Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 by

Fugitive DaysGerald Duff is a writer, a professor, and he is also a collector. Over the years, he’s amassed an unusual collection of meetings with the Vanderbilt University poets known as the Fugitives.

In Fugitive Days, Duff recalls these chance encounters with such literary figures as Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Andrew Lytle. The Southwest Review originally published an earlier version of Fugitive Days and named it their “Prose Piece of the Week,” and now Fugitive Days is available from NewSouth Books in all ebook formats.

In his meetings with the poets, Duff finds the humanity in each — some approachable, some remote, some lost in the wilds of age or overshadowed by their own legends. Duff and his readers take away with them new understanding of what writers-as-fugitives gain and sacrifices in pursuit of their craft.

Rosanna Warren, author of Ghost in a Red Hat and daughter of Robert Penn Warren, called Fugitive Days “charming and quietly wise. [Duff] creates subtle portraits of complex individuals, including that complex individual, the author as pompous and eager Young Littérateur. And in many flicks of the pen he suggested the ideological worlds in which these men wrote and moved. Or in some cases, didn’t move.”

Vereen Bell, Professor of English at Vanderbilt, adds that “Duff’s entertaining, thoughtful, and beautifully written memory of his encounters with the Fugitive and Agrarian writers shows us that they were not a group but an association struggling to understand the South from widely different viewpoints. Duff’s essay enlightens, instructs, and amuses us wonderfully.”

Fugitive Days is available now for the Kindle, Nook, iPad, or from your favorite ebook store.