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Paradox Hill

Louise McNeill
Edited by A.E. Stringer
PB  978-1-933202-37-2
PDF  978-1-935978-17-6

Purchase the Kindle Edition at Amazon


Back in print—a classic work from a West Virginia Poet Laureate!

With a new introduction by A.E. Stringer, this reprint of Louise McNeill's classic work remains as vivid as when it was first published. Containing poems from several decades of her career, Paradox Hill: From Appalachia to Lunar Shore is a must-have collection of a beloved poet's heartfelt exploration of her physical and cultural surroundings.


  • Foreword to the First Edition
  • Introduction, Arthur E. Stringer
  • Appalachia
    • Stories at Evening
    • The Roads
    • Ballad of Pete Ellers
    • Ballad of the Rest Home
    • Ballad of New River
    • Ballad of Miss Sally
    • Scotch Irish
    • Memoria
    • Hill Daughter
    • First Flight
    • Limestone Cavern
    • Sea and Fire
    • Walk in Autumn
    • The Roads
    • The Sailor
    • Garden Moment
    • Arrow Grasses by Greenbrier River
    • Involved
    • Blizzard
    • Snow Angels
    • Threnody for Old Orchards
    • Fox and Geese
    • Overheard on a Bus (Miner’s Wife)
    • Overheard on a Bus (Woman with a cleft palate)
    • Mayapple Hill
    • Heart-Wood
    • Blue and Brown
    • Gravity
    • Pasture Line Fence
    • The Old Woman
    • Over the Mountain
  • Scattered Leaves
    • To the Boys in Freshman History
    • The Dream
    • Poet
    • The Cave
    • The Golden Garden of Cuzco
    • Eden Tree
    • Warning
    • Time—The Passage of Time
    • Confession
    • Boating Song
    • The Invisible Line
    • Aubade to Fear
    • Reflection Without Color
    • Minutiae
    • Under Sea—The Unicorn
  • To Lunar Shore
    • Of Soothsayers
    • Fireseed
    • After the Blast
    • Life-Force
    • Potherbs
    • The New Corbies
    • Prophecy for the Atomic Age
    • After Hearing a Lecture on Modern Physics
    • The Martian Box
    • The Lovers—Space Age
    • Earth Day—1970
    • White Dwarf Stars
    • Space Ship
    • Projection to a Space of Lower Order
    • Lost in Orbit
    • Chain Reaction
    • “Light”
    • Quadrille of the Naked Contours
    • Earth Day 1971
    • Letter Written at Twilight
  • About the Authors


Louise McNeill was born in 1911 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. She was West Virginia Poet Laureate from 1979 until her death in 1993.

A. E. Stringer is Professor of Creative Writing at Marshall University.

Read More about Louise McNeill.


"Louise McNeill had a voice, both in person and in the poems, that was direct and forceful. Her toughness came from her resistance to the merely decorative or folksy. We still need such a voice. Her poems project a powerful presence: it is resonant with character. It is the sound of the griefs and meanings and dignities of the land and the people. It strikes me as absolutely authentic."
Irene McKinney, Poet Laureate of West Virginia and author Vivid Companion and Unthinkable

"[McNeill’s] poems have the virtue of freshness, a spontaneity that is equally evident in the lyrics and the narratives. I particularly like the ballad-like music that ranges from the matter-of-fact to the macabre. There is warmth as well as wit in the lines.”
Louis Untermeyer, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, 1961-1963

“I don’t know anybody in Appalachia, writing poetry, who equals [McNeill’s] brilliant work. Buy this book. Read it and love it. I cannot praise this excellent poet too highly.”
Jesse Hilton Stuart, Poet Laureate of Kentucky, 1954-1984


Listen to Kate Long, Colleen Anderson, and Debbie Haught read McNeil's poetry on Charleston Gazette's MountainWord blog.