Novelist and former Kentucky poet laureate whose Appalachian-themed works include Hold April and Taps for Private Tussie. Over the course of his career, he also published nearly five hundred short stories.
He studied at both Lincoln Memorial University and Vanderbilt University.
His first novel, Trees of Heaven, exemplifies his rural thematic focus and linguistic sparseness.
He married Naomi Deane Norris, a schoolteacher, in 1939.
His work was influenced by the poetry of Walt Whitman.