Hatfield, Wright headline Fall Coffee Night at UVa-Wise

UVa-Wise literary journal “The Jimson Weed” revealed its fall 2017 publication at Coffee Night Nov. 9 before an audience of approximately 100 people in the Slemp Student Center’s Rhododendron Room.

Coffee Night is an event held each semester by “The Jimson Weed” where students, faculty and members of the community have the chance to read their poetry and prose and display original painting s and photography that appear in the literary journal.

Sharon Hatfield
Sharon Hatfield

The event began with opening remarks from professor Gillian-Huang Tiller, professor John Mark Adrian, senior Heaven Lee Parridgen and junior Dylan Mabe. Parridgen is the managing editor for the “Jimson Weed” for the 2017-2018 school year.

This semester’s Coffee Night was dedicated to the late Papa Joe Smiddy. Professor Lavonne Baker led the crowd in singing a tribute of “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg. Baker also read her poem “Remembering Papa Joe”, which appears in “Jimson Weed”.

The featured speakers for this semester’s Coffee Night were Jack Wright and Sharon Hatfield, husband and wife from Ohio. Wright and Hatfield have addressed earlier Coffee Night events.

Hatfield talked about her book “Never Seen the Moon: The Trails of Edith Maxwell”, which tells the story of a 21-year-old teacher from Pound, Virginia who was convicted for killing her father one night after she returned home late.

“Exploring the story of Edith Maxwell has been one of the greatest intellectual challenges and adventures of my life,” said Hatfield.

Jack Wright
Jack Wright

She explored the narrative of what happened to Maxwell in the court system, the representation of southwest Virginia in the national media during this time and the feminist ideals behind the case.

Hatfield revealed a little about her new work she is currently working on, set to be published late in 2018. The work is about a spiritualist in the 1850s from the Ohio area.

Wright read original prose that he had written about time he spent in this area during college and played the guitar and sang.

Wright said that one of the pieces he had written for the night was a special piece that the students in the crowd could all relate to. “Beer joints have an educational and a social use,” he said.

“We use the church key to pop open the beer cans” he said while reading about him and a group of his friends who would go up on the Indian Creek strip job to drink.

This story was a humorous recollection of a Friday evening out that took place at a local place called Berthie’s 23 – named for its location on U.S. Route 23 in Wise, Virginia –  between a group of young teens and some people in the town.

Wright also sang two songs from his CD, “Music of Coal: Mining Songs from the Appalachian Coalfields”.

Other speakers for the night include Rita Quillen, Neva Bryan, Henry Keuling-Stout, Mike Samerdyke, Sandy Yun, Karl DeLuca, J. E. Ryan, Samuel Eger, Dave Gregory, Dustin O’Dell, Lorraine Dresch, Autumn Stover, Josi Stidham and Dylan Mabe.

Opportunities to publish your own poetry, prose and original art will be available once again next semester for the spring publication of “Jimson Weed”.

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