David Middleton is professor emeritus of English at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. His books of verse — all published by LSU Press — include The Burning Fields (1991), Beyond the Chandeleurs (1999), The Habitual Peacefulness of Gruchy: Poems After Pictures by Jean-François Millet (2005) and The Fiddler of Driskill Hill (2013). Middleton’s verse has appeared in The Southern Review, the Sewanee Review and elsewhere. He is the poetry editor for The Classical Outlook and Modern Age.
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The Fiddler of Driskill Hill
Deeply rooted in personal and regional history, David Middleton’s The Fiddler of Driskill Hill celebrates a particular place and the universal human experience. While evoking distinctive Louisiana landscapes, both northern and southern, Middleton’s poems address the great philosophical and theological questions of the ages. In the title poem, a mysterious fiddler climbs Driskill Hill — the highest point of elevation in Louisiana — under the cover of darkness to practice his craft: “I sing what is and ought to be / And will until I die: / For that's what bow and strings are for, / To raise things up in song / Between The Fall and Paradise / And urge the world along.”
Other poems contemplate loneliness and loss — a father mourning the death of his 10-year-old daughter, a soldier’s recollections of war and a woman who, in bidding farewell to the only home she and her husband ever owned, says that she “Must walk one final time these rooms I share / With ghosts that speak and breathe in memory's breathless air.” This collection reflects on the agrarian way of life; Southern historical events; family; racial reconciliation; the relation between language and things; becoming and being a poet and the experience of tragedy, death and love.
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