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About the Author: Joseph Bathanti

Joseph Bathanti was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates. Bathanti is the author of four books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; and This Metal, which was nominated for The National Book Award. His first novel, East Liberty, winner of the Carolina Novel Award, was published in 2001. His latest novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. Most recently, his collection of short stories, The High Heart, winner of the 2006 Spokane Prize, was published by Eastern Washington University Press in 2007. He is the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council; The Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; the Linda Flowers Prize; the Sherwood Anderson Award, the 2007 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize; and others. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. On August 30, 2012, Joseph was named Poet Laureate of North Carolina.

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Goodreads rating: 4.24

Paperback, Published in Nov 2007 by Eastern Washington University Press

ISBN10: 1597660337 | ISBN13: 9781597660334

Page count: 199

The beautiful linked stories in Joseph Bathanti's award-winning collection, The High Heart, bring us an ensemble of heartbreakingly vivid characters, headed by the young Fritz Sweeny and his volatile and eccentric parents, all of them caught in a weir of desperation, frustration, hilarity, confusion, and deep affection. The setting is Pittsburgh in the sixties and seventies, when the city still lay in the trough of industrial collapse, when the boundaries of long-established ethnic neighborhoods had begun to blur and bend against the pressures of economically driven population shifts, when Vietnam was gobbling up the children of a whole generation. Through the painfully honest perplexity of Fritz, we are afforded a clear view of the family, the neighborhood, the city, and the era. In the deftness of their portraiture and dialogue and in the depth of their compassion for the nearly lost, these stories invite comparisons with the writing of Nelson Algren, Fred Pfeil, and Kurt Vonnegut. And their loving invocation of a particular city, warts and all, will recall for lovers of American fiction the magnificent Albany novels of William Kennedy.

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