Chrissie’s Parent’s Bed by Elizabeth Glass

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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Killing Nighttime by Brad McLelland

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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A Suburban Story by Wayne Scheer

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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Polar Bears Don’t Cry by Isaac Kirkman

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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Snakes in the Kitchen by Donald Harbour

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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Solitaire by Bob Thomas

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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Will H. Blackwell, Jr. – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Native of Mississippi (the first 21 years), I eventually wound up teaching in Ohio—but it was, after all, in the southern part of the state (Miami University). After retiring from Miami of Ohio, I returned to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama—where I had, many years before, obtained one of my degrees. And, yes, I enjoy southeastern football as much as the next person (Roll Tide!). I continue to live in Tuscaloosa, where I maintain an adjunct position at UA (in Biological Sciences), and try to stay active in research. Both my research and writings usually find an outdoor emphasis (I had almost always rather be outside than in). I am interested in surreal aspects of nature, as well as its wonderfully abundant, real aspects. The human condition (and what may befall any of us as human beings) also gets my attention. In writing poetry, I have found a narrative, free-verse approach the most effective means to communicate my particular experiences. It has seemed to me, more often than not, that the southern stories in my life are the ones that come to mind to tell.

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Brooke Salisbury – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

So I’m not sure if being from Kentucky counts as the South, since it borders on the Mason Dixon line and all, but I have always felt southern and associated myself with ‘southernness’. And now that I live in the Northwest and no one seems to know where Kentucky is and thinks that I’m “from the Midwest” I become infuriated and can only now constantly think of moving to North Carolina and romanticize even the southern bits that I used to not like so much. But alas…I do love grits. And Hoppin John. And biscuits and gravy. And I know what a Paw paw tree is. Does a lover of southern food count as being legitimately southern. I hope so.

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