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.

Read More

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)

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

David Matthews – Three Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I never thought of myself as Southern, not even as a boy growing up in the house where my mother and uncles grew up on what was in their youth a small, not very successful farm in Irmo, South Carolina. Well, not in Irmo. Out toward Lake Murray back before the countryside was engulfed by suburbs. My grandfather, Mr. Dave Haltiwanger, was a schoolteacher who took over the family farm when his father died because it was his responsibility to do so. My grandmother, Mrs. Sue, some ten years younger, had been his pupil. They married soon after she graduated high school. My uncle once told me that my grandfather was not much of a farmer, woefully ill-suited to the lot that fell his way. My grandmother could saw a board or hammer a nail straighter than he ever could. I was named after my grandfather and people often remarked on my resemblance to him. Like my namesake I am not a man of practical bent and skills. While I no more think myself Southern now than I did then, I figure I shelled enough butterbeans, husked enough corn, and stepped in enough cow manure as a kid to stake some claim to Southern legitimacy if it comes to that. Even today, so many years passed and so much gone, I still think of it as home and get a little weepy when I see Granny bent over in the garden, her flowerbeds, the hog pasture, the bottoms, the pine trees my brother put out for a 4-H project, the little elementary school where four of my teachers had taught my mother, the little Lutheran church on the hill where those who mean so much to me now lie.

Read More

Timothy Dyson – Three Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born and raised in Portsmouth, Va. Father from Arkansas and I went to college briefly in North Carolina. Although it’s been a long time since I lived below the Mason Dixon, I always think of Virginia as home.

Read More

Staci R. Schoenfeld – Three Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

By virtue of both my biological (Kentucky) and adoptive (Georgia, Florida) roots, I am a southerner. Born in Georgia, I didn’t really live in the south until I moved to Kentucky. (Miami, Florida, is definitely not the South, though it is quite far south when looking at a map.) I spent quite a lot of time riding around in cars as a child and teen listening to my Aunt complain about “that damn kudzu” and that invasive plant has even found its way into a poem or two.

Read More

David S. Pointer – Two Haiku and Another Poem

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I have lived in Tennessee since 1995. My father was a piano playing bank robber. He died when I was 3 years old. When I was 11 years old, I went to live in Camelot. Of course, that was Camelot federal housing authority in Clinton, Missouri. When I was an adult I went to the National Archives in Kansas City, Missouri and discovered that my maternal grandmother Binkley’s grandmother Wilson had been a plantation owner in Kentucky. Mrs. Wilson lived to be 104 years old and died in Bates County, Missouri.

Read More