Tag Archives: appalachian literature

May Justus: Tennessee’s Mountain Jewel

May Justus writes about the folk in the Tennessee mountains—people she knows and loves. Most of the glad and sad adventures of her ‘book children’ are rooted in her own experiences as a little girl. For example, her childhood home was a cabin very much like Matt’s and Glory’s in ‘The Cabin on Kettle Creek.’ “I don’t do research for my books. I write from memory, about things my parents and my grandparents told me,” Miss Justus once told a reporter.

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Married? Or Not? From newly published ‘Hidden History of Roanoke’

In Howard’s shadow was his son, Frank, who in his mid-twenties began escorting around New Orleans a widow six years his senior. The Lottery King strongly objected to his son’s amorous relationship and demanded it be ended, even offering his son $50,000 as an inducement to do so. The expectation that his son would acquiesce was certainly ensured given Howard’s penchant for barking orders and manipulating the lives, ambitions and fortunes of so many in and around New Orleans.

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Book Review: ‘Appalachian Bestiary’

Hunters turn up quite often in the telling of Appalachian bestiary stories. The Agropelter mentioned a moment ago loves sitting high in trees and pelting the unsuspecting hunter walking below it with pine cones or bark. The poisonous Hoop Snake forms itself into a sort of wheel by seizing the end of its tail in its mouth, then rolling down the mountain in pursuit of its victim, the hunter. Then there’s the Cirqulous, a large round bird which was supposed to be an easy target for hunters, “but since the dead bird rolled away when it fell, hunters were often unable to retrieve it.” Sort of like the fisherman describing ‘the one that got away’ as he spreads his hands apart showing how large the durn-blasted thing was. It would seem that a hunter who returned from the forest with a less than stellar haul had better at least have some entertaining stories to share.

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“Cedar Grove” radio documentary to explore work of WV writer Mary Lee Settle

We hear them tell their stories, each with a nuanced perspective of the land and its past. The geography and history of Cedar Grove is recounted in their words. Vivid scenes from Addie, read aloud by a voice actor; short segments of Settle’s interviews from 1944-1991; ambient field recordings from the Kanawha Valley; and an original score play underneath and alongside the women’s memories and descriptions of home. The resulting mix gives us access to a compelling narrative of feminine power, struggle, and identity in an Appalachian context.

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“Mountain Mother Goose” Open House & Book Signing Set for Aug. 25

“Child lore is the folklore of children, by children, about children. Boys and girls have always played games, sung songs, clapped out riddles and jumped rope to rhymes. Primal drives for social intervention and acceptance among their peers universally direct youth in their own language of jokes, beliefs, jeers, pranks, rites and customs. Storytelling, imitating, singing and playmaking are thus natural ways to communicate, to develop, to learn,” Byers said. “Childhood is fleeting, but there is a permanence in the culture of childhood. It doesn’t take much for us to remember again. I hope you look into this book as a window into the world of children and as a mirror into your own deeper self.”

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