Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I married into the South, have in-laws named Bibba and Boots, prefer Waffle House to Eggs Benedict and never use y’all as a singular form of address. That’s about the best a Brooklyn boy has to bring to the table (and I will show up at that table for greens and fried okra).

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Robert E. Wood: Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

My grandmother used to talk about Louisiana and the heat and the humidity and how her brother would take his boat into the swamps and pull catfish the size of dogs right up out of the water with his bare hands and when she married my grandfather born in Chicago they spent a miserable year down there before moving away never going back.

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M. S. Palmer: Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Having retired from teaching at a university in Ohio in 1995, Harding Stedler moved to Arkansas to spend retirement. Besides writing poetry, he volunteers at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

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Harding Stedler: Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

When I first crossed the North Carolina state line in August, 1980, my radio sang, “We love you, North Carolina.” I was driving my first car, an AMC Gremlin, one of the worst cars ever built, hauling all my possessions from my childhood home in St. Louis to Chapel Hill, where I would spend the next eight years. That jingle on the radio surprised me because I never heard anyone sing, “We love you, Missouri.” The southern half of Missouri is in many ways a colonial outpost of the South, and growing up there can induce a derivative sense of identity. I now live in Greensboro, North Carolina and like it very well. It’s almost as if I belong here.

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Ellen Summers: Four Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I have lived in Tennessee my entire life—born in Memphis, raised up and educated in and around Knoxville and worked most of my adult life in the Nashville area.

There were many stops at small towns on the way, which taught me more about life than my time spent in the halls of academia or power.

There are some basic things I understand being a Southerner. It is possible to say a great deal while actually speaking very little. A man’s clothes and car do not really tell you how much money he has in the bank. Simple things are the best—fresh eggs, having the time to paint your own porch, your children playing barefoot in the yard, an extra sunny day in late fall and plain whiskey over cold ice.

Being Southern is something you feel in your bones. You are tied to the land, your spirit grafted to the communities of mamas, daddies, granddaddies, grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, preachers, teachers friends and enemies that help raise and shape you. When I cross the Cumberland Plateau on Interstate 40 headed to East Tennessee, I feel the pull of all those places that gave birth to me deep down inside.

I am not afraid to say, as a Southerner, that I get angry – viscerally so in some cases—when the South is the butt of the joke. Basically, folks, we don’t give a damn how you did it up North.

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Clint Brewer – Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I spent years vacationing in the South, visiting friends, relatives, and have always been taken by it’s unique charm and history. In the recent past, I spent countless hours as a disaster relief volunteer in Louisiana and Mississippi, my work in shelters after hurricane Katrina has left me to feel that the South will always be part of my life.

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Helen Vitoria – Two poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I lived in Charlotte, NC, where I worked as the assistant national editor on the Charlotte Observer.

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Howie Good – Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am certainly what you would call a southern woman. I grew up in East Tennessee, married then moved to the Western North Carolina mountains then moved even further south to the upstate of South Carolina. Now divorced, I attend a small southern woman’s college while wading hip deep through the world of perm rods, hair spray and tease combs. Hairdressing keeps the mortgage payments current, and my asthma doctor’s budget in the black.

I live in a world where ya’ll is a token word in most conversations, ice tea is strong and harmful to one’s pancreas and grits is considered one of the four essential food groups. I also live in a world, that although I’ve been called a southern gal all my life, I don’t always feel like I fit in. Maybe that’s from being nerdy, somewhat bookish, and exhibiting no real talent or interest for sports of any kind, fishing, hunting, beauty contesting, baton twirling, clogging, shagging, or the baking or the frying of southern culinary delights. I also couldn’t tell you who is in the running for this year’s NASCAR driver of the year award if my life depended on it.

But where else but here in the south can you get peaches and strawberries picked fresh that morning? Where else does the hint of snow send two thirds of the county scrambling to the grocery for a week of supplies? Where else can one spend the summer partaking in the battle of trying to get something to grow in your backyard besides fire ant colonies?

What I am is woman who lives in a place I can’t imagine ever leaving. I raised my kids here, my grand-kids were born here. My four cats were deposited upon my doorstep here. I’m a southern woman, and quite content with the label. Now can someone pass me a glass of that iced tea? I’m rather parched.

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Sylvie Galloway – Two Acrostic Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Someone in my family says ‘yonder.’ Need I say more?

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Richard Shiers Jr. – “Violet” – A Poem

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in Petersburg, VA during the Korean War and lived there for the first few years of my life. Later on during the mid-seventies, I lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I was stationed for a while in the army at Fort Benning, GA. My wife was born and raised in Savannah. My parents and several of my siblings live in Florida and Virginia. My best memory of the South was a week-long camping trip I made to the Smoky Mountains in the seventies.

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William Cullen Jr.: “A Long Good bye”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

As I’ve said in the past, my Southern Legacy stems from my father’s side, born in Florala, Alabama.

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Helen Peterson – “Agape” – A Poem

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Moving to Florida when I was sixteen, we crossed the border under the shadow of a billboard which read, “This is Wallace Country.” I turned to my mother and asked who Wallace was. I had a lot to learn about The South.
Now, I’ll slip in a ya’ll once in a while and I love grits and Southern Magnolia blooms, but I still hate gators and that horrid kudzu.

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Tended by Laura Seaborn

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I know what a crawdad hole looks like and how to make sassafras tea. I know the south is a place where you can get your heart broke. I’m not the only one with that knowledge.

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Grudgeholding by Janice D. Soderling

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
My Mama celebrated the birth of my son by having her picture taken in front of the Jefferson Davis Memorial stone on First and Coliseum Streets around the corner from her house in the Garden District. When she died, I put her ashes in a Ziplock bag and flew her to La Guardia. Today she’s shelved in an urn of her breakfront in my house on Long Island. My black Labrador named Comus—in honor of the parade (Mama was a Comus maid)—has never been down south.

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At Morganza’s Gates by Lucinda Kemp

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I was born when mama was making Benedictine and daddy was drinking a Mint Julep. They were supposed to be at The Derby, and they had fine outfits. Mama had a long white dress with embroidered flowers and a huge white hat with flowers—lots and lots of yellow, pink, and white flowers. Daddy had a seersucker suit with a smart straw hat. Mama handed the Benedictine over to Granny Bray, who had come to stay with Sister. Daddy lit his pipe and said, “For this, I’m missing the Derby,” then smiled with his blue eyes and lifted my mama and carried her to the car.

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Chrissie’s Parent’s Bed by Elizabeth Glass

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I’m one of those South Arkansas kids, born and raised in the cotton fields of Chicot County and weaned on sweet tea and fried chocolate pies. I’m one of those kids who has slapped a jillion mosquitoes dead on my neck, and combed my legs for a jillion seed ticks, and fought a jillion G.I. Joes in the trenches of my rain-washed back yard gulley. In my youth, when I wasn’t outracing three-legged coon dogs on three-wheeled ATVs (me on the wheeler, not the dog), I was cane-pole fishing in the 43 Canal, down near Grandma Bernice’s house in the swarmy Dermott Delta. Under Grandma’s dusty quilt I learned to read and write, and on the brown banks of the swimming hole I learned that a good story can sometimes be one of Dad’s good ol’ fishing lies.

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Killing Nighttime by Brad McLelland

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Although I was raised in New York and lived in Iowa for five years, I saw nothing strange in a local newscaster breaking into the TV show I was watching to warn us about the quarter inch of snow predicted overnight.

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A Suburban Story by Wayne Scheer

Posted in Fiction

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I consider myself very much a southern writer, and my work generally revolves around illuminating the social struggles of where I am from. If this particular piece is not for you I look forward to submitting to you in the future and continue the courtship. Have a wonderful day.

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Polar Bears Don’t Cry by Isaac Kirkman

Posted in Blog

The Dead Mule is proud to announce Curtis Dunlap for his poem “Brickyard Road” and Norvin Dickerson for his poem “NASCAR Poet” as our nominees for Best New Poet 2012. Congratulations and best of luck to both of these fine poets. But wait … it’s not luck, is it? We…

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Dead Mule Nominees for Best New Poets 2012

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Being Southerner is a frame of mind. A view of the world, neighbors, friends and family filtered through words, thoughts, and deeds of the people that have raised you. I was fortunate to have grandparents that lived a Southern life in Arkansas where I have lived off and on since 1948. Grandpa taught me how to plow a field with a team of mules, what leaves and herbs to gather from the woods and fields to make healing poultices and teas. Grandma taught that hands were for gentle touches, caring for those you love, and cooking the best pan of biscuits any human has ever eaten. There is a lot more but when I think back over 68 years my memories are of those simple things that have shaped my life and given me the values of a Southern man. What a great way to live.

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Snakes in the Kitchen by Donald Harbour

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’ve spent, summer afternoons plucking honeysuckle blossoms and sucking the sugary sweet nectar from them.
I’ve gnawed Louisiana sugar cane until the last drop of sugar ran down my chin.
I’ve patiently licked all of the honey out of a honeycomb, and chewed the wax like gum for hours.
I’ve eaten ginger bread with lemon sauce. I’ve eaten Pralines, beignets, home made hand cranked ice cream, bread pudding, rice pudding, lemon pie, key lime pie, pineapple upside down cake, pecan pie, watermelons by the ton, cantaloupe, persimmons, figs, strawberries, Muscatine’s, fresh picked Georgia peaches and Florida oranges. . . all before 1953 when I was 10 years old. (…more within the essay)

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Solitaire by Bob Thomas

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I love Elvis Presley, Johnny Horton, Moon Pies, and RC Cola, not necessarily in that order

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Man In The Moon by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy