More About the Author
I live in Maryville, Tennessee and teach creative writing, journalism, and literature at Maryville College. My third book, "Liminal Zones: Where Lakes End and Rivers Begin," was published in May 2013 (University of Tennessee Press). In it I embark alone (until the last few chapters) upon a series of upstream quests on lakes to the place where the rivers that feed them reassert their current, what I call liminal zones, transitional places that are sometimes strangely beautiful, offering contrasts between the artificial (dammed lakes) and the natural (free-flowing rivers). I include several lakes and rivers in the southeast, including the Tellico, Lake Cumberland/the Big South Fork, Summersville Lake/the Gauley, Waterville Lake/the Pigeon, and Fontana Lake/the Nantahala, but I also travel on waters across the country, including Oregon's Rogue River (where I nearly drowned), Colorado's Dolores River, Indiana's Tippecanoe, Montana's Clearwater, and Missouri's James. In the book I'm interested in documenting the visible differences between still water and moving water, including how each affects us differently, and I also explore landscape aesthetics, investigating, for example, why we preserve and protect some places and allow others to be developed. What is it about those places that seem to inspire us spiritually, that make us want to return to them repeatedly?
Here's an excerpt from a recent review by Ralph Bowden: ""Trevathan chronicles his kayak and canoe journeys upstream from flatwater, current-less lakes and reservoirs to places where rivers rise above the flooding and come alive. It's an elastic theme, allowing Trevathan, an assistant professor of writing at Maryville College, to range over a variety of writing types, from a straightforward, journal-style narrative to passages of both lyrical and gritty description, not only of the landscape but also of the people he encounters: campers, fishermen, river guides, and bystanders."
My second book, "Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland," was published by the University of Tennessee Press in May 2006. It tells the story of my 700-mile trip from Harlan, Kentucky, through Nashville, to the Ohio River in Western Kentucky. Photographer Randy Russell accompanied me in the bow of the canoe and received much criticism from the stern concerning his paddling technique and his off-key singing of 'today's country' songs. His photographs, however, were excellent. My first book, "Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water," was published by UT Press in 2001. It recounts another ill-advised canoe trip, this one down a 652-mile river whose current had been stilled by TVA's nine dams, resulting in canoe-unfriendly lakes turbulent with the wakes of cabin cruisers, jet skis, and supercharged bass boats. I took along my unsuspecting but loyal dog, Jasper, for company and protection.
I have published fiction in New Millennium Writings (winner of the Spring 1999 contest), the Texas Review, New Delta Review, the Distillery, and the anthology, "Walking on Water and Other Stories." I have published essays in The Distillery, The Florida Review, the KWG anothology "Migrants and Stowaways," Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, and Under the Sun.
I spent much of my youth traveling from university to university to see the country and avoid getting a real job. I have a masters degree in English from the University of Illinois; a masters in journalism from the University of Wyoming; and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama.
When I'm not writing or teaching, I like to canoe, hike, play tennis, and nap.