Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, August 27, 2010

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Impressions of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Okay it's August 27th, 2010.

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall discusses some of her earliest impressions of Kentucky when she was a child and how those impressions changed when she came back to Kentucky as an adult.

Keywords: Families; Family; Farmers; Farms; Grandparents; Magical; Sadieville (Ky.)

Subjects: Chicago (Ill.); Childhood; Family farms; Family--history; Florida; Horse farms; Kentucky; Race discrimination.; Racism

GPS: Sadieville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.391667, -84.535556
00:11:47 - Origin of writer identity

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Partial Transcript: Um, about--you mentioned in that interview, the 1998 interview, um, that you became really seriously interested in writing when you were in college and I want--would you talk about how that happened?

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall discusses how she became a writer and some the influences in her life that shaped her writing and her style.

Keywords: Andrew Nelson Lytle; Colleges; Schools; Teachers

Subjects: Authors.; Childhood; Education, Higher; Gender issues; Moral conditions; Sexism and literature; Women and literature.; Writing

GPS: Wesleyan University
Map Coordinates: 41.55562, -72.655844
00:22:35 - Andrew Nelson Lytle

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Partial Transcript: Did you, you, um--your first sub--story was published in the Sewanee Review, you mentioned. Was that while Lytle was editing it?

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall discusses her relationship with Andrew Nelson Lytle and what her impressions of him were.

Keywords: Andrew Nelson Lytle; Farms; Fellowships; Publishing

Subjects: Agrarians (Group of writers); Communists; Farm life.; Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.); Lytle, Andrew Nelson, 1902-1995; Racism; United States--Race relations.

00:30:05 - Drama, voice, and relations to writing

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Partial Transcript: I, I was wondering d--you, you were interested in drama and being an, an actress and you talked about how you had gone to, to Columbia with the idea in mind that you would, you would pursue that and...

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall discusses her interest in drama and how she considered it as a career. She talks about how drama, along with voice, influence the way that she begins writing and how both of those aspects of writing are currently affecting her writing.

Keywords: Acting; Characters; Theater; Theatre; Voices; Writings

Subjects: Authors.; Drama.; Writing

00:46:33 - Influences of family history on work

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, I don't, I don't wanna a, ask you to talk about that either but I, uh--there's--was one question that stood out from just listening to your last interview...

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall briefly discusses the artistic inclinations of several of her family members, especially focusing on her mother.

Keywords: Mothers

Subjects: Artists; Authors.; Families.; Gender issues; Writing

00:50:19 - Gender issues

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Partial Transcript: I guess I, I just, I--since the, the issue of gender, um, is so persistent in, in your work and, and persistent concern, um, just in your, in your life...

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall discusses how gender identity and gender equality have shaped her personal opinions and have shaped the topics she writes about.

Keywords: Andrew Nelson Lytle; Porter; Reads; Rights; Women; Writers

Subjects: Authors.; Berry, Wendell, 1934-; Faulkner, William, 1897-1962; Feminism; Fiction.; Gender; Gender issues; Kentucky; Women and literature.; Women political activists

00:59:41 - Agrarian writing and lifestyle

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Partial Transcript: Did, did, uh, when you were at the University of Florida and you were studying with Lytle, was he kind of, um, impressing on you and other students in a way the, the kind of message of, of coming--

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall talks about how she developed her agrarian insights and how she ended up settling down on a farm in Kentucky.

Keywords: Andrew Nelson Lytle; Classrooms; Gardens; James; Marriage; Mothers; Writings

Subjects: Gardening; Kentucky; Social movements--United States; Sustainability.

01:12:51 - Writing from Kentucky / Wendell Berry

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Partial Transcript: When did you, um, encounter Wendell's, um, work then? Was that close to the time that you had--

Segment Synopsis: Taylor-Hall discusses how living in Kentucky is important to her personally but that it has little impact on her writing. At the beginning and at the end of this segment, the influence of Wendell Berry on her writing is addressed but Taylor-Hall claims he has had very little influence on her writing.

Keywords: Gardens; Homes; Places; Voices; Worlds; Writings

Subjects: Authors.; Berry, Wendell, 1934-; Chicago (Ill.); England; Fiction.; Florida; Gardening; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); New York (N.Y.); Place attachment

01:36:22 - Activism writings

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Partial Transcript: Well another kind of place-based question that I had while reviewing the last interview is that you had, you had mentioned...

Segment Synopsis: In this final segment, Taylor-Hall discusses how her personal connection with Kentucky has led her to write on political topics. Her love of the land and her anger over what people are doing to the land drive her to write on the conditions in the Appalachian area.

Keywords: Apart; Bobbie Ann Mason; Falling

Subjects: Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Ethics.; Moral conditions; Mountaintop removal mining--Appalachian region--fiction; Rural conditions; Women political activists