1 | EDITORS/NOTE: What’s up with an all-poetry edition, man? Isn’t that weird?: When I conceived of devoting an entire issue of WestVirginiaVille to poets or poems with some connection to West Virginia I didn’t realize that when all was writ and done it would end up being quite so ambitious. And … um, large …
2 | ‘A farm woman wrapped up with a world-class poet’: Irene McKinney in her own words”: Irene McKinney was a nationally-praised poet and West Virginia’s very down-to-earth poet laureate. As the Hiram Poetry Review said: “Even people who think they don’t like poetry end up loving Irene, her sense of humor, her ‘rhythmic, beautifully ordinary speeches of the heart.’”
3 | “Not All That Much” by Marc Harshman: ‘Not that much, perhaps, and our only companion, / a still and remembered, peculiar silence, / a silence with weight, / and the kind of karma you can’t get / from books, or gurus, or pets …’
4 | “The Garden You Called Eden” by Julie Pratt: ‘You return to me across a chasm in time since / we last sat in your kitchen, curtains quivering in / the warm breeze, my skin damp from cutting grass / with your old hand mower, the scent of peonies / you picked that morning and of toasted cheese / sandwiches and sliced ripe pears …’
5 | 5 QUESTIONS: With U.S. Beat Poet Laureate & WV native John Burroughs: John Burroughs, a native of Richwood WV, had his life saved by poetry back up in the Appalachian hills. Now, he the National Beat Poet Laureate.
6 | A Poetry Sampler from John Burroughs: “John Cage Engaged and Uncaged,” “Redux Isn’t Pronounced Ray Do, But That Hasn’t Stopped Me,” and “Dog Day” by John Burroughs
7 | “The Revolt” by Connie Kinsey: ‘My hands cramp, fingers arching backward. / Arthritis. Two Advil daily. / My lower back aches, stooping my spine. / My arches continue their path to flat. / It feels like betrayal this revolt. / I was supple and graceful once upon a time. / First a disco queen and then a yoga diva …’
8 | POETRY/PERFORMED: Two Versions of “BOOM BOOM” by Crystal Goody: Here are two versions of Crystal Good reading/performing her iconic poem “BOOM BOOM,” which reflects on strip-mining mountains and women who strip off their clothes for money.
9 | “Bound Stone” by Colleen Anderson: ‘The beauty isn’t in the choice of stone / (a freckled, putty-grey, slightly off-round / found object, a palm-sized half-pound / of not-even-semi-precious rock) but in/ the steady, deep attention to this one / among the many …’
10 | “Kick-starting a Youth Poet Laureate program in West Virginia’s capital city: A Q&A with James Cochran: Attention, high school-age poets and their teachers, friends, and parents: a Youth Poet Laureate program is underway in West Virginia’s capital city. Here are some details.
11 | “Appalachian Freshwater Pearls” by Owen P. Cramer: ‘I took your freshwater pearls, harvesting them / from an archeological site you call “home.” / I left nothing behind to give you pride / in where you live / because pride is a sin …’
12 | “Teena’s Story (for Don West)” by Bob Henry Baber: ‘When I was little he seemed as strong / as the mountains, / but after a shuttle buggy busted loose / and ran over top of him, breaking his back in four places, / he just wasn’t the same …’
13 | 5 QUESTIONS: From West Virginia to the San Francisco Bay and beyond: D. Scot Miller was a bright student from Dunbar, West Virginia, considered transgressive in class as he had a vision of how things might be better. What happened next bounced him to the other side of the country and a lively career as a writer, poet, thinker, and creator of The Afrosurreal Manifesto.
14 | A Poetry Sampler from D. Scot Miller: The poems “The New Body,” “Afro-surreal Generation,” Woodshed,” and “AfterGraph” by Dunbar WV native D. Scott Miller.
15 | 5 QUESTIONS: Creating the universe with God, Gravity, Darkness & friends: John Berry is not shy in taking on poetic tasks, including “The Broken Poem and Other Strange Ideas About God,” which tracks the offhand creation of the universe as God and buddies like Gravity and Darkness lend a hand.
16 | “The Broken Poem” by John Berry: How God, Gravity, Silence, and Darkness whipped the universe into shape over the course of a few billion forevers …
17 | “Watoga 2021” by James Cochran: ‘Somewhere between Anhedonia and Ataraxy / we drive east on the turnpike in torrential / downpour, passing old man in rusted sedan / with driver’s window down completely. / Is it broken, or is he just looking to feel something? …’
18 | VIDEOGRAPHIC POEMS: 3 to Go: You might call it video poetry, but how about the more colorful coinage of ‘videographic poetry.’ Examples of animated poetics from TheStoryIsTheThing.com series “Poems To Go.”
19 | “Fiery Thoughts” by Douglas John Imbrogno: ‘I am a devoted householder / & secret reprobate. / I am an insomniac & / daring dreamer. / I am eternal & / dying as we speak. / I am a teller of truths / & serial liar, too …’
20 | INDEX: Guide to stories in September 2022 Poetry Edition: Here’s a clickable guide to all the poetry and features in the special September 2022 edition of WestVirginiaVille.com
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