Category: Poetry

Ray Sharp – “Ozark Spring Suite” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

The son of two Yankee carpetbaggers, I was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, a border town where the residents, Lou-uh-villians, brag about the fact that they don’t live in Indiana. In fifth grade, when Jim Rife asked me if I were a Yank or a Reb, I was confused because of my alien parentage, and replied “Well, the North won, so that makes us all Yankees now, right?” Wrong! But now that I live in the land of perpetual snow, I miss the dogwoods and magnolias in springtime, tubing through the Red River Gorge in summer, cross-country meets at Seneca Park in the fall, and UL and UK basketball in the winter (go Cards!). I can tell you exactly where I was when Christian Laettner hit that turn-around buzzer-beater over two Wildcat defenders to lead Duke to the Final Four. And my favorite breakfast is the cheese eggs, raisin toast, grits and black coffee at—where else?—Waffle House.

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Barbara Young – “Rough as a Cob” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and still have my cradle roll certificate from the First Baptist Church. I have chased hens off nests in blackberry rows, and used two-holer–winter and summer. I am, however, left-justified to an extreme and if attacked, apt to become passive-aggressive.

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Maryann Corbett – “Depression Glass: Blue Bowl” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I grew up in McLean, Virginia, before there was a Beltway to provide a line of demarcation between Those Government People and Real Virginians. I further qualified myself by going to college at William and Mary, where my classmates had Southern accents and there were actual magnolias trees and crape myrtle bushes on campus. You mustn’t hold it against me that I moved to Minnesota for graduate school and ended up staying here, where my thin Southern blood freezes every January.

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Mary Ellen Allen – “The Sweet, Sweet South” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I would be a Southerner even if I was not a Southerner. I was born and raised in Mississippi. Not just Mississippi, but South Mississippi, South South Mississippi. If someone asks me who I am, I say, “I am a Mississippi girl.” I moved to Tennessee as a teenager, but we all know Tennessee is not the real South. They try hard, so we have to give them some credit. I have written several poems about the South in my Creative Writing class and these are actually the first poems I have ever written. I hope you like them. Thank you for taking the time to read them.

Mary Ellen Allen (Look! I even have a Southern name!)

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David McLain – “Texas”

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

David Lee McLain is the great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E Lee, the second cousin twice removed of Harper Lee, and a first cousin three times removed of that classiest of all southern gentlemen, Baby-Faced Nelson. He is currently on loan to an institute of higher learning in the Northeast, but is hoping to see the dry plains of Texas very soon.

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Robert James Laws, III – “We didn’t know” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a native of North Carolina, a devoted fan of Duke basketball, and a hopeless Cheerwine addict. I’m also a vegan, and the worst part of eschewing animal products is not being able to eat a bowl of grits drowned in at least a stick of butter, and Lexington style barbeque. OK, so I do cheat once in a while, most likely because my Georgia Granny used her finger dipped in sausage gravy as my first- and favorite- pacifier. I lived outside of the South for 4 years while attending seminary in Pittsburgh, but high-tailed it back down South of Mason-Dixon the day after graduation, accepting a position in an Episcopal Church in Savannah, Georgia. My proudest achievement: teaching Yankees how to say y’all and all y’all.

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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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