Year of Publication



Arts and Sciences



Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Faculty Advisor

Julia Johnson


The Central Appalachian coalfields provide a rich culture to the American landscape, often shielded from outsiders to the region. While prevailing stereotypes of the region describe those living there as two-dimensional, the identity of Appalachia has always been complex— whether through the rich history with labor struggles, gender equality, or social progress. Finding one’s identity in a place that has been so strictly held to its stereotypical perceptions can be difficult. This creative project draws inspiration from my own experiences in Southeastern Kentucky as well as a myriad of stories collected through archival research in the Special Collections Research Center at the University of Kentucky as well as oral interviews provided by Appalachians in the community. These manifestations take the form of a chapbook entitled Appalachian Adolescence, a collection of poetry detailing the complexity of rural identity with special attention to the intersections of gender, labor, nature, and coming-of-age narratives. Included in the chapbook are previously published works as well as new works produced throughout my undergraduate career. Blending the experiences of regional history with a modern perspective brings forth an image of the Appalachian heritage as contemporary and artistic where other creative perceptions depict the region as archaic. By highlighting these stories in a creative work, Appalachian Adolescence aims to deconstruct monolithic narratives of the region and to inspire future Appalachian authors to write and live their truths.