We have some ever-so-fine poetry for you this month. Sixteen poets. New fiction will be online on the 15th. New creative non-fiction and essays available then also. Fred Hawkins’ photography will be featured — I’m working on it right now.
You all know the Southern Legitimacy Statement … right …? One of our poets sent us a Southern Literacy Statement. In all these years, over 15 of ’em, no one’s ever done that. I’ve never even thought of that but now, seeing it – it makes me pause and wonder why this didn’t occur sooner. Or perhaps it did but because we see what we’re trained to see, we didn’t notice.
Living out here in eastern North Carolina, illiteracy is a huge problem. (nice segue, eh?) Our schools have high drop out rates, low test scores, and my county had an illiteracy rate of 60% when I used to volunteer for the local literacy council back in the early 2000s.
Since writer’s thoughts tend to be linear in a circuitous fashion, my conversation with Me about literacy brought me to our dear friend Edward who retired recently. Edward reads at or below a third grade level. He brings any complicated reading (legal correspondence, contracts and such) to us for interpretation and discussion. Edward can fix anything. He can paint a house, wash your car, and rev up a chainsaw and bring down a dead 150 year old pecan tree and use a come-along amd a stump grinder to clean up the trunk. He’s a quality brick mason and a decent concrete sidewalk repair man. If Edward doesn’t know how to work something; he knows someone who can and he’ll get him for you. If you want to sell it, have it hauled away, or put it in the attic of the garage — Edward is your man.
When we went to Costa Rica a few years ago, Edward checked on Mama every few days to make sure she was safe and didn’t need for anything.
Edward maybe can’t read so well but he sure as hell exemplifies a what would constitute a good Southern Literacy Statement.
Hope that makes sense to you. I’ve been stuck in this here bed for over a week what with the flu turning into strep throat and antibiotics make my brain wonky. And yes, I did get my flu shot. Fat lot of good it did me. Ya’ll need to take care of yourselves through this flu season, you don’t want to get wonky-brained like me.
-Val MacEwan, Editor
on the eve of the February 2012 issue