Poetry, chapbook, 28 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
Navigating the complex, creative, gorgeous, and often smothering culture of Appalachia, where she has spent the majority of her life, Amelia M. Schroeder pens a searing reconstruction of formative memories and their lasting imprints. Hillbilly Pillory reads as part memoir and part sociological commentary. Throughout the chapbook, Schroeder explores tethers to ancestors known and unknown, themes of mortality, high-control religion, and coming-of-age as a weird kid in a small town.
With a sagacity beyond her years, Schroeder’s pointed and sometimes self-deprecating writing combines teenage angst with references that only an octogenarian could truly understand. Through portraits of family members, locals, herself, and even wildlife, Schroeder aligns vignettes until it may seem that an entire community, old and young, bleeds together and speaks out. Ultimately, it is a journey centered around taking ownership of place, knowing when to return or not after finding your way out, of testing connections and finding self amidst the most backwards of institutions. Opening herself to pillory, Schroeder knows that deep down she is, and probably always will be, hill people.
Hillbilly Pillory is Amelia M. Schroeder’s debut chapbook; more work may be found in the Dark City Poets Society Anthology Volume 1. She was also published in two editions of Pulse literary annual by Marietta College, back when she was embarrassed by being a nerd.