Carole Poppleton – Rituals of Beauty

I grew up on grits, greens and biscuits with sawmill gravy. I never knew vegetables could be cooked without pork fat (strained and recycled from my mom’s Maxwell House coffee can) until I went away to college. One of the highlights of my childhood was driving throught the streets of Birmingham, AL, and giggling at the crack of Vulcan’s ass as an enormous statue of the iron god sits atop the main hill in 5-Points South.

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Ray Clifton – Zombies in the South

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I grew up in the southern edge of the Blue Ridge in central Alabama, the product of a father from the cotton mill village and a mother who lived on the “respectable” side of the railroad tracks. A forester by trade, I roam the back roads of Alabama meeting people and looking for stories. Besides reading and writing, my interests include old country music, motorcycles, pork barbecue, and fine Boxer bulldogs.

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Alberto Alzamora – Conversations with Dad

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
My Latino roots offer a unique perspective to my Southern legitimacy. I was raised so far in the South it’s not even the South to many, that’s how far south I lived, Miami to be exact. Eventually I moved up with you “northerner’s” to Raleigh, North Carolina, and was introduced to a pig pickin’ almost immediately. My friendly neighbors weren’t impressed about how we Colombians do the exact same thing, but they were awful polite! So here I am, a stranger in a strange land, 5 years now. I say hey, not good morning, and my wife is hot on the trail of the best hushpuppy recipe she can find. Legitimacy established!

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Tish Rogers Mosely – Recollections

Miss Tish was born and raised in Middle Tennessee where she still makes her home with her first husband J. and their sooner pup, Frances Montgomery. Where “take your shoes off and stay awhile” is not an invitation but a way of life. Where everyone has an Aunt Sis and Uncle Junior and no one outgrows their nickname. Where it’s football on Friday, grapplin’ on Saturday, and preachin’ on Sunday. Where cuttin’ your own switch is the price of forgettin’ your manners and “because Mama said so,” and “wait ’til your Daddy gets home,” keeps you on the straight and narrow. Where “bless your heart” is better than cussin’. And, the two things you’d save in a fire are the family Bible and your ‘naner puddin’ bowl.

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Sharon Stephenson – The Homing Mule

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Even though I was born in Kentucky (which is NOT Deep South), I was raised in Mississippi, schooled in Mississippi, college-educated in Mississippi and North Carolina. When I found permanent employment in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, my Maw asked if I was moving because I was tired of the Vicksburg battlefield and wanted something new. Let it be known that since I moved here in 1997, only one state has bothered to put a NEW monument on the Gettysburg battlefield. Guess which one? Of course. Mississippi.

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Foster Cameron Hunter – “Just the Tip” – A Chapbook

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

As a proper southern gentleman, born and raised in Charlotte NC, I enjoy sweet iced tea, occasionally bourbon (mixed together with my sweet iced tea, umm, umm good), fried chicken, seersucker suits (preferably the classic blue stripe on white), muscadines (and the wine derived there from), sweet potato custard (at least that’s what my grandma called it), and of course, G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised In The South).

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Robert S. King – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Only the military draft could get me to leave the South where I was born and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I grew up in chigger heaven, the red clay hills of Georgia, but somehow my neck never reddened. My accent could never choose sides either, owing to my heavy books and a thing called free verse.

I never wanted to put a hood over my head, much less burn Jesus’ cross, but my great great grandma shot a rapist union solider during the War Between the States (ain’t nobody calls it “The Civil War” around these parts). That’s still a story whispered with pride at family Sunday dinners (I mean “lunches” for you Northerners, and suppers are when you eat dinners—you damn backward yankees!).

In my growing years, I lived near a church and a still. In those woods I bet I could still find a still, and I bet too that I could find some of them still workers in church on Sunday puttin’ some ill-begotten gains in the collection plate.

The South has changed, but it still has a unique soul. For better or worse, I’m not just whistlin’ Dixie.

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Annmarie Lockhart – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a lifelong resident of Bergen County NJ. I break out in hives when I drive south of Exit 13 on the NJ Turnpike. But I do believe that Jersey girls and our Southern peers are bound in sisterhood by our shared appreciation for hair with body and mutual acceptance of our role as some of the few natural predators of stinkbugs.

In addition:

1. Virginia ham is proof of the existence of God and the insurmountable obstacle to my ever becoming a vegetarian.
2. Bruton Parish Church is my second favorite church in the whole wide wold.
3. I know that “Bless his heart” means “I hate that guy, he’s a total ass.”
4. I have been to the Piggly Wiggly. And when I was there an old man touched my bare arm with a gallon of freezing cold milk. After I jumped, he said, “Just checkin’ to see if you were a Yankee.” I said, “F**k off.” He said, “Yep. Yankee.”
5. I know that Orlando, while located technically IN the South, has more in common with Vegas than Atlanta. I confess to loving it anyway.
6. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All is on my top 10 favorite books of all time list. My top 100 list would include Twain, Walker, Morrison, Faulkner, and John Jakes’ North and South trilogy (yes, all three volumes), sadly, at a rank much higher on the list than it rightfully deserves, but hey, we all have our guilty pleasures.

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J. B. Hogan – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

By now I’m beginning to run out of ways to describe how I am southern. How about born and raised in the south? How about educated in the south? How about when I moved away from the south people used to make fun of my accent – actually my own family used to make fun of my accent when I was a kid! How was that possible? They spoke exactly the same way I did. Whenever I’m outside the south, I am often asked: where are you from? Only people with clear regional speech patterns (like somebody from New Joizy, for example) are ever asked that question. Because I’m from Arkansas, people like to ask me if I go to family reunions to meet girls. Only if they are first cousins twice-removed or third cousins, I tell them. That usually stalls that whole line of questioning because I think keeping track of your family connections to that degree, while not exclusively so, is pretty southern in and of itself. I was gone from my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas for the better part of 40 years. Now I’m back and have become a local historian. I document our history: our local, southern history. I hope that pretty well covers the legitimacy part!

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Mary Ann Potter – Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

We moved to North Carolina from Michigan way back in 1983, and I learned right away that I’d better learn the proper accent when I resumed my high school teaching career down here. I remember pronouncing a vocabulary word for a quiz and was met with puzzled gazes from the kids. So I affected the Raleigh accent (and that’s only one of many down here!) and was then understood, bless my heart. Further proof of my Southern legitimacy is here on Windy Hollow Farm outside of Oxford; we left North Raleigh for the country back in April and live on 55 acres of rural paradise. The fancy-schmancy Oxford address doesn’t tell the true nature of this place; to get here you have to go through Stem and Shoofly. Really. We have all the requisite farm stuff here, but our claim to fame is actually in one corner of the property, out of sight and known to few, several old rusty hulks of cars left there by the old owners. One can still be identified as a ’51 Oldsmobile. A couple of them are just wrinkled steel, either supported by or smashed by the trees. We’re actually proud of all this wonderful, historic stuff. And we have no plans to move it! (Can’t. it takes a major little hike through our woods to even get to it.)

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