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August 2019 Reviews

August 2019 Reviews



The Grandest Night Show by Gail McCoy-Hager Funsten. Mount Vernon, Ohio: Jewel Bug Publishing, 2019. 40 unnumbered pages with a Glossary and illustrated throughout by the author. Trade paperback, $12.95. Hardback, $17.95.

The characters of this beautiful and alluring children’s book are the narrator, a little girl, and her mama and papa. She lives deep in a holler in the mountains. Her father tells her that every day in the summer there is a night show, and she enjoys sitting still long enough to enjoy all the night sounds and sights in her holler. She has never seen a sunset because the sun goes down beneath the mountains that close in the holler long before the colors show. So she begs her papa to take her to the top of the mountain to see the grandest night show. The three of them walk to the top of the mountain, set up camp, and the sunset does, indeed, turn out to be the grandest night show she has ever seen. “Gail Funsten's amazing illustrations, with their light and dreamy feel, draw us into her special book, The Grandest Night Show. The story and the illustrations work together to convey the soul of the Appalachian Mountains and the love of a place, of a family, and a way of life. Both simple and profound, this book can be enjoyed by all ages.” - Rita Whitney. “Drawing from her own childhood, Gail Funsten invites her readers to a quiet summer evening in Appalachia. Slow your pace and join this family in the awe and wonder to be found in taking your time and following lights and paths together. A heartwarming story for all.” - Elizabeth Dark. The author/illustrator, Gail McCoy-Hager Funsten, is the sixth of fourteen children born in Matewan, West Virginia, and raised on Blackberry Creek in Pike County, Kentucky. She is a retired schoolteacher.


The Blackberry Bandit: A Mystery of the Dinky Hollow Friends by Lorie Hawk. Ashland, Kentucky: High Performance Computer Services, 2019. 36 unnumbered pages, illustrated profusely by the author. Trade paperback, $9.95.

This is the second in a series of three books. The first was published in 2017, and the last has yet to be published.  The Blackberry Bandit is a children’s picture book featuring only animal characters. The bandit is a raccoon who eats the berries that the other animals gathered for a festival, but when he realizes what he has done, he gathers even more berries for the festival rescheduled for the next day. When the other animals find him, he explains what happened and they become friends and enjoy the festival together. The author/illustrator, Lorie Hawk, lives in a small town in the foothills of the Appalachians.


The Wolf Crystal by Greg Lilly. Abingdon, Virginia: Cherokee McGee, L.L.C., 2019. 32 pages, illustrated profusely by Brian and Marie Bridgeforth.  Hardback with Pictorial Cover, $15.00.

Intended as Book 1 of a series, Tales of the Abingdon Wolves, this book tells the story of Abbi, a young wolf pup who recognizes the power of the wolf crystal and, when it is stolen, resolves to be the one who will retrieve it and save his pack and rebalance nature. The author, Greg Lilly, made the transition from writing technical manuals to writing mystery novels. He grew up in Bristol, Virginia, lived in Charlotte, North Carolina; Sedona, Arizona; Williamsburg, Virginia, and now resides in Abingdon, Virginia.


Apple-achian Treasure by P. D. Workman. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: self-published 2019. 251 pages. Trade paperback, 14.95

Set in the fictional Tennessee town of Bald Eagles Falls, this is book 8 of the Auntie Clem’s Bakery series. This book begins after the first Auntie Clem’s Bakery burns down and Erin’s half-sister, Charley, agrees to partner with her to reopen the bakery in a new location. When she reads about a secret treasure in her aunt’s papers, she cannot resist trying to find it, but will others learn of it also? P. D. Workman has been a writer since grade school, but her first book came out in 2015 followed by a flood of forty books! She was born and raised in Alberta.



Presbyterianism in West Virginia by Dennis Eldon Bills. New Martinsville, West Virginia: ReformingWV Publications, 2019. 217 pages with a Selected Bibliography, Appendices, maps, photos, and charts. Trade paperback, $11.99.

The author asserts that the first Presbyterian minister of West Virginia was Rev. Daniel McGill who preached in or near present-day Shepherdstown, and that the first Presbyterian Church, also believed to be the first church of any denomination west of the Alleghenies was the New Lebanon Church in Monroe County. From that starting point, this book follows Presbyterianism to the present day with chapters on Presbyterianism and the African-American Experience, Controversies, Schism, and Divisions, and other interesting topics. The author is an 8th generation West Virginian who is a minister in the New River Presbytery, a college educator, and a family law mediator.


The Captives of Abb’s Valley  by the Reverend James Moore Brown, revised, annotated and edited by Dennis Eldon Bills. New Martinsville, West Virginia: ReformingWV Publications, a 2019 edition of an 1854 release. 109 pages, with four unattributed illustrations from the original edition. Trade paperback, $7.99.

This reprints the original 1854 edition in its entirety, but also includes a biographical sketch of the author and several helpful footnotes and occasional additional material in brackets, plus some minor changes in organization. James Moore Brown, the original author, was a Presbyterian minister from West Virginia, and this is the story of the 1786 murders of his mother’s parents and siblings, and her kidnapping, exile, and eventual rescue from her Shawnee captors. The editor is an eighth generation West Virginian, the author of three books, a graduate of Bob Jones University and Covenant College with a DMin from Pittsburg Theological Seminary. 


Mountain Miles: A Memoir of Section Hiking the Southern Appalachian Trail by Mark Clegg. Jefferson, North Carolina: Toplight, 2019. 215 pages with an Index, Bibliography, Notes, maps and photos. Trade paperback, $19.99.

This book covers almost six years, the last years of the author’s 50s, and the lower 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee up to Damascus, Virginia. It combines stories about the author’s family forebears in the mountains with stories of fellow hikers he meets and observations on the challenges faced by mountain residents. The author works in financial services and owns an antique business, Raison de Retro, in Atlanta where he lives.


You Don’t Know Jack: A Storyteller Goes to School by Kevin D. Cordi. Jackson: The University Press of Mississippi, 2019. 222 pages with References and an Index. Trade paperback, $30.00.

The title has two associations.  One is an insulting way to call attention to another ignorance, and the other is the Jack of the Jack Tales, traditional tales that originated in Great Britain and were sustained for centuries deep in the Appalachian Mountains. This book illuminates both the Jack Tales, and ideas on overcoming ignorance. The author, Kevin D. Cordi, grew up in West Virginia, often regaled by traditional storytellers, including his own mother. For 27 years he has been a professional story-teller, for 11 years he taught high school, and now he is an education professor at Ohio Northern University. This book chronicles his path from a person who saw teaching and storytelling as separate endeavors to a person who has thought long and hard and in a very practical way about how best to integrate story-telling into the educational enterprise.  The Press places this book in three very often mutually exclusive categories: “folklore / performing arts / pedagogy.”


The Other Feud: William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in the Civil War by Philip Hatfield. Charleston, West Virginia: 35th Star Publishing, a revised third edition, 2019, of a 2011 release. 136 pages with an Index, References, Appendix, maps, photos and illustrations. Trade paperback, $11.95.

The author is the great-great-great grandson of Alec Hatfield a cousin of Devil Anse. He holds a PhD from Fielding University and is a member of the Company of Military Historians. This book emphasizes the relationships between the Civil War and the Hatfield-McCoy Feud and attempts to debunk several myths about those connections and the nature of Devil Anse’s service in the Confederate Army. It closely covers the years of the Civil War, 1861-1865, Reconstruction, and the relationships between these events and the Feud, 1863-1891.


The Changing Blue Ridge Mountains: Essays on Journeys Past and Present by Brent Martin. Charleston, South Carolina: History Press, 2019. 141 pages with a foreword by George Ellison, an index and photos. Trade paperback, $21.99.

Brent Martin and his wife, Angela Faye Martin run Alarka Institute, a nature, literary, and art-based business that offers workshops and field trips. The live in Cowee, North Carolina. He is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a non-fiction chapbook as well as a co-author - with Barbara Duncan and Thomas Rain Crowe  - of Every Breath Sings Mountains (2011). Martin is the author of all the dozen essays in this book, but they relate his journeys to the journeys of others who traveled the Blue Ridge Mountains, starting with William Bartram, the eighteenth century naturalist. “Read this beautifully written and thought-provoking book” – Charles Frazier. “I plan to give this collection to a few friends who will love it, and mail it to a few assholes who desperately need its salvation, wisdom, and light.” – John Lane. “Brent Martin . . . writes of wilderness and waterfalls and flowers and fish in prose both clear and passionate. In short, he’s both naturalist and poet. Treasure this collection.” – Wayne Caldwell.


Black Baseball’s Last Team Standing: The Birmingham Black Barons, 1919-1962 by William J. Plott. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2019. 345 pages with Index, Bibliography, Notes, Appendices, and photos. 7” X 10” trade paperback, $49.95.

The Birmingham Black Barons were one of the most prominent teams in baseball’s Negro League. Among their players were not only Negro League stars like “Mule” Suttles, but players who did eventually make the big leagues like Willie Mays and Satchel Paige, and players who gained fame on other fields, including Charlie Pride. They played in the last Negro League world series and barnstormed all over the U.S. and Canada.  This book, despite being thorough in an exemplary way, manages to be fascinating throughout. The author, William J. Plott, has been a member of the Negro Leagues Committee from the beginning as well as the Society for American Baseball Research since 1971. He lives in Montevallo, Alabama.


The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery edited by T. J. Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, a 2019 revised edition of a 1984 release. 248 pages with a new foreword by Sean Brock, a frontispiece photo of Aunt Arie cooking on her fireplace, an Index and many photos. 8” X 9” trade paperback. $24.00. Hardback in dust jacket. $39.95.

Although first published in 1984, the previous edition of this book was released in October of 1992. It was co-edited by Eliot Wigginton and Linda Garland Page. One month earlier, Linda Garland Page’s husband, Rabun County, Georgia, Sheriff Don Page, charged Eliot Wigginton with child molestation, and Wigginton pleaded guilty to one count of non-aggravated child molestation of a ten-year-old boy. Wigginton was given a one-year jail sentence and required to leave the Foxfire Project and the teaching profession. He moved to Jacksonville, Florida and set up a home landscaping business. Wigginton was born in 1942 in West Virginia. His mother died of pneumonia eleven days later. His father was a successful landscape architect. The family had a summer home in Rabun County, Georgia, which Eliot loved, and after earning both Bachelors and Master’s degrees from Cornell University and a second Masters from Johns Hopkins, he took a job as an English teacher at the Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School in Rabun County. At first frustrated by his students’ lack of interest in learning English basics, he hit upon the idea of their interviewing older family members and neighbors and publicly publishing those stories about the traditional Appalachian ways so that the students would want to write correctly and be proud of what they had written. It was an immediate success, largely due to the charisma of Aunt Arie, a woman who lived the old-fashioned ways without electricity up on the mountain, the whimsical craftsman, Kenny Runyan, and other fascinating local characters. Linda Garland was in Wigginton’s first cohort of Foxfire students. The Foxfire Magazine grew exponentially in circulation leading to the publication of the first of twelve numbered Foxfire Books, a best-seller, in 1972, along with several other books, including one on Aunt Arie. In 1977 Wigginton transferred his program to Rabun County High School. Not a penny of the profits from all the Foxfire books went to Wigginton, instead building up the Foxfire Fund which established the beautiful Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center on several acres of mountain land that now hosts an Annual Foxfire Mountaineer Festival. The Fund also created an outreach program for teachers all over the country. In 1986 Wigginton was named "Georgia Teacher of the Year" and in 1989 he was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Known to friends as “Wig,” Eliot Wigginton has that quintessential quality of a good writer – empathy. He pushed his student writers to consider what the reader would get out of their writing and to explain exactly what the reader would need to know to make what the people they were interviewing were making and do what they were doing. The students quickly picked up on that and the funny and fascinating sayings of the old people and spiced up their careful instructions in this fashion. This quality makes this cookbook both endearing and useful. This edition starts with Aunt Arie and a chapter on The Hearth following Aunt Arie’s methods of cooking both on her fireplace and her wood cook stove. Other chapters focus on where the ingredients come from – The Garden, The Springhouse, The Pasture, The Smokehouse, The Woods, The River, The Gristmill, The Syrup Shed – and ends with The Table. “If you're interested in real American cooking (not the media-hyped trend), spend time with the people in this wonderful book.”—Cuisine. “There are instructions for making bread in a Dutch oven (specifically over coals in the fireplace.) For pork, the authors note that Appalachians 'stand by their belief that virtually no part of the hog should be thrown away,'. . . . Although foraging and using imperfect vegetables and local food are popular concepts today, they've been a way of life for generations in many cultures. . . . Foxfire was one of the few books to describe how to make sausage from scratch."—The Salt. The editor, T. J. Smith is executive director of The Foxfire Fund and holds a PhD in folklore from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.


Ridge Running: A Memoir of Appalachia by Chris Wohlwend. Knoxville, Tennessee: Keystroke Press, 2019. 247 pages with photos. Trade paperback, $19.99.

By “ridge running” the author, who was born in 1945, means his adventures leaving his home town of Knoxville and running the ridges in his car to check out what was happening in the surrounding countryside. The book starts with some of the adventures of his parents, and then his ventures on a bicycle as a boy. It accelerates as he obtains his driver’s license. It follows his adventures until 1972 when, still in his twenties, and quitting his job at the Knoxville Journal – which provided ample opportunities for him to indulge in his ridge running high school habits - he leaves the Knoxville area first for Europe and then for a newspaper career in major American metropolitan markets. As a newspaper journalist Chris Wohlwend has a keen eye for the interesting human-interest story whether his subject is a Playboy bunny, a moonshiner, a preacher, a football hero or a cockfighter. “Chris Wohlwend’s memoir is a time-traveling joy ride through his singular vision of the South, one filled with colorful characters, dazzling storytelling and scenes that are at once gonzo and profound.” Drew Jubera.



Wish Me Home, West Virginia by Valerie Banfield. Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace, 2019. 323 pages. Trade paperback, $13.99.

Valerie Banfield is such a prolific author, recently of novels about her new home state of West Virginia, that in between writing with West Virginia native, Sue Copeland, she cannot resist penning her own single-author books. This novel starts in 1933 when Percy Bigler feels forced to leave his home in Elizabeth, West Virginia, to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He’s the kind of person that the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration created the CCC for – a hard-working man who can find no opportunities at home. But his CCC work takes him two thousand miles away from home, and his homesickness only increases as he learns more and more bad news from home.


West Virginia Crude by Valerie Banfield and Sue Copeland. Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace, 2018. 334 pages. Trade paperback with an unattributed frontispiece drawing, $13.99.

The Prologue to this novel is dated 1755 in the Kanawha River Valley of present-day West Virginia. Chapter 1 takes us to Walker, West Virginia in 1879. But then chapter 8 brings us to 1949. And then the chapters go back and forth from 1949 to the nineteenth century all the way up to 1913. To cap things off, there is a 1996 Epilogue. The word “crude” in the title refers to the oil industry, and much of the plot tension in the novel centers around the conflict between that industry and West Virginians who object to the environmental destruction that comes with it. Characters range widely in age, but much of the 1949 section of the book centers on a six-year-old, Billy Jean, who is determined to save her family from ruin. This is co-author Sue Copeland’s first foray into fiction, but Valerie Banfield is in double figures. Sue Copeland, a seamstress, is from West Virginia, and returned there after many years away. Valerie Banfield, a basket-maker, followed her interest in the Mountain State to residence there.


West Virginia High by Valerie Banfield and Sue Copeland. Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace, 2019. 341 pages. Trade paperback, $13.99.

This is the third book in the series by the co-authors. Again it goes back and forth in time and place, starting from 1968 in Vietnam and covering several years in the coalfields of Logan County, West Virginia, up to 2018. This novel has romance, between the Veteran, Greg Merrick, and Gina White, and deals with both positive and negative effects of drugs.


West Virginia Still by Valerie Banfield and Sue Copeland. Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace, 2018. 356 pages. Trade paperback, $13.99.

This is the second book in the series. It starts in 1929 with a character, Amos Kimble, who unlike the other books, is not from West Virginia, but from New York City. Fleeing from the stock market crash, he finds himself accidentally in Spencer, West Virginia.  The novel switches back and forth in time between the years starting with 1976 and the years following 1929, until towards the end, when other years crop up. The focus of 1976 is Lois Shaffer who has started work at the Spencer State Hospital. This allows the novel to explore the theme of mental illness.


Appalachian Tales: Ripples on the Etowah by Ernest Harben. Atlanta: self-published, 2019. Unnumbered pages, but over 300. Trade paperback. $7.99.

Ernest Harben grew up in North Georgia, the setting for this novel, and attended both Emory University and its School of Law. He now resides in Atlanta. His first book was Emory Class of 1964, a College Story. This is his second book and his first novel. The protagonist is a young man named Ben who is reconsidering his plans to go to college after a summer of deep involvement not only with the Etowah River near his home, but also with the people of the area.


The Falls of the Wyona by David Brendan Hopes. Pasadena, California: Red Hen Press, 2019. 203 pages. Trade paperback, $15.95.

This is the story of a high school football hero, Vince, and a new kid at school, Glen, and how their love or each other grows - solidified, and yet also threatened, by their love of nature and the river that flows near their Western North Carolina homes. It takes place immediately following World War II, when high school machismo was alluring and pervasive. “Dave Hopes grants us entry into the wondrous, highly charged world of young male friendship once upon a time. The setting is lovely and nostalgic. I wanted to know all about it, and I even wished I could live there. But there is trouble underneath, and there are things that just cannot happen. Until they do. A pitch-perfect exploration of the terrors and pleasures of American adolescence.”—David Pratt. “From its first lines, The Falls of the Wyona deftly, surely immerses the reader in its turbulent, inevitable flow . . .  with lines of lyric, almost maternal gentleness, lines that make one close one’s eyes and dream of better times ahead.—Ryka Aoki. The author, David Brandan Hopes is a poet, playwright, and painter who is currently Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. His plays have been produced in New York, London, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cincinnati.


The Boys Who Woke Up Early by A. D. Hopkins. Las Vegas, Nevada: Imbrifex Books, 2019. 256 pages. Hardback in dust jacket, $23.00.

It is 1959, and Stony Shelor is starting his junior year at Jubal Early High School in Western Virginia. Jack Newcomb is the new boy in school, and they soon form a close friendship and enjoy hanging around the local sheriff’s office as they fantasize about becoming private detectives. The fun and games take on a more ominous tone when they get in a gunfight with a local kid and when they become aware of the activities of the KKK, forcing them to wake up to the issues that for most high schoolers are submerged in their quest for coolness or survival. “A rollicking coming-of-age tale, shining a light on the not too distant past of the Jim Crow South. With his storyteller’s ear and reporter’s attention to detail, A.D. Hopkins has created poignant characters and a plotline to match” – Sally Denton. “Set in the small-town South he knows so well, Hopkins’s adventure story is filled with an authenticity of heart, a charming sense of humor, and important lessons in courage and friendship.” – John L. Smith.  The author, A.D. Hopkins, worked for newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada. This is his first novel.

Strings: The Story of Hope by Patricia Ann Ledford. Chattanooga, Tennessee: self-published, 2019. 314 pages. Hardback in dust jacket, $27.00.

In 1775, Richard Henderson, a land speculator from Charleston, South Carolina, signed the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals near present-day Elizabethton, Tennessee, to purchase most of Tennessee and Kentucky from the Cherokees. Dragging Canoe spoke out, unsuccessfully, against the sale which went through despite his opposition. He left with his supporters to establish the five lower towns of the Chickamaugas along the Tennessee River west of present-day Chattanooga. This novel begins in July of 1776 when Hope O’Connor is fifteen, and Dragging Canoe’s forces attack the settlement where she lives and the militia retaliates by destroying one of the lower towns. She flees on her horse, Isiah, unaware that a seventeen-year-old Chickamauga Indian, Maska, is also fleeing his burned-out village on foot. The author, Patricia Ann Ledford, grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee, and enjoyed a career in a variety of marketing activities. She has been living in Chattanooga since 2012. This is her first novel. It is set in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina where she has a cabin near Hot Springs.


Stray: A Novel by Greg Lilly. Abingdon, Virginia: Cherokee McGee L.L.C., 2019. 246 pages. Hardback in dust jacket, $24.95.

The protagonist of this novel is Taliesin MacGuire. The mystery is why his father, Finn McGuire, known in Southwest Virginia as a shapeshifter, left thirty years ago and never returned. Taliesin promises his grandmother that he will find out. "Greg Lilly's entertaining tragedy starts with a threesome in Bristol and ends with a dead body in the water off the coast of the Outer Banks. I enjoyed this Irish tale part detective story and part thriller. Lilly kept me entertained throughout and had me hurrying to get to the last page." - William J. Torgerson. The author, Greg Lilly, made the transition from writing technical manuals to writing mystery novels. He grew up in Bristol, Virginia, lived in North Carolina, Arizona and Williamsburg, Virginia. He now resides in Abingdon, Virginia.


Golden Wilderness by Nellie Fowler Lujanac. Mirador Publishing, Somerset, Great Britain, 2019. 222 pages. Trade paperback, $13.99.

Set in the 1830s in the Georgia goldfields near Dahlonega, this novel follows two brothers drawn there, but not expecting to find thousands of other prospective miners, hundreds of prostitutes and just a few natives nor to experience the conflict engendered by the expulsion of the Cherokees or the drama of a serial killer in their midst. The two brothers take separate paths to support themselves, find love, and obtain an education. The author grew up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and has been a journalist and teacher. She lives in Summerfield, Florida.


Pine Gap: A Novel  by Brooks Rexroat. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Peasantry Press, 2019. 338 pages. Trade Paperback, $12.99.

Pine Gap is a town of 942 people in Southeastern Kentucky. The protagonist of this novel is Jamie Eskill. Her father works in the coal mines; her mother has had little experience beyond Pine Gap, and her sister’s twins make her a full-time mom. Jamie is torn between wanting to leave and wanting to stay. The author, Brooks Rexroat, is a college teacher who was raised near Cincinnati and earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University. He now lives in Owensboro, Kentucky. “Rexroat is an up-and-coming voice in writing about post-industrial Midwestern, Rustbelt, and Appalachian communities.” – Katie Darby Mullins.  



Reckonings: Poems by Ryan Walsh. Reno, Nevada: Baobab Press, 2019. 80 pages. Trade paperback, $17.95.

Although these thought-provoking poems reflect upon many larger reckonings, the core of this poetry book comes from the author’s experiences growing up in Harrison County, West Virginia, in the shadow of a zinc smelting plant that was forced to settle for the environmental devastation it caused. Walsh’s grandfather worked there for 28 years before it ceased operations in 1971. When it was discovered that remediation of the site by DuPont failed to prevent pollution of the West Fork River, courts required DuPont to fund a 30-year medical monitoring program that involves the poet and his family until 2044. “Mr. Walsh’s perspective is visionary, haunted, distilled, and at times pleasantly strange. And this book is wisely peppered with human questions that, if they cannot be answered, must nevertheless be asked.” – Maurice Manning. “Ryan Walsh's Reckonings is a heartbreaking love song to his homeplace in the ‘company town’ of Spelter, West Virginia, and an unabashed lament for the lives he saw consumed there.” – Ross Gay. “The deft, moving lyrics of Reckonings attempt to account for the slow violence of Appalachia's industrialization – particularly its twin legacies of exploitative labor and toxic waste pollution – while also positioning us in meaningful relation to this violence, the ‘Risk published in the air’ by corrupt corporations. . . . Far from hopeless, these powerful poems testify to the persistence of ordinary hopes despite injustice, and celebrate ‘this dark remaining/joy we take into our brief bodies.’” – Patrick Phillips. “Ryan Walsh's, Reckonings is that rare book that finds the balance between rhetorical elegance and unflinching dedication to unearthing the minor and major devastations we face every day. In this book the glow of the pastoral is used to reveal the brutality the earth faces at our hands. This is a book about want and hunger and a hope that perhaps there can be something like healing. . . . It's elegant and heartbreaking and makes me want to go on.” – Brian Teare. “In language rich and sinewy, with a terse energy and an evocative music, Ryan Walsh establishes his mastery as a poet of place. . . . [H]e embraces a love of the elemental, of earth and weather and landscape, of rural people and working-class life. Always accessible, bristling with sensual clarity, his poems nevertheless retain a sense of mystery and enigma that teases the reader into thought.” – Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Ryan Walsh earned a B.A. from Warren Wilson College and an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin.  He has taught creative writing for several years and is the author of two chapbooks. He lives in Pittsburgh.



Friend, Foe, or Family: A Selection of Short Stories by Deborah Tilson Clark. Greenfield, Massachusetts: Human Error Publishing, 2019. 190 pages. Trade paperback, $14.95.

Each of these ten stories features a woman protagonist, often working through personal relationships, work, and spirituality with honesty and humor. The author, Deborah Tilson Clark, is a native of Southwest Virginia, who lives in a log house on Guffy Creek in Grayson County. She has worked as a house cleaner, a craftsmaker, a journalist, a teacher, a park naturalist, and a store keeper.