By Tim Peeler
The ghost town of Henry River is located in the southeast corner of Burke County in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. Built at the turn of the 20th Century, the village, as it is often called now, has been mostly deserted since the 1970’s when, soon after a change in ownership, the mill burned. The brick company store still stands along with twenty or so haggard rent houses that line State Road 1002 as it meanders uphill toward Interstate 40, a little over a mile away. In 2011, a film company chose Henry River as the location for the protagonist’s childhood home in the first Hunger Games movie. Interest in the site sky rocketed. Individuals and tour groups made the location a destination. What had been a popular spot for photographers and those with an interest in local and regional history now became a part of pop culture. The poems in this volume reflect on the historical Henry River with some reference to the intrusive forces of the film industry. Some are responses to photographs; others are based on stories that Henry River natives have shared with me, while some are sheer flights of fancy. All of them, however, share an empathy and reverence for those who lived and worked in Henry River. (continued below).