Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’ve lived in the South all my life—southeast Georgia, in fact–and currently live so far in the sticks that the turkey buzzards feed on the other turkey buzzards that have lost a vehicular battle of one sort or another.

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Berrien C. Henderson: Four Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

The summer I was fifteen I was sitting on the pier at the local swimming hole waiting for friends when I was approached by an older boy. He asked where I lived and when I replied, “Down the road a piece.” he asked, “Is that near yonder?” I knew immediately he wasn’t from the south.

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Charlotte Hamrick: Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I confess to the following: a) learned to eat (and like) grits, biscuits and ham gravy at a little cafe on the town square in Fayetteville, AR. b) one of my favorite all time authors – Barry Hannah, whose characters are The South, to wit: “We invented gin and tonic.” c) I still use the term “Y’all”; d) I talked to a man in Daytona, FL. in the early 70’s who claimed he could limp on both legs; e) in the poem “Just Past Midnight” I was the only Yankee on board.

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Robert Cory: Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’ve lived in the South my entire life thus far with the exception of a foolish year I spent in Seattle. There was a girl involved. I figure twenty-nine years in West Texas and six years in Atlanta will more than atone for my youthful indiscretion with the non-South.

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Matt Byars: Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born and raised in a small town in Western Kentucky. A progeny of a long line of southern men who know nothing but carpentry and southern disposition; hence, some might say, I am a southerner. I currently live in Illinois, but, for better or for worse, Kentucky never leaves me.

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Jonathan Patterson: Two Prose Poems and Two Haiku

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’ve lived in the South my entire life, well, except for that short time I lived in Kansas City, MO, but we won’t talk about that. I’m well-educated, but the slang still slips out, sometimes like chicken gravy, and sometimes like molasses. I have a nose-ring, and I don’t look Southern at first glance, but if you get to know me a minute, you’ll see. I’ve got that thing you can’t put your finger on about Southerners, that thing that hissy-fits through life screaming: “I’m going to forge my own path come hell or high water!” And because I’m so damn charming, you’ll never know what hit you… As my granny always says, “butter wouldn’t melt.”

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Jennifer Hollie Bowles: Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

All my folks on my momma’s side that I know of came to Oklahoma from South Carolina and Kentucky, on the Southern route. I grow collard greens, sweet potatoes, and okra in my vegetable garden (or did, before I moved to the mountains of New Mexico. Does anybody know of you can grow okra in the mountains?). I used to try to hide my accent but have decided it’s an asset. My husband likes to tell the story of when we were in a Powdrell’s, a barbeque restaurant in Albuquerque, and the owner, a man from East Texas, came all the way acrost the room to tell me how much he loved to hear me git excited about finding “sweet-tea” on the menu. And anyway, Oklahoma (especially eastern and southern Oklahoma, where I’m from) is a Southern state where the eighth college of the Seven Sisters of the South was founded, where barbeque is a sacrament (served dry, sauce on the side), and where I learned to eat granny’s homemade chow chow with beans. The story of Sarah Venable Little as told in my poem, my great-great-great is true so far as I know it; the baby she’s carrying is my great-great grandpa. The diary section is purely imaginary.

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Jeanetta Calhoun Mish: Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I lived in Savannah, GA for some odd years. I’m awfully fond of the way it feels when I say the word “Tupelo”. The last girl I kissed was from Florida.

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Ry Frazier: Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was raised in and around Edenton, NC, mostly working on farms. I learned about enduring August heat, working with mules, and how to get to the end of the next row of peanuts by singing and creating diversions in my head. All that served me well in later life. I learned the 3 R”s and ended up in Richmond, VA. where I have been a counselor for the last 30+ years

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George Nixon: Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am married to one of the most beautiful Southern belles from Mobile.

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Philip C. Kolin: “Farewell Big Easy: A Post-Katrina Eulogy”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’ve wanted to live in the South since my college days, in the late 60’s. In part, this was due to a desire to find a climate nearly ideal: higher elevations in lower latitudes, such as southern Appalachia or perhaps the Ozarks. Later, I nursed a wistful wish to dwell where people encountered on the street were more likely to say “good morning” than to avert their eyes.

Although I have never lived in the South for any great length of time, I have seen the dogwood blooming along I-40 in Tennessee, camped out in the Great Smoky Mountains one early spring not too far from Asheville, NC, helped a friend erect a greenhouse in Melfa VA, eaten some awesome pork-laden collard greens near Pine Mountain GA, and watched the sun set over the bay in Biloxi MS. I could go on.

The South is the epicenter of bluegrass music, and that fact alone might have been enough to clinch it for me.

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C. B. Anderson: “Some Dark Hollow”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I kissed a girl once in a fellowship hall. And no I’m not telling you who it was—she still goes to church there.

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A. C. Lambert: “Poem to that great big Boss in the sky”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Fish sandwiches after church. Blue hallelujahs. Gossip. Grits on toasted Wonder Bread, never wheat. And tea so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt. I’m a northern transplant but Santee, South Carolina is my original home. People visit there now for its golf courses and to drink at Myrtle Beach. But I miss the paper plant that smelled like sugar when crossing the bridge, my grandfather’s shop that sold boiled turtle eggs and bootleg crab, and the red ants and bullfrogs that followed me around during the summers.

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Cynthia Manick: “Ethel September”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a resident of Tennessee and grew up in West Virginia. My poems come from life in the South.

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JD DeHart: “Coffee Cans”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born in Mississippi before living in Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida (in the South, but not Southern) and settling in Georgia.

It is not ‘hot’ until above 95, nor humid below 95%. Anything less is ‘muggy’ at best.

Catfish is only meant to be cooked by frying in cornmeal. Blackened is acceptable if a fryer is not available and you have kin from New Orleans to tell you how.

Sweet potatoes are a vegetable.

Cornbread does not contain flour, only cornmeal, and it is best served for breakfast Monday morning extra crispy with butter and sorghum.

Most parts of every meal can be cooked in a cast iron skillet, possibly the same one. Sometimes at the same time.

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Mark Windham: “Different Flowers”

Posted in Blog

We note with sorrow the passing last week [July 22, 2012] of the quintessential dead mule signifier: Jerry Leath Mills of Washington, North Carolina. His passing leaves a hole in the heart of any discussion of southern equine fiction. As noted in his obituary in the Washington Daily News: His…

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Jerry Leath “Jake” Mills, a dead mule inspiration

Posted in Fiction

I consider myself to be a Southerner with Northern tendencies, an illegitimate daughter of the South if you will. I was born in Ohio to parents who were born and bred in Alabama. They felt their southern roots wilting when I was five years old, so they uprooted their flower child from sidewalks, snow, and front stoops, and transplanted me in red clay of Alabama, the Magnolia trees of Mississippi, and right up on my Big Mama’s front porch.
Whenever my Northern idiosyncrasies began to surface, my parents would send to one of my grandmothers for some Southern reconditioning. It was in the kitchens of Nellie Willis and Annie Jones that I learned some vital Southern lessons: 1. In the South there are canisters on kitchen counters that contain sugar, flour, corn meal and grits– store brand sugar is acceptable, but anything other than Martha White Self-Rising flour, Sunflower corn meal, and Jim Dandy grits, and you’ll have a sure-fire riot on your hands. 2. There are as many ways to cook grits as there are women who cook grits, just smile and rave about not ever having had a finer bowl of grits and you’ll be okay. 3. Every kitchen counter has two blue cans of Crisco, one that actually has Crisco in it, and the other to hold bacon drippings. (Don’t ask questions, just eat.) 4. Sweet tea comes two ways down here, cold and sweet. You can make it on the stove top, you can make on the back porch, you can add lemon, mint, peaches or berries– just don’t make it from a jar of instant powder mix, and don’t make it with sugar substitute– if you ask for unsweetened tea down here, you’re libel to end up with a cold glass of ice water. 5. The best seasoning for greens, peas, beans, squash, and corn? Meat. Preferably smoked meat. Preferably the neck, hock, or tail of a turkey, hog, or ox. Running short on meat? (That’s what that can of bacon drippings is for.)
I am a Southerner, by way of Ohio, transplanted in Mississippi, with kudzu-like attachments to Alabama.

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The Front Porch by Tracei Willis

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Born and raised in Arkansas with a hog pen in the front yard and pond in the back–grits on the stove. In these parts the Civil War is only referred to as The War of Northern Aggression. I grew up about three miles from Clifton Clowers and if you don’ t know who that is, I’ll have to ask you about your southern legitimacy. I could also tell you about the fishing, the trees and much cattle.

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Running the Dogs by James Dunlap

Posted in Blog

The Dead Mule is getting too many poems submitted without a Southern Legitimacy Statement. Now we are southern and polite, so we usually return these and point out the error. But we are getting more submissions these days, so please stop wasting our time, or one day we might just…

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Poems Submitted Without a Southern Legitimacy Statement

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

The son of a North Carolinian and a South Carolinian, I grew up near the border–in southwest North Carolina, just outside Hendersonville. My childhood neighborhood was bounded by a cornfield, railroad tracks, a cow pasture, U.S. 64., and (on two sides) what we all called “the creek.” Except for a college semester in London, I’ve never lived outside the South. I’m confounded by people who tell me, “You don’t have a Southern accent.” Maybe I don’t talk like a Clampett, but if I’m not Southern, I don’t know who is.

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Robert West: Six Short Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Though I grew up in southern Missouri, twenty miles from Kentucky and Tennessee, I have lived in Boone, North Carolina for the past two decades. Currently I live back in a holler, two miles from Snake Mountain, just off Meat Camp Road, Daniel Boone’s old stomping ground. Two years ago I raised a pet pig, but today I only live with my wife, two horses, three dogs, five cats, and three chickens.

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Mark Vogel:Four Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

My dead Aunt Sheri Lynn (R.I.P.) drank so much sweet tea, when the doctor took her off it, she hid tea bags in the couch cushions. I cracked pecans with great aunts Sissie, Tricie, Virgie, Jewel (married to Rule), Bobbie, Nanny, … I forgot the rest of their names. I used to live across the street from ‘Skynyrd’s summer home on the river. I’ve dated a Molly Hatchet Roadie. Uncle Eddie (also R.I.P.) had the ‘Hatchet gold record on his wall centered perfectly between two buck heads that he picked up in a pawn shop after a twenty year + dispute with the band over pulling the plug on one of their early shows (“Loulou, I’m the only man to ever pull the plug on Hatchet!”) If none of this works, I have a rope swing scar.

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Laura Minor: Four Poems