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“The Maynard I Knew” a belated eulogy by Pops Walker

 

The Maynard I knew was a writer.  And damn, what a voice.  Some folks color outside the lines.  He saw no lines, he simply colored his words as he saw fit.  Some folks think outside the box.  He ignored the box.  Boxes were a form of containment, and he would not be contained.  He refused and disdained chains.

He had the courage to write of ugly truths, hard truths, yet he wrote of them with roughly hewn beauty.  And he might scoff at me for saying so, but he was indeed an artist.  He mixed truth and fiction like no other – you never knew if he wrote of his history, or of his enhanced dreams.  As he succinctly put it, his works were scatter shots.  I would add that his scatter shots were indeed an art form.

On a June day in 2008, we met and ere long were both convinced we’d known one another in former lives.  And we laughed.  Lord, how we laughed that day, and on many occasions since.  Over the years, it became patently obvious to us that one of our many life-roles, was to make the other laugh.

On occasion, we shared stages – him reading from his works, and me playing guitar.  They were precious moments to me, and to him.  He told me so, and I knew from his smiles, that it was so.

We were Gonzo Mountaineers, and between the two of us we shared well over a century of undetected crime.  Outlaw Artists is how we viewed one another, and we took pride in that assessment.  But we laughed at it too.  Neither he nor I took ourselves too seriously.

And it happened that a week or so before he left, we spoke on the phone.  We made each other laugh again, and said to each other, “I love you brother.” And when he passed in the wee hours of a June morning in 2017, my good friend John-Boy and I were on my porch, drunker than Cooter Brown, picking guitars and laughing, unaware of his departure.  I think Lee would have seen our tom-foolery as a fitting tribute.  I’m damn sure he would’ve laughed.

On learning of Lee’s death, a mutual friend concisely concluded “The world just became a less interesting place.”  Truer words were never spoken.

Pops Walker

June 28, 2017

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Lee Maynard, R.I.P.

It is with sadness that we at WV Writers report that the writer and infamous WV native son Lee Maynard has passed.  Cat Pleska, former WVW president and good friend of Lee, reports that he died with his son by his side on June 16, in Colorado.

She writes "Lee wanted no memorials, no wakes, no funerals. His family will scatter his ashes in Grand Canyon, a fitting tribute, I think."

Lee is known for his novels in the Crum trilogy.  In recent years, he penned new works Cinco Becknell and Magnetic North, as well as his 2009 memoir in fiction The Pale Light of Sunset: Scattershots and Hallucinations in an Imagined Life.  He was a regular workshop presenter at the WV Writers summer conference.

Lee Maynard, 1936-2017

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Certificates are in the mail

For those who placed in the 2017 WV Writers Annual Writing Contest, but who could not attend the banquet, the certificates are officially in the mail as of this morning.

And a big shout out to the Lewisburg Post Office for all their assistance and infinite patience during the entire contest season.

Once again it has been my pleasure to serve as the contest coordinator.

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WV Writers Annual Writing Contest Winners List 2017

The winners of the 2017 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contest were announced during our Annual Awards Banquet at the WVW Summer Conference, June 10.

You can now download the 2017 WINNERS LIST.

Keep in mind this is the preliminary winners list and does not yet include the winners of the Writers Wall and People's Choice contests from the conference itself.  Check back next-week for those.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest this year. It was a pleasure to have served as contest coordinator for my fourth year.

--eric fritzius

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WV Writers Presenter Tim Waggoner wins a Bram Stoker Award

Tim Waggoner, workshop presenter for the upcoming West Virgina Writers Summer Conference, was awarded the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. for his novel The Winter Box.  You can learn from the man himself June 9, 10 and 11, at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, W.Va. at the WV Writers Summer Conference 2017.

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Live Poetry in Lewisburg

APRIL is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

@the WiLD BEAN

FRIDAY APRIL 7, 2017

6:00PM LiVE POETRY

<<<<<<< FEATURING>>>>>>>

SARA ELKINS

DOUG VANGUNDY

NEAL KRAKOVER

OPEN Mic

free

119 E  WASHINGTON ST. <> LEWISBURG WV

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WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: New Mountain Voices – High School

NEW MOUNTAIN VOICES HIGH SCHOOL

Natalie Sypolt

's work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Appalachian Heritage, Willow Springs Review, and The Kenyon Review Online, among other publications. Natalie is the winner of the Glimmer Train New Writers Contest, the Betty Gabehart Prize, and Still: The Journal’s fiction competition. She is also an active book reviewer whose work has appeared in Los Angeles Review, Fjords Review, Paste, Shenandoah, Harpur Palate, and Mid American Review. Additionally, Natalie serves as a literary editor for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, is on the selection committee for the prestigious Weatherford Award in Fiction, is the High School Workshop Coordinator for the West Virginia Writers Workshop at West Virginia University, and is co-host of SummerBooks: A literary podcast. Natalie currently works as an Assistant Professor at Pierpont Community & Technical College.

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Happy Birthday!

Today, February 26, 2017, marks the 40th birthday of West Virginia Writers, Inc.

West Virginia Writers

A Brief History

(By Mike Pauley, originally published in Catching the Crow,

 the first WV Writers anthology in 1982.)

 

West Virginia Writers began at a meeting in February 1977 at the Cultural Center in Charleston.  The meeting was called by James B. Andrews, Director of Arts & Humanities, W.Va. Department of Culture and History of the State of West Virginia, after Mr. Andrews had received numerous suggestions that such a group needed to organize.  About 25 people attended, including Shirley Campbell, Jim Comstock (editor of W. Va. Hillbilly), poet-historian Doris Miller, poet Kirk Judd, poet Lyle Parkins, Michael Pauley (president of the Appalachian Literary League), Pat Love (co-editor of The Illustrated Appalachian Intelligencer), Helen Carper, Dolly Withrow, Dr. William Plumley, poet Jane Somerville, poet Bonnie McKeown, and others.  At this meeting a committee was formed to further investigate the possibilities of forming a permanent organization.

The West Virginia Writers Committee, chaired by Shirley Young Campbell, met several times during the following months, enlisted further support, compiled mailing lists, etc., and in April 1977 incorporated as West Virginia Writers, Inc.  The first officers were president, Dr. William Plumley; vice president, Lawrence Levy; treasurer, Helen Carper; and secretary, Shirley Young Campbell.  A constitution and by-laws were drawn up and adopted.

In June 1977 the organization held its first constitutionally mandated business meeting (officers to be elected from July 1 to July 1) at the Cultural Center.  At this meeting it was decided to hold a state-wide Writers Conference the following year.  Officers for 1977-78 were elected as follows:  president, Dr. William Plumley; vice president, Michael J. Pauley; treasurer, Betty MacQueen, secretary, Julia Canady.

The first W.Va. Writers Conference was held in June 1978 at the Cultural Center in Charleston and was an overwhelming success.  Nearly 200 writers from all over the state attended the three-day affair, and there was much excitement and comraderie in the air.

Since 1978, West Virginia Writers has held a conference every year and continues to grow in membership and activity.

Regional literary magazines and publishers have had great input into the organization and have allowed for the wide publication of members’ works.  New books have been published due the influence of WVW and, most importantly, WVW has served to bring many writers, editors, publishers, critics, etc., from all over West Virginia and the region together.

In 1981-82 WVW sponsored its first state-wide Writers Awards Program, as well as the first state-wide Poetry Contest.  Altogether, nearly 1300 individuals entered both contests and over $6,000 in award money was distributed by WVW.

In addition to the annual conferences and to the awards contests, West Virginia Writers was the leading force in bringing about the “Poet’s Corner” program done by the W.Va. Dept. of Culture and History.  During the Poet’s Corner series, which spanned 1979-1981, over 100 West Virginia poets read their works at the Cultural Center in Charleston and were paid substantial honoraria, plus expenses, for doing so.

WVW also sponsored and administered the one-year residency of famed native author Davis Grubb during 1987-79, sponsoring his many readings and talks throughout the state during that period. WVW has promoted regional meetings and gathers of writers from around the state.

 

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WVW Contest Judge Spotlight: Emerging Writers Poetry

Grady Hillman

EMERGING WRITERS POETRY

Grady Hillman is a literary translator, poet and performer and received the Austin Book Award for his poetry collection Razor Wire. His poetry and poetry translations have been published in more than 50 literary journals and anthologies. Hillman has been a solo artist or part of an ensemble in 300 poetry performances. He directed or co-directed three inter-disciplinary performing companies: Clearlight, PoDan Sam, and WordWork.

Hillman holds an M.A. in linguistic anthropology and conducted a Fulbright Grant to Peru to research and record Quechua narratives between 1989-90. Prior to receiving his Fulbright, he published a book of historical Quechua verse with Guillermo Delgado, Return of the Inca. Hillman has translated and published more Quechua verse since his year in Peru, and he has published and performed Russian and Spanish translations as well.

As a young poet, Hillman began work in the Poet in the Schools program in Texas. That led him to the Texas prison system where he conducted a three-year residency as the Poet in the Schools for the Windham School System, the state-wide prison program. For thirty years, he has worked as a consultant and artist for community arts programs in the US and abroad. (He collected and edited anthologies of Katrina memoirs--Writing Mobile Bay: The Hurricane Project (Alabama Writer's Forum) and Walking the Waterfront: Pascagoula Remembers America's Most Destructive Natural Disaster (National Communities in Schools and the Mississippi Arts Commission)). However, Hillman is best known in the community arts realm for his work in correctional arts. He edited or co-edited state-wide anthologies of prison writing in Texas (Writer's Block) and California (About Time III). For the last four years, he has served as a mentor and consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts and Federal Bureau of Prisons.

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