Regional poet Raymond Neely has always lived in or near to Pipestem, WV, in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, and was educated at Concord College, now Concord University, of Athens, West Virginia, where he earned a BA in English composition. His poetry exhibits and embodies the present day poetic mind of thriving Appalachia. He is published in ALCA lines, Stitches, Appalachian Journal, The Bluestone Review, Holler, Wee Witty Whimsies, Appalachian Writers online publication, and The Muse.
Middle Island Press chapbooks by Raymond Neely:
The Pathway (2012)
Rife with romanticism, lightly laced with metaphoric eroticism, grounded in the roots of trees and singing to the stars with the sounds of pure poetry, each line within The Pathway is a living entity, a making of the muse.
(A browse upon Pages 13 and 14…)
Lines 24-29 of “If You Were a Tree”:
When Autumn came and made you blush,
and all the chirping songs were hushed,
when winter stripped your coat away,
I’d sway beside you just the same,
and whistle at your naked branches,
if you were a tree.
“You Are My World”
You bring forth before me
the life and essence
of the lands and places
for me, my mind and life.
Your emanations gladden the posies,
so sunshine smiles,
colors live, and
all that is does give.
You spurn the green from dormancy
and inspire romance.
You pull the lighted petals apart,
Cause the roaming rivers’ rapids,
and allow to live my labors’ love.
You beautify the dove.
Raymond Neely’s poetry is scenic of Pipestem and the surrounding areas, and is definitive about the present-day poetic mind of thriving Appalachia. From grim coal-mining realities to captivating mountain serenity, Appalachian Rivules interweaves nature and humanity, reality and poeticism to deliver wise insights into what it’s like to exist along the back roads and between the hills of West Virginia.
(A browse upon Page 15):
The guts of the ground
are blown and picked out of hillsides,
and from underground,
are chunked and cubed into trucks
and dumped into lines of coal cars
which run further than the eye can see,
each holding tons of diamond-flecked
and portions of men’s lives.
The black train to New Jersey, New York
leaves the gutted land and dilapidation
behind, the rickety falling boards
of condemned coal miners’ homes
and once beautifully rounded hills of God
shaved in upon and broken,
toxic wash puddles and streams.
Children dig in ash where the
atmosphere is pink.
Men walk on all fours,
seeking holes like moles,
hiding away from holocaust.
Wee Witty Whimsies (Anthology, 2011)
Wee Witty Whimsies is a warming compilation of poetry and short prose pieces which is certain to summon smiles and laughter for those who like to believe that life is a comedy. It is a worthwhile read with work by eight contributors, and a sample of Mr. Neely’s contribution is featured below.
(A browse upon Pages 3, 9, and 23):
“Whimsies” by Gerald Bosacker
I saw a man fishing in one of his hats,
which seemed so exciting, I queried, “What’s biting?”
He said, “Mosquitoes, chiggers, and gnats!”
You never see a goldfish wink.
They can’t close their eye, you can’t see them cry,
and water’s all they ever drink!
Why should price expensive be
of fish and scale plus head and tail,
and eyes that stare back at me?
“What One’s Heart Shares” by Terri Turrell
Your ticker’s ticking still – it meets
each day with measured tocking beats;
the language of the lonely heart
is always loud enough to start
a conversation understood
by all who know how very good
it is to have a friend who cares…
to listen to what one’s heart shares.
One of several “Shorts” by Raymond Neely
I colored a girl’s teeth with a crayon,
and one with a marker, and she did
let me. I was going to town on it
like scratching off a lottery ticket.
She often ate crayons and she didn’t
mind. It was a happy day.
Support Raymond Neely in his effort to illuminate readers with his Appalachian spirit by purchasing one of each of the above collections for $20 plus $2.50 S&H.
(His poetry collections are also available through Amazon.com. Please consider penning a book review of your favorite.)