Jo Carson’s Books

Several of Jo Carson’s books are available through the excellent auspices of TCG:

Spider Speculations Jo Carson lays bare her personal investigation into her own creative process after a spider bite on her back begins a series of life-altering events. Spider Speculations applies cutting edge mind-body science, quantum physics and ancient shamanistic techniques to describe how stories work in our bodies and our lives, and what happens when real stories are used in a public way. Carson, whose ability to capture the spoken word hallmarks her community-based work, sets down this story in her own distinctive voice, interspersing the journey with examples of her performance work. This truly original American book will speak to anyone thinking about art and community or engaging with people’s stories.

Liars, Thieves and Other Sinners on the Bench  A uniquely American writer and performer, Jo Carson spent twenty years working with peoples’ stories in communities across the country, crafting more than thirty plays from the oral histories she collected. In performance, these works have illuminated and invigorated the communities in which they were forged, as the people see themselves onstage in a new light. This book collects Carson’s favorite excerpts from the plays—stories that range from the homespun to the extraordinary and together create a portrait of America in an amazing diversity and authenticity of voices. They are slices of life, passed beyond the circle of family and neighbors.

Jo’s plays for the Orchard at Alta Pass are available through Ohio University Press:

Teller Tales: What Sweet Lips Can Do & Men of Their Time  Following an oral tradition that has strong roots in her native Tennessee, Jo Carson invites the reader to participate in events in a way that no conventional history book can. Both stories in this book are set in East Tennessee in the mid-eighteenth century and share certain characters. The first narrative, “What Sweet Lips Can Do,” recounts the story of the Overmountain Men and the battle of King’s Mountain, a tide-turning battle in the American Revolution. “Men of Their Time” is an exploration of white-Cherokee relationships from early contact through the time of the Revolution.