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“No good Southern fiction (poem, essay)
is complete without a
Dead Mule”

Online since 1996, the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature represents the best, the finest, the most comprehensive compilation of original contemporary literature on the internet. Not kidding, twenty years online gives us bragging rights over most every other online journal. Our publication credo? Provide readers with the best writing we can find on a consistent basis, month in, month out. We’ve hosted writing by poets laureate, mule skinners, horse traders and hornswagglers. While currently focusing our attention on the monthly publication of new material, we have little HTML elves working diligently in the background restoring the “hacked” database from the 1996 through 2006 and that writing will be available in the future, once again, on the Mule.

Okay, that’s just a little sample of Masthead dialog, the real stuff is on the way … our history, our editor’s bios. We’ll let you know on Facebook when it’s complete.

Valerie MacEwan: Editor / Publisher

Valerie MacEwan and her husband Robert put the Dead Mule online in 1996 as an adjunct site to a local business directory. The original Dead Mule Literary Journal, a print magazine, was born from a NC Arts Council grant received in 1996. After paying for a print edition, the magazine went online and has been online — continuously — for twenty years. MacEwan is an award -winning Assemblage Artist as well as a writer and she’s dedicated to keeping this Mule online for another twenty years. She and her husband, her daughters, son-in-law, her grandsons and a family zoo of monkey-dogs, Maine Coon Cats, a Carolina Dog, 2 Jack Russells, and a Belgian Malinois live near the Pamlico Sound in NC. Originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, she contends there is always an Arkansas connection to everyone she meets.

CL Bledsoe: Assistant Editor

CL Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the novel Man of Clay and the poetry collection Riceland. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize thirteen times, Best of the Net three times, and had two stories selected as Notable Stories of the Year by Story South’s Million Writer’s Award. Bledsoe has published stories, poems, essays, plays, and reviews in hundreds of journals and websites, including The Cimarron Review, The Arkansas Review, Pank, Nimrod, New York Quarterly, Barrow Street, Gargoyle, The Hollins Critic, New World Writing (formerly Mississippi Review Online), Hobart, The Pedestal Magazine, and many others. Originally from a rice farm in eastern Arkansas, Bledsoe now lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.
*CL Bledsoe’s Memoirs will grace the hallowed halls of the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature each month for the next year. We look forward to featuring his writing and hope you enjoy reading it. -Valerie

Associate Poetry Editors:
Rebecca Forste
Having been all around this world, Rebecca Forste is now setting up a home at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the edge of Shenandoah National Park, within hearing of the Thornton River, shared by three cats, a dog, crickets, ladybugs, stink bugs, spiders and a human or two.  Her love of visiting graveyards and poetry both go back to her earliest years. Her work has appeared in Midwest Poetry Review, Owen Wister Review, Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal, Rose Red Review, Form Quarterly, Dada News Daily and elsewhere. In addition to teaching, singing, playing Appalachian dulcimer and selling hot dogs and beer at the ballpark, Forste has collaborated with musicologist Uncle Dave Lewis on researching and presenting information on music history in a variety of venues, including contributions on Una Mae Carlisle and others. Forste continues to work on projects based on research into the lives of nineteenth century showmen, Charles Barney Hicks and Nick Roberts, as well as vaudeville actress, Bonita. Once in awhile, she posts something at

*”Oh, I forgot to say that the family across the street who babysat my brother and I when we were kids was from Arkansas.” Ed note: there’s that connection.

Cortney Cameron
Cortney Cameron contends that she sloughed off as a rock from the Appalachian mountains (although her mother maintains she arrived the usual way). She holds a bachelor’s from Duke University and is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Geoscience. Her creative and scientific works have appeared in several publications, with her first novel slated for release next year. She has lived in North Carolina since the the turn of the new millennium and currently resides within five minutes of elephants. Cortney will assist with formatting the Mule and general geeky WordPress questions. (* readers should note: the AR connection exists with a Little Rock family resident)

Richard Weaver: Reader (essays)

Robert MacEwan: Technical Editor

Details soon to come, we’re talking bios and such… right now, the party is just getting started.

Oct. 1, 2016:

Could life be more grand? To that I answer, “NO! Life is simply divine.” Thank you all for offering to help. We’ll start with these wonderful folks and reach out if and when more help is needed. There exists such a backlog of wonderful work, yall have sent us some fine writing and it’s just awful that we haven’t responded. If you’ve contacted me and I replied Yes to Assistant Editorships and your name isn’t on here, it’s because I’m not on my laptop and don’t have all my information.

I have tons of work to do, the backend of the Mule is in shambles and needs much repair. The Mule Doctor is in and will help set the template straight and true once again. Remember, we were hacked in December 2015 or earlier (?) and we’re still rebuilding twenty years of entries.

Previously on The Dead Mule (do the announcer voice when you read that)

Helen Losse and I have been discussing the need for a new poetry editor. This, then, is an open call for volunteers. The editor not only reads and suggests acceptance of submissions, the editor must be able to format and enter the submissions into the WordPress template — a onerous task.

We will reveal the new poetry editor at 5:30 pm EST today, Sept 27, 2016. Below is the “call” we placed earlier in the day:

So, we need geek poets (obviously, if you bite the heads off of chickens, we don’t want to know) we need tech-savvy poets willing to spend about 3 hours a month on the Dead Mule. If our new formatting method works, the publishing end of the “job” will not be as onerous as when our Dear Helen Losse had to format each line of every poem.

Are you up to the task? Do you know someone who might want to read and help publish our poetry? This is a volunteer army of three and we’d love for you to join us. Obviously the tech-savvy nerd poet (ha) would have instructions and a methodology explained to them. We use Submittable for all our submissions and reading of the latter would be done within that framework.

Respond either through email [deadmule at gmail dot com] with subject header “Poetry Editor” or on Facebook using the message system to message me personally. I will be able to read messages from “non” friends, fear not. You can also comment on the Dead Mule’s page.


Valerie MacEwan