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Blackberries, Blackberries Paperback – July 7, 2000

52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A self-described Black, country girl, Crystal E. Wilkinson grew up in rural Kentucky. She serves as the assistant director of the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, Kentucky. She is a charter member of the Affrilachian Poets, a group of performing African-American poets from the South, and serves as chair of the creative writing department for the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts. Her work has appeared in American literary magazines and journals.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Press (July 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902881346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902881348
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,468,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CRYSTAL WILKINSON is the author of Blackberries, Blackberries , winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and Water Street , a finalist for both the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Both books are published by Toby Press . She is also the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts and the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Scholarship Fund at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is the recent winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage Magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She currently teaches in and directs the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Morehead State University. She has also taught in the brief residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University and the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Indiana University--Bloomington. She and her partner Artist Ron Davis, are founders and editors of Mythium Literary Journal.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Blackberries, Blackberries is a fictional debut novel from Crystal Wilkinson. It's a compilation of short stories, about African American women who're struggling to survive in the rural South. Stories of hard-working women that we can identify with and experience their trials & tribulations, their laughter and happiness, and their sorrow and tears. Poignant stories about working woman, their relationships, their families, their children and their friends. Wilkinson's stories penetrate our bones and souls and leave an emotional impact long after we've read the last story. Most of the stories are told in a narrative format and it takes the reader several stories before they get into the flow and style of the author.
With that aside, the reader will enjoy that each story is different and unique and creatively crafted. There are 18 short stories in this 180 page book. Some of my favorite stories were Tipping The Scales a story about a woman who finds Mr. Right when she wasn't even looking; Mules about a young girl who confronts a predator and wins; Waiting on the Reaper about a lady who's young and now is old still waiting for ole man death; and Peace of Mind about a single mom who has a couple of weeks to herself from her 3 young sons who are away at summer camp. I really enjoyed Peace of Mind as it was one of the few stories that involved dialogue.
Wilkinson's stories come from the ordinary and the extraordinary. From black, country women with curious lives. From struggle, from fear, from love, from life, from the gut, from the heart. Black and juicy, just like a blackberry. If you enjoy short stories, stories that are matter-of-fact and told from a narrative perspective then check out Blackberries, Blackberries by Crystal E. Wilkinson.
Reviewed by Yasmin A. Coleman
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By fee-fee McLaughlin on May 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
'The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice' is a phrase that is certainly applicable to the nectar that flows from Blackberries, Blackberries.
The short stories of this succulent read are rich, sweet and satisfying. Though the tales are short, they last forever in your memory. After each bite, you'll find yourself saying, "aahhh", "mmm", and other expressions that signify that your appetite has been quenched.
Blackberries, Blackberries is a collection of short stories of beautiful Black, southern women whose ages range from 8-80. Each woman is as uniqe as the tale she serves readers. The stories are creatively seasoned with wisdom, humor, romance, and other flavors that awaken your senses. Wilkinson arrests your attention with vivid scenes, animate characters, soothing sounds and tantilizing scents that will have you going back for 'second helpings'. Don't panic when the images leap from the pages; they are designed to make you feel at home in Kentucky.
Some of the delicacies that had me returning for seconds include: "The Awakening", "Chocolate Divine", "Mine", "Women's Secrets", "Tipping the Scales", "The Wonderer", and "Need". Wilkinson has prepared a delicious feast of stories, and there is plenty for everyone. No sharing please!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book of short stories. Wilkinson has a great country dialect and appeal. She reminds me a great deal of another great short story writer, by the name of J. California Cooper. Her characters were real and compelling. Her first literary effort was great and definitely outstanding.

Ms. Wilkinson gave me the understanding and inspiration to complete my own work...hats off to this great author. I will forever cherish this book and I anxiously await her next project.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Strode on July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Crystal Wilkinson has managed to capture in this text a series of expressive, heartfelt, funny, sorrowful, sentient, and somber vignettes of life amongst folk in the wide open range and spread out places. The problems are the same, but there is a need for a community to draw together even with the distance of two counties between them.

Each story reads like a snapshot. It reminds me of visiting my Grammy Kathy or Great Aunt Ethel and looking through one of their photo albums where each picture had a weaving, winding, and interconnected story behind it that tied richly into every other picture.

Kathy and Ethel made ceramic figurines. So many ceramic figurines. Ethel had an entire addition onto her house filled with these magnificent creations. Each one carried a story or a sentiment filled within it. You could imagine that her library of ceramics were a million little pieces of her life that she was sought to give away before she passed. And give she did. Her and Kathy. Every time we or someone else would visit, they would leave with one of those ceramic figurines.

This series is a book of ceramics that makes you hearken back to your own stories that you carry from before your elder country folk became city folk and life got a little different than it was before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of short stories is told in a wonderful voice that sounds both black and Appalachian, which is no surprise as the stories are set in small town Kentucky with mostly African American characters. There are some real knock-out stories including "Waiting for the Reaper" about how a woman's life is colored by how she's always expecting/wanting to die and be with her loved ones. "Peace of Mind" is a monologue during one afternoon while a woman tries to have some time to herself and gets called by her ex husband and her kids and camp at her best friend while her lemonade melts; "Tipping the Scales" is a novel-in-miniature.
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