Category: Poetry

Foster Cameron Hunter – “Just the Tip” – A Chapbook

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

As a proper southern gentleman, born and raised in Charlotte NC, I enjoy sweet iced tea, occasionally bourbon (mixed together with my sweet iced tea, umm, umm good), fried chicken, seersucker suits (preferably the classic blue stripe on white), muscadines (and the wine derived there from), sweet potato custard (at least that’s what my grandma called it), and of course, G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised In The South).

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Robert S. King – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Only the military draft could get me to leave the South where I was born and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I grew up in chigger heaven, the red clay hills of Georgia, but somehow my neck never reddened. My accent could never choose sides either, owing to my heavy books and a thing called free verse.

I never wanted to put a hood over my head, much less burn Jesus’ cross, but my great great grandma shot a rapist union solider during the War Between the States (ain’t nobody calls it “The Civil War” around these parts). That’s still a story whispered with pride at family Sunday dinners (I mean “lunches” for you Northerners, and suppers are when you eat dinners—you damn backward yankees!).

In my growing years, I lived near a church and a still. In those woods I bet I could still find a still, and I bet too that I could find some of them still workers in church on Sunday puttin’ some ill-begotten gains in the collection plate.

The South has changed, but it still has a unique soul. For better or worse, I’m not just whistlin’ Dixie.

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Annmarie Lockhart – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a lifelong resident of Bergen County NJ. I break out in hives when I drive south of Exit 13 on the NJ Turnpike. But I do believe that Jersey girls and our Southern peers are bound in sisterhood by our shared appreciation for hair with body and mutual acceptance of our role as some of the few natural predators of stinkbugs.

In addition:

1. Virginia ham is proof of the existence of God and the insurmountable obstacle to my ever becoming a vegetarian.
2. Bruton Parish Church is my second favorite church in the whole wide wold.
3. I know that “Bless his heart” means “I hate that guy, he’s a total ass.”
4. I have been to the Piggly Wiggly. And when I was there an old man touched my bare arm with a gallon of freezing cold milk. After I jumped, he said, “Just checkin’ to see if you were a Yankee.” I said, “F**k off.” He said, “Yep. Yankee.”
5. I know that Orlando, while located technically IN the South, has more in common with Vegas than Atlanta. I confess to loving it anyway.
6. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All is on my top 10 favorite books of all time list. My top 100 list would include Twain, Walker, Morrison, Faulkner, and John Jakes’ North and South trilogy (yes, all three volumes), sadly, at a rank much higher on the list than it rightfully deserves, but hey, we all have our guilty pleasures.

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J. B. Hogan – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

By now I’m beginning to run out of ways to describe how I am southern. How about born and raised in the south? How about educated in the south? How about when I moved away from the south people used to make fun of my accent – actually my own family used to make fun of my accent when I was a kid! How was that possible? They spoke exactly the same way I did. Whenever I’m outside the south, I am often asked: where are you from? Only people with clear regional speech patterns (like somebody from New Joizy, for example) are ever asked that question. Because I’m from Arkansas, people like to ask me if I go to family reunions to meet girls. Only if they are first cousins twice-removed or third cousins, I tell them. That usually stalls that whole line of questioning because I think keeping track of your family connections to that degree, while not exclusively so, is pretty southern in and of itself. I was gone from my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas for the better part of 40 years. Now I’m back and have become a local historian. I document our history: our local, southern history. I hope that pretty well covers the legitimacy part!

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Mary Ann Potter – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

We moved to North Carolina from Michigan way back in 1983, and I learned right away that I’d better learn the proper accent when I resumed my high school teaching career down here. I remember pronouncing a vocabulary word for a quiz and was met with puzzled gazes from the kids. So I affected the Raleigh accent (and that’s only one of many down here!) and was then understood, bless my heart. Further proof of my Southern legitimacy is here on Windy Hollow Farm outside of Oxford; we left North Raleigh for the country back in April and live on 55 acres of rural paradise. The fancy-schmancy Oxford address doesn’t tell the true nature of this place; to get here you have to go through Stem and Shoofly. Really. We have all the requisite farm stuff here, but our claim to fame is actually in one corner of the property, out of sight and known to few, several old rusty hulks of cars left there by the old owners. One can still be identified as a ’51 Oldsmobile. A couple of them are just wrinkled steel, either supported by or smashed by the trees. We’re actually proud of all this wonderful, historic stuff. And we have no plans to move it! (Can’t. it takes a major little hike through our woods to even get to it.)

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Eve Lyons – Heroes

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in New Orleans, LA and lived in San Antonio, Texas from the age of 3 until I was 18. I also lived there on and off until I was 22, when I moved to Oregon and then Boston. Hopefully that is sufficient Southern credentials!

*ValNote:

This poem was originally scheduled for January 2012 publication and I regret any inconvenience caused by the February publication. A fine poem like this deserves our full attention!

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Charlotte Hamrick – Four poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’ve lived all but eight of my more than 50 years in the south. If that doesn’t qualify me as a southerner, my crazy Tennessee Williams-style life certainly would.

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John R. Shaw – Three Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in Mississippi, raised in Arkansas, schooled in Louisiana, and employed in Alabama. I like fried catfish, and okra, and collard greens. I spent summer days of my childhood at Dogpatch USA and Horsehead Lake. And listened to stories about “my people” that my Grandmother told.

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Aaron J. Poller – Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement: 

A Northerner by birth, I have become a confirmed Southerner after living in North Carolina for the past nine years. Sometimes people try to tell me that North Carolina is not part of the South. Personally, as long as I can park the Honda on my front lawn, I don’t consider myself a Northerner anymore.

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Kelly Clayton – Two Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

French drip coffee, buttered toast with fresh figs smashed on top, and a sprinkle of sugar. My eye shades roll open for my New Orleans breakfast. I was born in Louisiana just like every single one of my relatives. The few who left came back. I’m a Creole poet, lover of Mardi Gras, thunder storms, and Gulf shrimp, even though I’m allergic to them. I’m so hardcore I just takes a Benadryl then eat them anyway.

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Jennifer Lobaugh – Two Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I have lived my entire barefoot-walking, gravy-eating, Johnny-Cash-loving life in the great state of Oklahoma. My grandpa picked cotton, my dad raised pigs; I guess I chose a little different direction by going to school for literature and languages. Sure, I’ve left Oklahoma a few times, but I always come back to the home of Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie, where people say “y’all” unironically and the sunsets are actually breathtaking; where Sooner football is a way of life, and my sweet tea addiction is somehow socially acceptable.

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Shenan Hahn – Two Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born in Northern VA, spent a childhood split between full-time living there and part-time living in the Shenandoah Valley, and all of my college years in Harrisonburg, VA (also in the Valley). Did not fully realize the extent of the “Southernness” of my mannerisms until faced with my husband (then boyfriend) who had spent many of his formative years in Connecticut, and would often needle me about the accent that slipped out with certain words. The following conversation occurred one day: “Please. ‘Y’all’ isn’t a Southern phrase. Maybe it’s associated with the South, but it’s just a common phrase. Everyone says it.” “Um, no, they don’t.” “Yes they do! Who doesn’t say ‘y’all’?” “People from above the Mason-Dixon line.” “Seriously??” “…Have you ever actually been up north?” “Yes, I have, thank you very much. Wait, what else do they not do?” Things that were concluded to, apparently, not be part of the northern experience (news to me!): grits, scrapple, okra (I know okra doesn’t grow in the desert, but there are really places where okra is just not eaten?), the phrase “ain’t nothin’ doin’,” getting to miss school for the opening day of trout season, and calling Jefferson Davis “Jeff” Davis, “as if we all knew the guy.”

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