HERE'S HOPING: "Almost everybody in the book is a decent human being doing the best they can," says Ron Rash of his new novel, Above the Waterfall, his most optimistic book to date. Interestingly, despite more than a dozen drafts to fine-tune the language, Rash says he never rereads his own novels after publication.

Ron Rash’s new novel offers poetry, optimism

This sentence appears in the preface to Above the Waterfall, the newest novel by Ron Rash: “I watch last light lift off level land.” It’s just one of thousands of slight, deftly crafted lines. But there, before the story even begins, Rash slows the pace and announces himself, not just as a craftsman of rich, dark Southern fiction but also as a poet. He’ll present the novel at Malaprop’s on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

NEW EDITION: A-B Tech's student literary journal The Rhapsodist is now in its fourth year. “It was a resource for me to recognize that the arts could be valued,” says Grey LaJoie, second from right, one of this year's editors.

AB Tech’s Rhapsodist celebrates its fourth year of publicatio­n

There’s more to The Rhapsodist than just getting student submissions (and some faculty offerings) into print. Students who produce the journa learn layout and graphic design, dealing with printers and publicizing the magazine (including producing videos for airing on the A-B Tech student channel), among other things. And according to the students, the journal inspires dedication and commitment.