Mountain Empire Publications was founded by the late Kendrick B. Taylor who operated her publishing company in Clifton Forge. She donated her publishing company to Appalfolks of America Association (AAA), a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization, and AAA launched “The Appalachia Poetry Series.” Taylor selected “Beyond Star Bottom and Other Poems,” a poetry collection by Allen, for Mountain Empire Publications in 2000. Taylor, also a poet, teamed with Allen to conduct the Alleghany Highlands Poetry Workshop at the Clifton Forge Public Library for several years prior to her passing.
“The Appalachian Poetry Series” began in 2013 with Mountain Empire Publications publishing “An Appalachian Poet in San Francisco” by M. Ray Allen whose title poem won the 2013 “The Beat of Our Own Drum” poetry contest sponsored by the Green River Writers of Louisville, Kentucky. “Appalachia Moans,” another poem in the collection also won the “Just Us” poetry contest sponsored by the Green River Writers that year. Several of the other poems in “An Appalachian Poet in San Francisco” are award winning poems as well.
“The Appalachian Poetry Series” continued in 2014 with Mountain Empire Publications releasing “Appalachian Georgics and Collected Poems” by Dr. R. Parks Lanier, Jr., professor emeritus of Radford University. Like Allen’s collection, many of the poems in Lanier’s collection are award winning poems. Lanier served as Chair of the Appalachian Studies Conference for several years.
“Intervals: Appalachia to Istanbul” by Judy Light Ayyildiz, a native of West Virginia who is a longtime resident of Roanoke, Virginia, was released by Mountain Empire Publications in 2015 as the third book of the “Appalachian Poetry Series.” Ayyildiz is prolific writer who has 11 books to her credit, and like the first two collections of the series, “Intervals: Appalachia to Istanbul” contains several award winning poems.