Yearly Archives: 2015

Holler

I was walking to a friend’s house one evening along one of the few roads that jam here every Friday as people leave town, when a woman leaning out of a pickup truck stopped at the light and saw me and hollered, Where’s the closest bar or hotel? I turned…

Speaking of Lineage

Don’t mention the rest of us punched silent rivets in his cell walls, us proteins that rebar his brickface, that buttress his architecture now warm, now capable, now built of the junkyard dead. —Jaswinder Bolina It’s hard to wake in the morning to poverty and despair and not want to…

What Work Is

So up and down I sow them For lads like me to find, When I shall lie below them, A dead man out of mind. —A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, LXIII Randy’s father rattled the classified section and held the paper an arm’s length from his face, squinting as he…

Floods and Fires

Families will not be broken. Curse and expel them, send their children wandering, drown them in floods and fires, and old women will make songs of all these sorrows and sit on the porch and sing them on mild evenings. —Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping Hap Enders watched as Sheriff Huntley, who…

Jean Ritchie (1922-2015)

I first met Jean Ritchie about seventy years ago at Brasstown, North Carolina, where I grew up and where her sisters Mae and Edna were at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Just a few years later, as a foreign-lander-soldier, I found a copy of Singing Family of the Cumberlands…

Summer 2015 Editor’s Note

During their panel discussion titled “Voice Lessons” at the 2015 Appalachian Studies Association Conference, writers and teachers Darnell Arnoult, Karen Salyer McElmurray, Amanda Jo Runyon, and Jessie van Eerden offered their thoughts on voice in creative writing. They talked of the vital voices that have shaped their work over the…

Riding on Comets: A Memoir (Pleska)

Cat Pleska. Riding on Comets: A Memoir. Morgantown, W.Va.: Vandalia Press, 2015. 236 pages. Softcover. $16.99. If Cat Pleska is riding on comets, her family members are the constellations she observes on her journey. Descriptions of her father’s drinking, her mother’s depression, hospitalization and electroshock therapy, are juxtaposed against Christmas…

Hateful

my Granny said, her pleated velvet cheeks aquiver as we watched the battered Fords and coal trucks splatter gravel from the road above the porch. That’s one thing I can’t abide. I don’t remember who it was or what he did that made my Granny spit his name like chaw…