The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Bookshelf - November, 1983

By Parks Lanier, Jr. © 1983

Issue: November, 1983

Jeanne Shannon’s collection of poems The Well Under the Pawpaw Trees is for people who delight in the sounds, sights and scents of the mountains. Packed into 32 pages are nostalgic remembrances, lists of birds and flowers, and photos of the folks back home. Now living in Albuquerque, where she runs The Wildflower Press, Jeanne Shannon grew up in Dickenson and Wise Counties in Virginia and attended Radford College. In her poems she savors the names of home, as we all do:

The Map

I sit here
in the deep weather of January
looking at the names
of places in Virginia
The names of water:
The Cowpasture River
The North Fork of the Holston
The Chesapeake Bay
The names of towns:
Amelia Court House
Charlotte Court House
Meadows of Dan
And I remember the spaces
between the legends on the map:
a hollow between two hills
a field in blue October light
…….and butterflies
that swam the summer air
in 1940.

This is a book written by someone who loves the sounds of words. To read this book silently is to miss its music, as in the section called “Litanies.” Jeanne wants us to sing with her.

Keats said the poetry of the earth is never dead, and Jeanne Shannon proves his point. Her Wildflower Press is helping keep poetry alive in many ways. She publishes attractive leaflets that scatter poems like seeds of wildflowers to take root wherever they find receptive ground. She invites area poets to submit work for the series, or subscribe; $2.00 for four issues.

The Well Under the Pawpaw Trees is $3.00 postpaid from The Wildflower Press, P.O. Box 4757, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196. Jeanne Shannon seems to be the kind of friendly writer and publisher who would enjoy hearing from you what you like best about the mountains.