. I was honored to have my work selected for a festival that promotes such a worthy cause like forest conservation.

Writing  “Tender Apocalypse” was therapeutic as it allowed me to process the devastating emotions I felt regarding the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. On the morning of election day, Asheville was covered in smoke from the wildfires in both Rutherford County and the Nantahala. The air was thick, hard to breathe, and needless to say, the atmosphere felt immensely apocalyptic.

My old friend Scot Langland is a studying poet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is earning his masters in Literature. He was a huge help in the editing and refinement of this piece, which you can read in full below.

Tender Apocalypse
by Ted Kendrick

Apocalyptic ash was in the air on Tuesday November 8th.
At first I thought it was just the atmosphere of anxiety
Created by the uncertainty of the Presidential election,
But as the ballots trickled in, the haze still remained
And I discovered that my countrymen were arsonists.

In the East, near the Rumbling Bald in Rutherford,
Lake Lure was lit by the Dirty Dancing of wildfire.
Flames spread across seven thousand acres of forest,
Blamed on the debris falling below the Party Rock.
A warning, perhaps, not to blindly toe the party line.

In the West, among the shade of the Nantahala gorge,
The Land of the Noonday Sun became a roaring Inferno.
Amid campaign trail vows to ‘Make America Great Again’
Adventurers on the Appalachian Trail were warned away
And much of the Great Smoky Mountains was closed.

Smoke still filled the air on Wednesday November 9th.
Not only was the city of Asheville enshrouded by smog,
But the entire country was faced with the sudden promise
That the drought would continue for another four years
And some folks might admit they prefer it that way.

LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN TENNESSEE // feature script

At the end of November, I shipped an 86 page screenplay entitled LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN TENNESSEE for Channel 70 Productions’ consideration to purchase. Channel 70 Productions is based in Brevard, NC and ran by filmmaker Norm Brooks. In mid-October, Channel 70 put out a call for feature screenplays written by local writers to be used in a production intended for the festival circuit.

I wrote LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN TENNESSEE in the fall of 2013 for a Screenwriting course at UNC Asheville, and it has just been gathering dust in my archives ever since. Unfortunately I only had a PDF on file, so in order to give it another editing pass, I undertook the task of reformatting the script into my writing software. I use a mix of Final Draft 9, Google Docs, and Celtx, depending on the purpose.

LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN TENNESSEE was based on true events that occurred in Cumberland County, Tennessee that same year. Three teenage boys and a young mother were found shot dead in a car with no explanation as to why. The story captivated me with speculation, and informed my schoolwork that semester when I decided to embellish the circumstances by relating the fictionalized events of the previous month leading up to the tragedy itself in the form of a teen drama.

The script is still under consideration, though happy to share upon request. LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN TENNESSEE receives its name as a reference to the poem “Anecdote of the Jar” by Wallace Stevens, shared below via Poetry Foundation:

Anecdote of the Jar
by Wallace Stevens

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.