Introduction

Will Kaufman, Darryl Holter

Abstract


Welcome to the launch issue of the Woody Guthrie Annual, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to scholarship on Woody Guthrie and his world. Guthrie’s most famous song, “This Land is Your Land,” features a second verse that begins: “As I went walking that ribbon of highway / And saw above me that endless skyway ….” The “ribbon of highway” — the image of a two-lane asphalt road meandering off into the horizon, pointing to adventure and a new future— is a point of entry into Guthrie’s uniquely peripatetic approach to life, his inquiring mind and wandering ways, the hard-traveling, cross-country, hitch-hiking, train-hopping jaunts that provided material for his writings and songs, the unsettledness of his personal life, and the absence of a stable home or home-life during much of his professional career. Carrying Guthrie from Okemah, Oklahoma to Pampa, Texas, and then on to Los Angeles, Oregon, New York, Coney Island, and, eventually, to Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, the “ribbon of highway” provides a shifting setting for his experiences, just as it provides a metaphor for the scholarship that has emerged and has yet to emerge, leading to … who knows where?

Keywords


Woody Guthrie; introduction; open access; scholarship; demystification

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