Category: Poetry

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

Ann Fox Chandonnet – “Sapphic” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

My husband and I retired to Vale, North Carolina, five years ago. After more than three decades in Alaska, we wanted to find a spot to grow tomatoes and corn. We learned that digging into red dirt is like digging into concrete; I am now known for breaking shovels. Gardening in Southern weather, I also realized that my knees can actually sweat—a fact I was ignorant of before living here.

Read More

Scott Owens – “I Would Not Deny It” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

To Be a Wrestler

Dusty from his last defeat
he rises from the mat,
screams defiance, spins
with flair around the ring,
grapples whatever dares
stand before him, runs,
jumps, flexes, flings
his body against the ropes,
locks legs, arms,
heads into submission.

Victorious he stands
in the center of the ring,
arm upraised, head
thrown back in laughter,
awaits the next challenger,
sees him, seizes him
by the throat, swaps chop
for chop, stroke for stroke,
staggers, falls, is raised
to the sky, dropped to the mat,
sat upon for the count
of one two three,
loses, leaves, already
planning his return, knowing
defeat is never final,
knowing tomorrow he can start
again, knowing even death
or disbarment demands
only another mask,
another outrageous name.

Read More

Rose Auslander – “Hurricane Irene” – A Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’m a Louisianan, once removed, from Shreveport—where sweating in the sun in the brambles behind my step-grandma’s backyard, gathering the wild strawberries that grew there, and stealing a few from my sweaty hands, from the batches meant for jam, was the most delicious thing ever.

Read More