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"Don't miss this book. I picked it up as a poetry break from history reading. But it turned out to be not just the best book of poetry fresh in my memory but also, both in the lyrics and the essays it includes, the best book of history. Rooted in a particular place, the South and especially the Appalachian hills; in a long time, with poems dating from as early as 1932 and as late as 1981; and in the wide experience of a man who has been a farmer, lineman, preacher, organizer, deck hand, professor, and journalist. Land of Plenty is about America over the last half a century. It is about miners, freedom, racism, sharecroppers, family, love, loss, the South, laughter, labor, hunger, and heroism...Constance Adams West's spare illustrations make Land of Plenty still more beautiful."

-Dave Roediger, Dept. of History, Northwestern U.



Publication Date



West End Press


Los Angeles, CA


Appalachia, Appalachian, literature, poetry, miners, activism, Southern, South, civil rights, Don West, values, family, love, humanity, heroes, heroism, working class, workers, labor, sharecroppers, loss, poems, writings, prose, social activism, social activists, social justice, equality, human rights, social movements


Appalachian Studies | Poetry


No Copyright [Statement]: "Purposely this book is not copyrighted. Poetry and other creative efforts should be levers, weapons to be used in the people's struggle for understanding, human rights, and decency. 'Art for Art's Sake' is a misnomer. The poet can never be neutral. In a hungry world the struggle between oppressor and oppressed is unending. There is the inevitable question: 'Which side are you on?' To be content with things as they are, to be 'neutral,' is to take sides with the oppressor who also wants to keep the status quo. To challenge the power of oppression is the poet's responsibility. Such action helps to preserve and build faith and hope in humanity. Nothing raises the spirit of the people more. This is the major mission of poet or artist. Thus no copyright, no effort to restrict use. Groups or individuals are welcome to reproduce or use any or all parts of this book." -Don West


This book is the 2nd Edition of 1985, and not the 1st Edition of 1982. The copyright (or rather, "no copyright") statement can be found in the beginning pages of this book.

[Content Warning: Because of the time of these poems, there may be more archaic names for African-Americans in the United States. Don West wrote poems on social justice and engages topics of racism in his poetry, criticizing social inequalities in his time. LMU Libraries do not support use of any terms in this book that are dated, deemed inappropriate, and/or racist. LMU Libraries condemns racism and endeavors to support antiracist practice.]

In a Land of Plenty: A Don West Reader