Marah Blair “My Grandfather’s House”

Southern Legitimacy Statement
I was born in the “sticks” of Central Virginia. Silos across the street, bare feet in the freshly tilled garden patch, and mud fights in the rain. I am a very big fan of sweet tea, biscuits with real salted butter, and good old fashion bon fires. The south is very dear to my heart.

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December 2012 Poetry

Photography redux in this issue… Little did we know, back then, that most of these iconic Southern buildings would be long gone by 2012. Hurricanes and floods destroyed every building in the images featured in the poetry section. If damaged by Bertha, the death of the buildings was assured post-Dennis and Floyd.

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Ray Sharp: Wind Fierce as Love

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I left the South many years ago as a young man, yet still on long winter nights I ask myself why. The Northern Lights are beautiful with their cold and alien glow, but I surely miss sticky summers in the Ohio River Valley, honeysuckle vine on the back fence, and the soft lilting way that Laura is pronounced Laahrah.

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L. A. Lawton: Four Poems

I’ve lived more than half my 74 years in the South, mostly by choice. I regard “y’all” as a perfectly legitimate second-person plural. I make super crabcakes and key lime pie, but I don’t eat grits out of loyalty to my mama’s Hoosier corn pudding. I have a photo of me with Eudora Welty, dated one of her cousins in New York in the sixties, and wish I’d ever encountered Flannery O’Connor; I knew a man who had. I’ve been kissed on the cheek by two Southern bishops, one for a glass of wine and one for finding him a C.S. Lewis poem with the word “longanimity” in. One of my great-great-grandmothers was a Virginian who eloped with an abolitionist lawyer and another one pioneered Midwest from Carolina, where I plan to leave my dust.

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Gretchen A. Bateman: Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born in Connecticut, raised in Maryland (yes, it’s below the Mason Dixon Line!) and now living in Tennessee, I have come to realize that I am a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. I’ve been writing since I was a child and had my first poem published at the age of 8. I enjoy the outdoors, sports, and trying to emulate the Tennessee twang.

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Will H. Blackwell, Jr.: Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am from Mississippi (Jackson area), and attended school in Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas—“postdocing” in Missouri. After a brief sojourn in Ohio (a mere 26 years!), teaching at Miami University (They were kind enough to offer me a job), I returned to the South—stepwise (following my illustrious, biologist wife, Martha Powell)—first to northwest central-Virginia (Harrisonburg, James Madison University), and then to, you guessed it, “Sweet Home …….” (where I am adjunct in Biological Sciences, U of AL). So, who says, “You can’t go home again”?—or, almost, anyway. I have been back in Alabama for the last 15 years (and a bit); so, if you are counting, you will realize, I ain’t no “spring-chicken!” But I have tried to stay active: in research—on microscopic, freshwater Fungi (Hey, they deserve study too!), especially forms occurring in the southeastern U.S.—and in writing (on the occasional occasion of “inspiration”). The narrative-poem style is a good vehicle to express certain experiences in my life—or flights-of-fancy pertaining thereto. I hope you enjoy what I have written.

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Betty O’Hearn: Three Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love. Over thirty five years ago I followed a path that took me from Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Florida and finally to rest in North Carolina. As I have lived below the Mason-Dixon more than half my life, I am part of the South. However, I must stipulate that the South will not rise again. One last thing… grits and barbecue will never touch my lips.

Poetry Editor’s Note:

The Dead Mule wishes to congratulate Betty O’Hearn on the occasion of her first published poems.

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Karen Chinetti: Three Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, daughter of a native North Carolinian, and graduate of Northern Kentucky University. I’m southern by choice and birth. My poetry has a little hint of southern influence, too.

Poetry Editor’s Note:

The Dead Mule wishes to congratulate Karen Chinetti on the occasion of her first published poems.

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Pris Campbell: Two Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born and raised in a small town with one stoplight and one caution light in South Carolina. I still would do almost anything for a platter of fried okra or fried green tomatoes. I never have learned to pronounce the ‘g’ in words ending in ‘ing’ and don’t intend to. My father invented to perfection the secret hush hush barbecue recipe for the Lion’s Club annual all night wood-smoked cooking and basting of the pig the town feasted on the next day. And we in the south know real barbecue isn’t just meat tossed on a grill with a bottle of red stuff poured on it. My great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. He owned a mule. That mule is now dead.

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Lori Blake: Two Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in North Carolina. My first home was a 12’ X 48’ mobile home situated on a red clay patch that had once been a watermelon field. I lived a free range childhood, spending many a day avoiding summer heat by hiding deep in the woods, catching crayfish and minnows in the creek, observing termites on old logs, or trying to push my brothers into the creek beside of the big rock we were convinced housed a snake. We roamed in a pack, which probably explains the lack of wildlife sightings during my childhood years. Imagine ten children running barefoot down a trail their feet knew by heart, knowing just when to jump to clear the old hog fence now hidden by vines. We ruled the woods, and thought we ruled the world! It was not until many years had passed that I would realize how rare that kind of freedom really is.

It was not until I moved to Europe in the early 1990’s (my husband was Army) that I realized that 1) I did indeed have a Southern accent 2) Not everyone puts slaw on a hot dog and 3) a toboggan is a sled, not a hat! Well, who knew? My hiatus from the south was brief, and I am now back to stay. While I love to travel, I will always come home to where the dirt is orange, the tea is sweet, and dead mules are mourned.

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