...the new book
by Norman Julian
...with an introduction
by Paul Atkins
A columnist at large with The Dominion Post newspaper in Morgantown, West Virginia, he started Trillium Publishing to bring out his books and other books about West Virginia. In his newspaper work, he filed stories from more than half of the state's counties. His novels and essays reflect those experiences. The West Virginia Press Association and the Keystone Press Association of Pennsylvania named him "best state columnist" in separate years. Some of the work cited in the awards is reprinted in Snake Hill and Trillium Acres, books about homesteading in the mountains. Norman built his own home on Chestnut Ridge, situated on the lip of the Cheat River Gorge.
The novel Cheat is based on stories, terrain and people he got to know while covering his beat. That and the as yet unpublished sequel, Flood, won cash prizes in the West Virginia Writers, Inc., contests. Flood also was a finalist in the Santa Fe Writers national contest.
Out of his work as a sportswriter covering West Virginia University came a history of WVU basketball, Legends. Jerry West, the state's greatest athlete, called it " 'a must buy' for anyone who loves West Virginia University sports." It is the classic story of Mountaineer basketball and a best seller in the state of West Virginia.
A graduate with a degree in philosophy from Northwestern University, he traveled much of Europe as a vagabond, "thumbing" his way and "living off the land." He returned in memory and sometimes in person to his home, Clarksburg, in his book Poems from a Mountain Ghetto. Originally brought out by Back Fork Books, Inc. of Webster Springs, the volume was used in folklore classes at Fairmont State University. Marano had published more than one thousand works, mostly poems, when he discovered he had brain cancer. His twilight struggle against the tumor growing behind his nose led to blindness and also to his insightful final book, Pockets of Love.
Mary Lucille DeBerry
A graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Iowa with a year of post-graduate study at Yale, Mary Lucille DeBerry has published poetry in some of the Appalachian region's most prestigious poetry journals. Mary Lucille is a native of Harrisville in Ritchie County and she celebrates her native county in lyric poems that concentrate on family, history and place. A past producer/director for West Virginia Public Television, she was associate producer and author of the study guide for the historical film, "Forks of Cheat," about the river Cheat. It is generally regarded as one of the best portraits of a feature of the Mountain State ever produced. In semi-retirement, she lives in Morgantown and Harrisville and concentrates on writing and teaching.
You can read the opening to TRILLIUM ACRES here:
In every person's life, a time comes to leave something you love, or it leaves you. Most painfully, that can be another person you shared a life with who either chooses to depart or is parted from you by death or circumstance. Another kind of departure, of a person from a place he has nurtured and formed, presents a like mindset. I left Snake Hill for the city because the changing seasons of my life dictated that I could no longer maintain the country home and lifestyle I had wished for and achieved. Then, too, Snake Hill changed, in ways I did not like. If affection is strong, parting spurs afterthoughts. In accepting the transition and loss, I asked myself, What of value have I learned that is worth telling?
www.NormanJulian.com; e-mail email@example.com; ph 304-599-2294
You can read the opening to Norman Julian's LEGENDS here:
You can read the opening to SNAKE HILL here:
I'm sitting in a darkened room watching a black-and-white highlight film of the 1957-58 West Virginia University Mountaineers, the team that finished the regular season No. 1 in the country. Voice over: Jack Fleming. The Old Field House. Hollering fans, six thousand of them, though the sound on the film is out of a can. Highlight films weren't technically triumphant back then. Sometimes it looks like they're playing in the dark, only silhouettes going through the motions. Jerry West pulls up for a soft, almost delicate jumper. Lloyd Sharrar whirls for a hook shot. Ronnie Retton steals the ball, flips to Joedy Gardner racing in for a layup. Don Vincent, jumper from the corner. Willie Akers follows a missed West shot. Bucky Bolyard cans one. Butch Goode another. That's how it goes in highlight films, No, the players aren't as good as I remember them, viewing them back then from the vantage point of youth. Then there were mere heroes. Only later, some of them, LEGENDS.
Some men need mountains and some men don't. From the top floor of the tallest building in Morgantown, we could see their hulking forms to the east humped like great blue whales, endlessly replacing themselves in the misty distance, but caught as if by a camera in place. It was like looking at them from a low-flying airplane, an experience we were to have in a time not distant...
Once, after an ice storm, I saw them up close and they were of all colors, the sun glistening off the shellacked branches of the trees like the kaleidoscopic webwork of giant celestial spiders...
For the mountains, like the men who are drawn to them, are of many moods, each in subtle, but definite ways different from any other, even as the three of us guys were alike but individual...
None of us knew then as we looked at the first high ridge of the Appalachians that the early cold and strange look of them this day foretold the coldest winter on record in West Virginia and that in profound ways it would change us. Thereafter when that winter would be talked about I, at least, would recall it, and the mountains in which we spent part of it, with shivers in my mind.
Have you ever wanted to own a piece of wild land and to become intimate with it, to get to know it through the seasons, to live on it and with it, to recognize its plants and its animals and how they interact? To learn the lay of the land and the exquisite secrets that are part of all landscapes, though each is particular? Have you sought to find a place where you could solve the main problems of existence - how to acquire minimal food, shelter and warmth in winter so you might sustain your life without undue material calamity, freeing your mind for higher pursuits? And, once you have found this special place, have you seen in your mind's eye the way it might be shaped with loving hands to your life's purposes? Have you visualized your homestead, your garden, your orchard? And, having done all the mental work, have you then set yourself to the task of a generation to bring it about. I have, and for me that place is SNAKE HILL.
To read about
book of poetry,
To read about
Poems from a
Pockets of Love
(Prices are post paid)
CHEAT - $19`
- A West Virginia best-selling novel.
SNAKE HILL - $19
- Essays on homesteading in the Mountain State
TRILLIUM ACRES - $19
- An experience of place.
(TRILLIUM ACRES, SNAKE HILL and CHEAT are also sold at The Appalachian Gallery, The Bookshelf and Mountain People's Cooperative in Morgantown.)
LEGENDS - $19
- Profiles in West Virginia University Basketball. The classic story of Mountaineer basketball, it is a best seller in the state of West Virginia.
(LEGENDS is also sold at the Team Shop
in the WVU Coliseum.)
POEMS FROM A MOUNTAIN GHETTO - $19
- Russell Marano's story of growing up in Glen Elk.
POCKETS OF LOVE - $19.
- Poems written by Russell Marano in his long struggle with cancer. Many of them were composed as he lay dying, dictated to his wife at bedside.
* * *
454 Kensington Avenue, Star City, WV 26505
For more detailed information on any book:
or phone (304) 599-2294
By Mary Lucille DeBerry
...from Sarvis Press
Click on any book cover to learn more.
Books that explore place
in West Virginia
The publication of TRILLIUM ACRES by Norman Julian provides a sequel to SNAKE HILL and those are non-fiction companions to his award-winning novel, CHEAT. TRILLIUM ACRES and CHEAT are collections of essays about a rugged spot in the Allegheny Mountains, where snakes are common, bears usually present, mountain lions not unheard of, and newspapermen a novelty.
Paul Atkins, professor emeritus of journalism at West Virginia University, wrote the foreword to TRILLIUM ACRES and Ralph Brem, past editor of The Dominion Post at Morgantown, provided the foreword to SNAKE HILL.
In separate years, the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors and the West Virginia Press Association named Julian best columnist in their states. His charge in the newspaper column was to portray the Mountain State in words and pictures. The books are informed by travels he made in West Virginia, the people he met and the places he explored. CHEAT is an adventure tale that takes place in the severe winter of 1976-77 in the Cheat River area, where the author lived. Although the books can be enjoyed separately, SNAKE HILL details the homesteading and outdoor adventure in some of the same places where the novel is set. Maurice Brooks, author of "The Appalachians," wrote, "I read it with great interest and pleasure." TRILLIUM ACRES further explores the territory, going deeper rather than farther afield. It includes hindsights because the land has changed since the author first began to homestead there. Atkins writes. "Come up Snake Hill Road to the mountain top with Norman Julian. He will help you see, hear and feel parts of nature that you may never have experienced."
Brem writes, "TRILLIUM ACRES is an important piece of work both for you own soul and the nature of the country today." (To read Ralph's review, click on the cover of the book above.)
Books about West Virginia
You can read from the title poem
within BERTHA BUTCHER'S COAT here:
Sturdy, solid Slavic style, design elegant
with beige tags from the '30s.
"Kraeler" and "Broida's of Parkersburg" mix air
of elite with practicality.
Remote, but enfolding in rich charcoal-colored
warmth and softness.
Not really black since flecked with white
of yet unmelted snowflakes.
Nurturing more than ever realized,
now from the long distance of childhood.
Fresh cleaned, no smell of mothballs
or of harsh-edged chemicals.
A swish of sliding right into another era
as arms fit into sleeves.
You can read the opening poem from Russell Marano's
POEMS FROM A MOUNTAIN GHETTO here:
in the Italian and black ghetto,
unable to eat in the
tingling dining rooms
of the Anglo-Saxon Americans
seen through glass windows,
were the descendants of
African and American Indian warriors,
descendants of Phoenicia
(discovers of the Isles of Tin),
descendants of Magna Graecia
of Milo of Croton, of Protagoras'
celestial metaphysicians, Dante's
Joachin, Saracen warriors, Norman
Douglas' tough and hard working
Black Handers and the
gathered genes of countless invasions.
They walked like Roman Janus,
one face for ghetto streets,
the other learning American ways.
Some with majestic countenances,
turning heads on both sides of the bridge.
You can read the opening to CHEAT here: