Ethan Mannon

Ethan Mannon
Ethan Mannon lives in the mountains of Tennessee with his wife and children. He is an Associate Professor of English at Mars Hill University, where he teaches American and Appalachian Literature, as well as composition. He is the Director of the MHU Honors Program and one of the founders of the MHU Heritage Garden. His recent book, The Georgic Mode in Twentieth-Century American Literature: The Satisfactions of Soil and Sweat (Lexington Books, 2024), includes a chapter about honey bees.

Recent Essays

Cornmeal and Butter: On the Significance of Temperature

At all hours of the day and night in the Mannon house, you’ll find butter in its designated dish on the dinner table and cornmeal in the fridge. I hold strong beliefs about these two points of culinary geography.

Heating with Wood as a Habit of Mind

I enjoy certain utilitarian advantages by heating with wood, but I also prefer the habits of mind—attention, connection, succession, frugality—that my woodpile’s growth and contraction inspires.

More of the Familiar in Wendell Berry’s How It Went

He has never chased the new or tried to be avant-garde. Even in the physical act of writing, he has famously resisted the “advantages” of a personal computer and has opted instead to continue using the older technologies of pencil and paper. Though How It Went is technically a new book from Berry, the stories are pleasingly familiar.

The Growing Pains of a Small Farm: Kristin Kimball’s Good Husbandry and “The Problem of Scale”

In some ways Good Husbandry stands as a kind of bildungsroman for Essex Farm and, by extension, the support-your-local-farmer movement.

In Defense of Okra

I doubt okra tops many people’s list of garden must-haves, which is a shame since it is such a determined grower. Gardens are only guaranteed to produce one thing year in and year out: humility.

Wholeness and Gratitude: Working through Scott H. Moore’s How to Burn a Goat

Moore insists that his book about farming is not exclusively about rural places: “the point is not even about farming . . . most of what I’ve said in this book is equally applicable to work in the office, factory, classroom, or home." Moore argues that in each of these locations, the human experience begins and ends with gratitude.

The Dirt on Resilience

I have come down with a severe case of confirmation bias. I count myself as one of those who believe that contact with the earth...

Resisting Romanticism and the Elision of Labor

I thus find myself in the odd position of resisting romanticism while, nevertheless, hoping that future conditions will create that temptation.

Take a Hike? (I Would Prefer Not To)

My grandfathers’ lives had a greater degree of integrity than mine. By integrity I do not mean the suggestion of morality and righteousness frequently...

Cultivating the Candy Roaster: An Extensive Pleasure

In the spring of this year, some students and I created a modest Heritage Garden—420 square feet of raised beds built from two-by-twelves and...

America’s Regional Fences

Robert Frost begins one of his best known poems by stating, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” The New England poet is...

Conservation by the Yard

I begin with a proposition adapted from Wendell Berry—namely, that mowing is an ecological act. Mowing extends the perennial drama of photosynthesis and carbon...