Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’ve swallowed moonshine and lived to brag about it; escaped a copperhead’s randy tongue; ridden a tobacco setter … More
Southern Legitimacy Statement river town sleepy town cajuncreole spicy foods filé gumbo sultry air pop guns china berry trees joie … More
Southern Legitimacy Statement: There is a warmness to the South. Beyond the obvious, the steamy summers and Goddawful humidity, its … More
SLS: Though I was not born or raised in the South, I have lived in Georgia, Texas, and in North … More
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I hereby swear that I love my MaMaw and see her about once a year. I know … More
SLS – I’ve swallowed moonshine and lived to brag about it; escaped a copperhead’s randy tongue; ridden a tobacco setter … More
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’m from a small town just outside Cowtown (Fort Worth to those who don’t know better), with white gravel roads that claimed my front teeth one time and the skin off my knees and hands a few more times. I’m from a place that meant running around with no shirt or shoes from May to September, trips to Mott’s 5 and 10, and visits to grandma down around Houston to work the fields, each her famous drop cookies, and help her cook pie or cobbler or wild grape jelly. Dad was a cop and mom stayed home, and I’m still close by, though the town has changed and the light in town has a few new friends and a new toll road for competition. The fire department closest is still volunteer and football will always be king on Friday night.
I am from Southside Virginia, where Virginia and North Carolina meet in a red dirt tangle of back roads and … More
My bio is simple: every dirt road in Lexington County has blood on it. I was born from that blood. I was born southern to a fading fall of split chins, calluses, and hog killing; every pine tree has my face on it. I didn’t grow up with poetry in my house, so I stole it. I carry the scar of South Carolina on my left knee.
In my hometown, most of the farms were already ruined before I got there. We grew pot in the chicken houses, mixed mash behind the junk yard, shot wild dogs. This was long before mobile meth labs, long before we defiled ourselves with cornbread and copper wiring. And I always wanted more from boiled peanuts.
I don’t want to be defined beyond a history that is not mine. I am not the story of every kid who punched back the dust, pulled up re-election signs, and threw bricks through school windows. I am not the story of every broken bottle on the straw. I am the straw.
Southern Legitimacy Statement
Ma-Ma would take Bo and me digging for sassafras roots in the woods next door. She would boil the roots and then we would drink the hot “tea” ’cause Aint Essie said it would keep ya reglar.”She stopped a horse from bleedin’, ya know? Tom Waters brought his horse over, pourin’ blood outa his neck. Aint Essie went ’round the back of the house and when she come back, that horse ‘ad stopped bleedin’.”
We dug potatoes, too. She had on her lipstick and floral print dress. As soon as we came out of the garden, she put her heels back on – black patent leather – and put the potatoes on to boil. “We havin’ old timey pataters and lemon marengue pie.” She watched wrestling while she ironed the sheets.
Then she took me over to Aint Correll’s. We were going to get my wart taken off. I was five. We drove round a dirt driveway up to a little house and an old man came out. Flowers everywhere and trees and a bench swing hanging on a rusty old swing set. They talked a minute and then he gently asked me to go sit with him on the swing. He held a leaf in his hand, twirling it round between his finger and thumb. “Suzan, this hyere’s a peach leaf. Come off ‘at peach tree righttare.” Silence. “D’you b’lieve I can take off that wort from your hand, thare?” “Yessir” “Well, hold out chur hand and lemme just rub this leaf hyere on yer wort, like this. See. Now, when you wake up tomorra, yur wort’s gonna be gone. D’you b’lieve me, Suzan?” “Yessir.”
My wort was gone the next day.
I think my southern legitimacy is evident!
Where I’m From (My Southern Legitimacy Statement)
after George Ella Lyons
I am from a back porch, from Coca-Cola and accidental parallel fingertip slits from my curiosity of discovering our first air conditioner’s condenser coil.
I am from the closetless, socketless, south-facing bedroom.
I am from the chinaberry and the redbud, from the mimosa, the looper caterpillars dangling in fine, translucent strands from its branches.
I am from first Sunday in May and first Sunday in June and close reading of scripture, from Byrum and Welton and Portis.
I am from working by the job and not the hour and from finding the next thing to do,
From “cry me a handful so I can feed the chickens” and “washed in the blood.”
I am from the belief that “born again” is a change of character and a political liability.
I’m from Cullman County and Morgan County, almond pound cake and corn meal dressing.
From Uncle William’s fishing too close to the locks when the TVA decided to release water from the hydroelectric dam, Aunt Kate’s refusing to try the home-canned pickles until only one jar was left and her crying about it, my parents’ eloping across the state line to Iuka, Mississippi, on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1956.
I am from the middle kitchen cabinet drawer, below the medications and above the dishtowels, in an envelope box of snapshots with edges worn as hammer handles, smooth as seasoned skillets, frayed as pockets.
Southern Legitimacy Statement
Hey, yall. I was born in the Heart of Dixie, Lower Alabama, or LA, as the natives like to call it. I cut my teeth on my Granny’s lard biscuits and drooled over her blackberry cobblers and egg custard and sweet potato pies. Cornbread was fried, made to look like little golden doughnuts, hole in the middle and all. I’ve picked cotton (made $1.10 for a whole day’s work, I was only 6), blackberries, peas and butterbeans, and I’ve gone to the mayhaw groves where they laid old worn-out sheets on the dirt beneath the trees. They shook the trees until the red-orange little berries fell to the ground. Best danged jelly you will ever want to eat! The Peanut Festival and the Boll Weevil Monument are part of my vocabulary. All night Gospel sings and Sacred Harp sings were two of my favorite things. Catching fireflies in an old Mason jar was a typical summer eve’s activity. I’ve eaten scrambled eggs with pork brains, and every true southerner knows that the fish roe was the best part of the fish! Being southern does have its perks, now, doesn’t it?
The Red Crochet Skirt When I found the faded photograph of me taken forty-something years ago wearing the red crocheted … More
My daddy got branded on a day in a southern summer hot enough to make a plow mule kick, and … More
Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I was born in Houston, Texas January 4, 1950 when there were so many babies born my mother was on a cot out in the hall. I was premature and not expected to thrive so was placed in an incubator with another baby, a boy. My name was supposed to be “Sharon Rose” but when the woman with the clipboard came to my unconscious mother, my grandmother told he my name was to be “Sharon…..and…”. I am grateful to this day my name became Sharon Ann and not Sharon And. I later shortened it to Shann for what I thought were good reasons. We weren’t poor, we were genteel, though sometimes before payday I remember eating cereal with water, giving my dad babysitting money I made so he could buy gas (and it was cheap then). I could go on about moving to Virginia in 1971 after attending the University of Arizona, but I plan to tell that story in a different way when I figure it all out.
We will miss Shann’s unique vision, her poetic voice, and her gentle spirit.
For my southern legitimacy statement, I’d say, my name is Pepper, which has caused me much grief living in the DC area, but made a lot of sense in my home of Mississippi, where I was born and grew up. There it was warm and unpretentious. Here it’s silly and people will say things like, “what’s a grown man doing with the name Pepper?”
I know that my Southern legitimacy may be marginal, having lived my whole life in a border state, but thanks to my North Carolinian grandmother, my father’s family name was Bubba, and we only ever vacationed in Morehead City. And I reckon that my hometown of Indian Head, MD had adequately Southern sensibilities. I am hopeful that my SLS effectively expresses my honest affection for the people amongst whom I grew up.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was raised on a narrow neck of land between the Potomac River and the Mattawoman Creek, in a town where the eggs were never poached but the venison very likely had been.
MY SOUTHERN LEGITIMACY STATEMENT
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, that is the southernmost part of Nigeria, and I’ve always had predilection for the Southern part of any nation. I love New Mexico and Texas in America. I’m a proud southerner of the world.
A great collection of specially selected poetry.
My southern legitimacy has oft been disputed, and for this reason, I really am at a loss for words. If you can believe it, I was told “you sound like a New Yorker” and (mis)identified as the descendent of “carpetbaggers”—false, false. Perhaps there was a bed switch. Anyway these poems have pleased. And I have an MFA from Alabama
River Glistens river glistens and flows in my direction bathes me in the peace of its rippling trees lean in … More
I was born and raised in and around Mobile, AL mostly but have lived all over the heart of dixie, even way up north in Anniston, Alabama. My first memories are of Tuscaloosa back when my parents were going to school and the Bear was coaching. I went to high school in the Gator country of Satsuma where it’s not unheard of to see the those massive, prehistoric reptiles crawling in your backyard. I went to college at Troy before finishing up at South Alabama located in my hometown. Now, I teach English down at the very bottom of the state in Bayou La Batre where the students come to class fresh off the shrimp boats wearing their white Bayou Reeboks.
Southern Legitimacy Statement: Mark Vogel has lived in the back of a Blue Ridge holler for the past twenty two years with ducks, cats, dogs, horses, and his family. He teaches English at Appalachian State University.
I hope Ed has his wheat all in before this rain.