...A coat, stray buttons, scraps of fabric and other sights and sounds evoke memories of family and neighbors.
....Memories, poetry and homage
to West Virginia.
A graduate of West Virginia University, Mary Lucille DeBerry grew up in the small West Virginia town of Harrisville, county seat of Ritchie County, about half-way between Parkersburg and Clarksburg. The peaceful place, the neighborly concern of residents there and frequent forays "out in the country" all affect her poems. She visits her hometown often but lives mostly in Morgantown where she worked many years for West Virginia Public Television, producing historical, cultural, and public affairs series, segments and programs. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals. In 2011, "Bertha Butcher's Coat" was announced as first honorable mention in the 18th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book contest in the category of poetry.
You can read a sample poem from BERTHA BUTCHER'S COAT here:
MEMORIAL DAY - 1994
(Previously published in Appalachian Heritage,
Hamilton Stone Review and Weeping With Those Who Weep)
Would that I could with words put together
bouquets as beautiful as those arranged
by my mother with her flying fingers.
But today, I place the peonies, as instructed,
into soaked floral bricks within oblong
containers and I take them to the graves.
Then I gather roses and other peonies, as
taught upon almost the first remembering,
and give those to Mother's living friends.
To The DeBerry Family into which I was born:
My father, Max, who loved to read poems aloud
and exalted the joy they provide.
My mother, Lucille, who relayed family stories
and taught me to nurture flowers.
My sister, Margherita, who shares many memories found within these poems,
BERTHA BUTCHER'S COAT by Mary Lucille DeBerry is the title of the collection and also of a poem - on the surface about a coat found in an attic but really about the woman who raised the author's mother and lived, for many years, next door to the DeBerry family.
Even though much imagination is used in the poems, most of the people and places are real - with wonderful sounds attached to their names: Coleman Pritchard, Faye Garrison, Joe Gluck, H. Glenn Hardbarger, Miz Annie McIntire, Edith Swadley, Auburn, Harrisville, Summers, Toll Gate.
A number of poems are about the author's ancestors, her Grandfather Cox's farm at Summers between Holbrook and Oxford and part of that later known as the DeBerry Christmas Tree Farm operated by her parents in the 1950s and 1960s.
The poet also recounts adventures of childhood as she visited the farm; skipped along Main Street in Harrisville or rode her blue second-hand bicycle farther afield out High Street; and when she vacationed with her uncle and aunt in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In addition, she looks closely at her mother's herb garden; acknowledges the death of her parents; and pays tribute to other Ritchie County residents who were important in her life.
The book is published by Sarvis Press with production services by Populore Publishing Company.
What they say about BERTHA BUTCHER'S COAT
"In this small, refined sanctuary tat we can enter at the turn of a page, we stop to catch our breaths. We look around. What's here? A faded farm map, folded and bound with ruby-colored ribbon. A gardener's litanyh - the rituals of sowing and harvest - the feel of earth in the hand, the fragrance of growing things, bound, inevitably, to poignant recollection. A soft wool coat, suffused with the strong will of the woman who wore it...Mary Lucille DeBerry is a poet who uncovers the deep, resonant truth in common things. - Ann Hogsett from "The Foreword"
To order BERTHA BUTCHER'S COAT, Mary Lucille DeBerry's poems about people, places and life in Ritchie County, send $19, which includes postage, to:
Sarvis Press, 117 West North Street, Harrisville, WV 26362.