I have them all.....and LOVE THEM !!! :D
Thank you, kindly, Carol. There are a couple of others, but I think I have already overdone it.Right now, it looks like I might have to recast"Prince of Dark Corners," though.
Delightful, Gary. Sounds like home. Makes me miss North Carolina so very much. Thanks for the memories.Judy
Gary, thanks for the review and opening the discussion of Don West, who certainly deserves a lot more attention than he has gotten over the years. I was at Western Carolina University when his daughter Hedy came back to visit and play, in the late 60s or early 70s, I can’t remember exactly. I did not know she hated it until I heard it from you. George mentions the woodcut that was in the English Department. It was by Bill Lidh who was on the faculty and who did woodcuts of visiting artists coming through. And George also mentions the Appalachian Writers Association meeting that was held at WCU two years. I was chair of the association then and he is right, Don was recognized but there. I regret that I did not make a stronger effort now. He should be recognized or resurrected by someone and it might as well be you, Gary. His writing has mostly been lost or ignored. I have somewhere in my office a photocopy collection of his poetry, which was accomplished but not well published. West’s book, No Lonesome Road, was the beginning of his recognition, and I think we all owe Jeff Biggers and George Brosi thanks for editing it and getting it into publication. Don was a prophet like Jeremiah, pointing out the truth no one wanted to see. His role in establishing the Highlander Center alone is a considerable accomplishment. The last time I was there they had a good collection of documents on Don during those early years when everyone wanted to shut him up. I think that group that started out at Lincoln Memorial College and then went on to Vanderbilt as being the beginning of Appalachian literature. Certainly Stuart and Still were key figures, but there was a commitment to place and common people that separated them from some of the others who came out of Vanderbilt. Your review mentions Byron Herbert Reece, another of those committed to the common people whose writing was also prophetic and not well received by those in power. He too needs a resurrection. I remember once a long trip from Boone to Virginia Tech with Charlotte Ross. I think she was Don’s niece or some close relative. She talked about a Thanksgiving dinner where he was both sort of an honored member of the family and a black sheep who did not fit in. She had a lot of memories of him. I also think you might want to contact John Newman who retired from IT at WCU. He was a friend who worked with Don on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and has some priceless photos of Don. I am glad this thread has started. Maybe it will go further and excite others.