Great news! My poem "The Value of the Poor in the Land of the Free" will be published in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel in October.
I'm very pleased that my speculative story "Dust Devils" has been published by Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment.
Read the story here.
Flyway is a journal of Iowa State University "that explores the many complicated facets of the word environment – whether rural, urban, or suburban; whether built or wild – and all its social and political implications." Flyway "focuses on ecology, science and the environmental imagination" and "on place, on natural and built environments, and on the ways that people interact with their environments."
Local author Neva Bryan is among the poets, essayists, and fiction writers published in the 2018 volume of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers. Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author, served as editorial advisor for the anthology.
This year’s volume features an array of Pushcart writers, several Weatherford Award winners, and the work of two state poet laureates.
Neva Bryan is the author of three novels and a collection of short stories and poems. Nearly fifty of her poems and short stories appear in dozens of literary journals. Her work has also been anthologized in We All Live Downstream: Writings about mountaintop removal, published by Motes Books in 2009.
The Wiley Cash volume of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Shepherd University’s tenth volume of the anthology series, features the poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction of writers across the country and the region. The book is published by Shepherd University and the West Virginia Center for the Book. Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Appalachian Studies Coordinator at Shepherd University and managing editor of the Wiley Cash volume of the anthology, called the book “one of our best anthologies ever.”
Literary editors for the anthology include Brianna Maguire, David O. Hoffman, and Natalie Sypolt, and the contributors come from across the nation. Wiley Cash, editorial advisor for the anthology, was the 2017 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University, and his novel A Land More Kind than Home was the WV Common Read selection by the West Virginia Center for the Book. This tenth volume of the anthology series contains original and previously unpublished work by Cash, as well as an interview and essay on his writing.
The book also has photographic art that will be part of a September anthology celebration event on the Shepherd campus at the Byrd Legislative Center, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
The book can be purchased at Four Seasons Books, the Shepherd University Book Store, Tamarack, Amazon, and other outlets. For information, contact Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, SShurbut@shepherd.edu.
I'm honored that my short story "Crash" has been published by Still: The Journal. Here's a link to the story: "Crash."
Still: The Journal was co-founded by author Silas House and poet Marianne Worthington. The journal's mission is to publish the "finest in contemporary literary writing of Central Appalachia, or the Mountain South."
Also from the website: "Our emphasis is on the literature of the Southern Appalachian region, and we are committed to publishing excellent writing that does not rely on clichés and stereotypes. We want to feature writing that exemplifies the many layers and complexities of the region or that is written by an author with a connection to the region."
I wish I had the opportunity to meet Lou Crabtree. She was a native of Washington County, Virginia.
She died in 2006, just as I was starting to think of myself as a real writer.
Some of her poetry boggles the mind. For her biography and more information about her work, click here.
One of my favorite poems of hers is called "He Cut My Garden Down." Its stark imagery and matter-of-fact verse convey how a wife can come to hate an abusive and oppressive husband.
The Commonwealth of Virginia declared her a Laureate of Literature in 1988.
Authors I Love: Ron Rash.
I'm in awe of this writer. His poetry is wonderful and his novels stay with you.
One Foot in Eden is my favorite of his works. I've read it three times. In fact, I once read it aloud to a person who told me he didn't like to read.
“You are a beautiful tragedy. My grievous angel. Here, hold my eye.”
That's the first line of THICKER THAN WATER, my short story that appears on the Fried Chicken and Coffee blogazine.
You can read the entire story by clicking here.
I'm pleased to announce that my short story "Bobby Boyd's Bad Eyes" is published online and in print at Inwood Indiana Press.
The print version is still at press, but the online version is live: http://inwoodindiana.com/bobby-boyds-bad-eyes-neva-bryan/
"The sun woke me up slashing the walls with its bright yellow blades. I studied on the dust motes floating in the air for a while, then I got up and went to the bedroom. I saw right away it was a done deal. That’s when I called the police and told them to come on up to Pawpaw Ridge."
From "The Devil's Better Half." Floyd County Moonshine, (February 2009).
full of stardust
who abandons his wrench,
picks up his pen."
From "Wanted." Explorations (2009).
"I am coal dust and spun sugar,
honeysuckle and vinegar,
hollow and deadly as a cat’s paw."
From "Appalachian Goddess." Explorations (2009).
Climbing onto the porch of the old house,
we hide from piggy eyes, wiry hair, cursive tails,
sacks of lard with cloven hooves.
Stiff-legged, they stalk back and forth,
eyeing our fingers and toes.
From "Revenge." Sawmill Boys, Brighid Editions (2010).
When he cocked his head at me and grinned, I saw a slight gap between his two front teeth. As he smiled, his eyes darkened from coffee-and-cream to pure black liquid. His hair was the color of my Granny’s apple butter; I thought how sweet it would be to free it from its tight ponytail and watch it tumble down around me. Just looking at him made me hungry.
from "Sawmill Boys.” Appalachian Heritage, vol. 34, no. 4 (Fall 2006).
The season’s sacrament
begins with thimbles
-- tiny communion cups --
and needles to pierce
soft cotton batting.
Below the quilt’s altar,
cupped in supplication,
receive red thread
to stitch blessings of warmth.
From “Snow Day.” The Distillery, vol. XV, no. 2 (January 2009).
Would you mourn,
my lizard king,
for this hollow mountain?
Cry for high walls,
a crownless queen?
From “Scream of the Butterfly.” We All Live Downstream: writings about mountaintop removal, ed. Jason Howard, Louisville: Motes Books, 2009.
Wash away the black fuzz
of diesel and dust,
and we’ll fumble in this dimwitted light
’til our tarnished love sparkles in the dark.
Twine yourself around me:
we are tight as the laces of a steel-toed boot.
From “Wise County Man.” Bluestone Review (Spring 2007).
Serenade me with the
stutter of Jake brakes on coal trucks
traveling down mountains.
Anoint me with the
pickled tang that hangs heavy
around the red bubby bush.
Lay me down in horsemint
and hemlock shadows,
shallow valleys, hallowed hills.
From “Anoint Me.” Poetry. 2009 Explorations Contest, Mountain Empire Community College.
I wasn’t wild about winter on Pawpaw Ridge. If ever there’s been a godforsaken place, it’s that mountain in the middle of February. The trees was slick and black and they pinched the empty air like they was mad. The snow was not white up there, but blue. It seemed unnatural to look out on that blue snow with the sun grinning down on it not doing a bit of good. And the wind was all the time blowing. That was what got to me the most.
I was always running to the door or the window to see who was tapping. Like to drove me crazy. Royce was used to the air creeping around the house, poking every corner with its invisible fingers.
From “The Devil’s Better Half.” Floyd County Moonshine, (February 2009).
A sawmill boy can take a 4X4 between the eyes that’ll lay him out flat on his ass and then get back up to finish his workday. They all wear a strange cologne of diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, and cigarette smoke. Sawdust trails them like breadcrumbs for the lost. They’re lean, with knotty arms and hard faces, but their eyes are dreamy.
from "Sawmill Boys.” Appalachian Heritage, vol. 34, no. 4 (Fall 2006).
Peter took his beating for the cracked ridges and deep valleys in her voice. He had started the fight because he was homesick and she sounded like home, but he blamed the bourbon. He had knocked back four shots of Maker's Mark before he ever met the girl.
If you like this, try the entire book. Click here for details.
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