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West Virginia University Press

West Virginia University Press

Website: http://www.as.wvu.edu/press

Founded in the mid-1960s, West Virginia University Press is a scholarly, not-for-profit publisher of books and journals. The Press specializes in Appalachian history, medieval studies, African American literature and culture, and rural sociology; its list also includes general interest and creative writings on Appalachia. Through the publication of all such works, WVU Press helps to fulfill West Virginia University’s land-grant mission.


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West Virginia University Press

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The Proper Words for Sin Cover

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The Proper Words for Sin

written by Gary Fincke

Coal burns underground and destroys a small town. A woman confronts police officers with her pet copperheads. A young girl drinks Drano. A man is banned from his favorite bar.

Within these eleven short stories, Flannery O’Connor Award winner and poet Gary Fincke brings into focus the small struggles of ordinary people. The characters within this collection, from boys and girls to fathers, mothers, and the aging, live in cities, in towns, and in rural areas. Yet, no matter the surroundings, all seem alone within a collective anxiety. Set against extraordinary events, such as the Three Mile Island accident, the Challenger Disaster, and the Kennedy assassination, these stories personalize history through a juxtaposition between large and small tragedies and the unflinching desire to find insight within and redemption from weakness and shortcoming.

The Psalms of Israel Jones Cover

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The Psalms of Israel Jones

A Novel

Ed Davis

The Psalms of Israel Jones is the story of a father and son’s journey towards spiritual redemption. This novel tells the tale of a famous father trapped inside the suffocating world of rock and roll, and his son who is stranded within the bounds of conventional religion. When Reverend Thomas Johnson receives an anonymous phone call, he learns his Dylanesque rock star father is acting deranged on stage, where he’s being worshipped by a cult of young people who slash their faces during performances. In his declining years, Israel Jones has begun to incite his fans to violence. They no longer want to watch the show—they want to be the show. Eager to escape troubles with his congregation as well as gain an apology from his dad for abandoning his family, Reverend Johnson leaves town and joins Israel Jones’s Eternal Tour. This decision propels him to the center of a rock and roll hell, giving him one last chance to reconnect with his father, wife, congregation—and maybe even God. The Psalms of Israel Jones is the 2010 Hackney Literary Award winner for an unpublished manuscript. Eis the author of the novels I Was So Much Older Then and The Measure of Everything, four poetry chapbooks, and many published stories and poems in anthologies and journals. He is also the author of Time of the Light, a poetry collection.

Regards Croises Cover

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Regards Croises

Perspectives on Digital Literature

edited by Philippe Bootz and Sandy Baldwin

What happens to literature in an age of digital technology? Regards Croisés: Perspectives on Digital Literature provides an answer, with a collection of cutting-edge critical essays on literature gone digital. Regards Croisés is an important addition to existing research on digital literature, and will appeal to scholars of electronic writing, digital art,humanities computing, media and communication, and others interested in the field. It offers a significant advance in the field through its wide-angle perspective that globalizes digital literature and diversifies the current critical paradigms. Regards Croisés shows how digital literature connects with traditions and future directions of reading and writing communities all over the world. With contributions by authors from eight countries and three continents, the collection presents points of view on a transcontinental practice of digital literature. Regards Croisés also opens dialogues with expanded critical paradigms of digital literature, beyond earlier critical concern with the aesthetics of the screen as a space of hypertext links. Many of the essays recognize a rich history and ongoing literary practice engaged with the basic fact of the computer as a programmable device. Other essays explore the latest developments in social media and Web 2.0 as venues for digital literature. Regards Croisés shows the vibrant engagement of writers and readers with literary practice in a digital world.

Reversing Field Cover

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Reversing Field

Examining Commercialization, Labor, Gender, and Race in 21st Century Sports Law

edited by andre douglas pond cummings and Anne Marie Lofaso

Reversing Field invites students, professionals, and enthusiasts of sport—whether law, management and marketing, or the game itself—to explore the legal issues and regulations surrounding collegiate and professional athletics in the United States. This theoretical and methodological interrogation of sports law openly addresses race, labor, gender, and the commercialization of sports, while offering solutions to the disruptions that threaten its very foundation during an era of increased media scrutiny and consumerism. In over thirty chapters, academics, practitioners, and critics vigorously confront and debate matters such as the Arms Race, gender bias, racism, the Rooney Rule, and steroid use, offering new thought and resolution to the vexing legal issues that confront sports in the 21st century.

Riding on Comets Cover

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Riding on Comets

A Memoir

Cat Pleska

Riding on Comets is the true story of an only child growing up in a working-class family during the 1950s and ‘60s. 

As the family storyteller, Cat Pleska whispers and shouts about her life growing up around savvy, strong women and hard-working, hard-drinking men. Unlike many family stories set within Appalachia, this story provides an uncommon glimpse into this region: not coal, but an aluminum plant; not hollers, but small-town America; not hillbillies, but a hard-working family with traditional values. 

From the dinner table, to the back porch, to the sprawling countryside, Cat Pleska reveals the sometimes tender, sometimes frightening education of a child who listens at the knees of these giants. She mimics and learns every nuance, every rhythm—how they laugh, smoke, cuss, fight, love, and tell stories—as she unwittingly prepares to carry their tales forward, their words and actions forever etched in her mind. And finally, she discovers a life story of her own. 

Robert C. Byrd Cover

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Robert C. Byrd

Child of the Appalachian Coalfields

Robert C. Byrd

United States Senator Robert C. Byrd’s autobiography, Child of the Appalachian Coalfields follows Senator Byrd’s experiences from his boyhood in the early 1920s to his election in 2000, which won him an unprecedented eighth term in the Senate. Along the way, Senator Byrd offers commentary on national and international events that occurred throughout his long life in public service. Senator Byrd’s journey from the hardscrabble coalfields to the marbled halls of Congress has inspired generations of people in West Virginia and throughout the nation. From reading the stories of the Founding Fathers as a young boy by the light of a kerosene lamp to the swearing of an oath for more than a half-century to guard the United States Constitution, Senator Byrd’s life is legendary. Byrd always stands by his principles, earning the affection of the people of his home state and the respect of Americans from all walks of life. With his beloved Erma ever by his side, Robert C. Byrd has never forgotten his roots, harkening back to those early lessons that he learned as a child of the Appalachian coalfields.

Robert C. Byrd Cover

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Robert C. Byrd

Child of the Appalachian Coalfields

Robert C. Byrd

This autobiography follows West Virginia senator Robert C. Byrd’s experiences from his boyhood in the early 1920s to his election in 2000, which won him an unprecedented eighth term in the Senate. Within these pages, Senator Byrd offers commentary on national and international events that occurred throughout his long life in public service. 

His journey from the hardscrabble coalfields to the marbled halls of Congress has inspired generations of people in West Virginia and throughout the nation. From reading the stories of the Founding Fathers as a young boy by the light of a kerosene lamp to the swearing of an oath for more than a half-century to guard the US Constitution, Senator Byrd’s life is legendary. 

Until his death on June 28, 2010, Byrd stood by his principles, earning the affection of the people of his home state and the respect of Americans from all walks of life. With his beloved Erma ever by his side, Robert C. Byrd never forgot his roots, harkening back to those early lessons that he learned as a child of the Appalachian coalfields.

This new paperback edition includes a foreword by Gaston Caperton, governor of West Virginia from 1989–1997.

A Room of Rain Cover

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A Room of Rain

The narratives throughout Gary Fincke’s sixth collection of short stories contain newsworthy events that are chronicled secondhand: the shooting of a policeman, the murder of a house flipper, the firing of a teacher for punching a violent student, the accidental drowning of a gay man in a flood, and a fire somewhat accidently set by a juvenile smoker in a school.

Despite these surprising events, the narrator of each story is an ordinary person caught up in the action but preoccupied by other things, whether zombie movies, collecting unusual words, the oddity of other people’s sexual habits, or what to do in retirement. 

These shocking incidents become both central and peripheral to the narrative, as Fincke portrays the fluctuating emotions and self-protective reflections of fathers, sons, and husbands, creating a world where individuals rarely understand each other, yet still arrive at moments of compassion, tolerance, perseverance, and familial love.

Rural America in a Globalizing World Cover

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Rural America in a Globalizing World

Problems and Prospects for the 2010's

edited by Conner Bailey, Leif Jensen, and Elizabeth Ransom

This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.

The Safey of Deeper Water Cover

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The Safey of Deeper Water

Tim Poland

When Sandy Holston is on dry land, she’s nothing special: a nurse who wears her hair in a ponytail and prefers a fishing lure as an earring. But once she dons waders, picks up a fly rod, and steps into a river, she becomes a remarkable, elegant fisherwoman who’s at peace with the world. After surviving her marriage to Vernon - her violent, incarcerated ex-husband - peace is just what Sandy needs. So she moves to Damascus, a small town on the Ripshin River, where she plans to enjoy the fishing and the solitude. Finally she is on the brink of a life she desires in a place she loves. But as the Ripshin’s trout mysteriously die off, and as Sandy grows closer to a reclusive neighbor who has a propensity for fishing naked, her plans are put in jeopardy. Will Sandy be able to find peace - in the river or out - once Vernon is released from prison and fulfills his promise to hunt her down?

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