"Poverty pays unless you’re poor" -Don West

Posted by | May 30, 2007

Home-Coming (1946)

And I’ve come back to you,
Mountain Earth–
Come to laugh
And sorrow
And sing–

To dig my songs up
From your soil
And spin a melody
Of corn blades,
And a clean-plowed furrow.

I’ve come to sing and grope–
With a people who know
Deep songs,
Who stumble up
A long crooked road….

I’ve come because
Your great silent agony
Echoed everywhere

And the weary foot-steps
Of my old Dad
Still sound upon the mountain
Where his sweat dripped down
To water your dirt….

Don West achieved success as one of the foremost southern regional poets of the twentieth century. He was at different times a labor organizer, political radical, preacher, progressive educator, and outspoken spokesperson for human equality in the generation before the civil rights movement. Although he is best known for his literary works, West was also an effective proponent of the Social Gospel, embraced by some of the South’s most dedicated religious reformers.

Don West, 1931Born in 1906 in Devil’s Hollow, near Ellijay in Gilmer County, Donald L. West grew to young adulthood in the north Georgia mountains. The eldest son of a farmer, he took pride in the independent spirit that had made his forebears nonconformists who opposed slavery in the antebellum years. This heritage of independence expressed itself in West’s career, during which he often found himself at odds with the folkways and beliefs of the communities in which he lived and worked. Throughout his life he remained committed to a progressive view of ethnic and racial harmony, which linked him with his personal family history.

In 1964 West and his wife helped to open the Appalachian South Folklife Center at Pipestem, West Virginia, where West worked until his death in 1992.

Source: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2569&hl=y

Don+West Georgia+poets appalachia appalachian+culture appalachian+history appalachian+language history+of+appalachia

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