Tag

Southern Literature

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The Echoes

The echoes are still there, for those who will listen. I’ve often spoke of my home and how I was blessed to be raised in a closed society of family and friends. The world was the Big Creek Valley, and Vendor, Arkansas was home. The people I learned from were all well known to me, even if they passed long…
Travis Holt
January 24, 2023
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Boy Meets Girl

I grew up in a family that couldn’t seem to sire any offspring that wasn’t a manchild. So apart from the matrons of the clan, we boys had little exposure to the strange ways of womenfolk. As it stood, I knew next to nothing about reading moods. Or even that moods were the sort of thing that needed interpretation. This…
Brandon Meeks
January 4, 2023
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Inglis Fletcher and the Art of Southern Writing

Inglis Clarke (20 October 1879 – 30 May 1969) grew up in Edwardsville, Illinois, a small town populated by many displaced Southerners. She had deep ancestral roots in northeastern North Carolina and, particularly, the Albemarle region. Young Inglis’ grandfather, who described the Tar Heel State as “that valley of Humiliation, between two mountains of Conceit,” sparked her interest in North…
Jeff Wolverton
December 5, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part V

XIII. The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals Originally published in The American Mercury, 1934 “The Dilemma of the Southern Liberals” Back when wild-eyed suffragettes were on the losing end of Oklahoma Drills with King George V’s horse, Vanderbilt and Sewanee were Southern football giants, and the Bull Moose Party was hawking the square new deal, Southern liberals—all hopped up on…
Chase Steely
December 2, 2022
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The Political Economy and Social Thought of Louisa S. McCord

From the 2011 Abbeville Institute Summer School. The name of the lady I'm introducing today, the Southern intellectual Louisa Susanna Cheves McCord, or as she's usually called, Louisa S. McCord, is generally not well known today. In the antebellum era she was the author of numerous essays on political economy and social issues. Her other writings included poetry, reviews, and…
Karen Stokes
November 30, 2022
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The Bootlegger

When I talk about where and how I grew up, folks, even a bit older than me, assume that not only am I from another state, they imagine I must be from another century. Case in point. My home county is dry. I don’t mean that we get little rain, I mean that we have no legal alcohol. This is…
Brandon Meeks
November 17, 2022
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Ropes and Swimming Holes

He was old and black...negro...colored he'd say and he had been for a good while.  "I know you."  He said.  "You watch me thru de windah."  I nodded as our first conversation concluded. He drove his old mule down the newly-paved asphalt roads, begrudgingly regal on an old scrap tire his plow rested...the point hidden inside the body of the…
William Platt
November 10, 2022
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The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe

Originally published in The Sewanee Review, Spring, 1968, Vol. 76, No. 2 (Spring, 1968), pp. 214-225 In 1948 T. S. Eliot, in a lecture “From Poe to Valery”, said in substance that Poe’s work, if it is to be judged fairly, must be seen as a whole, lest as the mere sum of its parts it seem inferior. There is…
Allen Tate
October 31, 2022
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W.J. Cash: the Portrait of Dorian Gray as a Young Southern Man

I, thankfully, studied history and political theory at a Southern university at a time not that long ago when those predisposed to a more classical Southern worldview could hold those positions in class. We would be challenged, yes. We had professors who were more liberal than we were, naturally, but as long as we could well defend our positions, we…
R. Ashley Hall
October 25, 2022
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Shermanized

Editor's Note: This poem was delivered by Miss Lucy Powell Harris at a concert give by the pupils at the Houston Street Female High School in Atlanta, Georgia, May, 1st, 1866. It was originally written by L. Virginia French, the daughter of a prosperous Virginia family. She relocated to Tennessee and became a teacher after her mother died and her…
Abbeville Institute
October 21, 2022
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Good Directions

The fella that runs the local feed store is a Cajun from Ville Platte, Louisiana. He moved up here to Arkansas because the woman he met in the personal ads said she could abide thickets and pine trees but would not tolerate bayous or raising a coonass baby. I stopped by the store yesterday because I needed some laying pellets…
Brandon Meeks
October 11, 2022
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The Rainmakers

Uncle Dude and Aunt Lura lived across the field beside us when I was growing up. They were both born between the two World Wars and lived through the Depression. Dude was born at the foot of Mount Saint Helens, Lura was born in the same room where she died in the Arkansas Delta. They had lots of odd superstitions…
Brandon Meeks
October 4, 2022
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The Better Men

John William Corrington (1932—1988) of Louisiana was a prolific author of poetry, stories, and novels. And, as with Faulkner, making a living in commercialised American “culture”  required him to expend talent in Hollywood on movie and television scripts. Corrington has received some recognition, but no less an authority on Southern literature than M.E. Bradford has said that his reputation falls…
Clyde Wilson
August 22, 2022
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When Things Go South

“When things go south” is a phrase that typically means matters have taken a turn for the worse.  Well, things have gone south in my family for a while now, and I couldn’t be happier.  That is because I literally mean, gone South, and I feel more at home than I ever imagined possible.  For things to go South, they…
Julie Paine
August 11, 2022
BlogClyde Wilson Library

George W. Kendall of New Orleans–America’s First War Correspondent

In the long range of history the war correspondent, a journalist embedded with a fighting army, is a fairly recent development.  George Kendall was the pioneer.  He was  with Winfield Scott’s army during the U.S/Mexico War 1846—1848, from Vera Cruz to Mexico City.  Like the soldiers he faced sickness and was wounded. His 215 dispatches from Mexico were the primary …
Clyde Wilson
August 5, 2022
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Second Hand Memories

Memory is the thing with which we forget. I tend to believe that Memory lives in those deep crevices in the soft pink tissue of the brain; in the darkness of the crooked rows that look to have been dug by a plow mule with the blind staggers. A man can be going along, thinking a thought, and Memory will…
Brandon Meeks
July 28, 2022
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A Hard Line Ozark Man

I sit here, watching the fading sun over the Ozarks hills, not too far from where I was raised. Last night, we had an annual birthday bash for an old family friend, and I got the opportunity to sit and visit with many of the older generation that I grew up around. The most notable, a long visit with a…
Travis Holt
July 22, 2022
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A Bushel of Poke Salad and a Gallon and a Half of Coal Oil

Uncle Jim didn’t care much for Lyin’ Ed and nobody really knew why. Some speculated that it had to do with the fact that both had been sweet on Aunt Ginny decades earlier. Others reckoned that it stemmed from a schoolyard rivalry that had followed them into adulthood and now into old age. Aunt Ginny once gave voice to the…
Brandon Meeks
July 14, 2022
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The Lyric Poet of Georgia

No one acquainted with the poetical literature of the late war can have forgotten the noble contributions to it of Dr. Francis Orray Ticknor, of Columbus, Ga. "The Virginians of the Valley" and "Little Giffin" are alone sufficient to prove that Dr. Ticknor was a genuine poet, and he has left behind him ( for alas! he died two years…
Paul Hamilton Hayne
July 11, 2022
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The Attack on Leviathan, Part 1

“In 1938 appeared the clearest and most courageous of the Agrarian documents, Donald Davidson’s Attack on Leviathan.” – Richard M. Weaver Russell Kirk tells the story of discovering Davidson’s book in 1938 as a sophomore at Michigan State in the introduction for its reprint in 1991. Kirk writes, “The book was so good that I assumed all intelligent Americans, or…
Chase Steely
July 8, 2022
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Mother Jones

Some people won’t believe in something they haven’t seen, others refuse to believe in something precisely because they have. When it came to the question of religious egalitarianism, I reckon my people were firmly in the latter category. Even as a boy I knew that there were as many kinds of religions in our small Southern town as there were…
Brandon Meeks
June 23, 2022
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The Intruder

I suppose that most men would like to think that they could shoot someone to defend life and limb. But I expect that many wonder if they actually could pull the trigger if it came down to it. This was certainly true of me. It is almost a truism that every house in the South contains more guns than people.…
Brandon Meeks
June 8, 2022
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The Neighbor

Robert Frost tells us that “good fences make good neighbors.” I suppose there is some truth to that. But I met the best neighbor I ever had the night his fence row burned to the ground. At the time, I was living in Forrest County, Mississippi. Pastoring a country country church that was the product of three earlier splits. Of…
Brandon Meeks
May 25, 2022
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This Land is Ours

It’s hell, sittin’ here. I grew up in the hills of Newton County, Arkansas, the place that my direct line had hacked out and settled in the 1850s, when the first white settlers moved in. Being a native Ozarker has its advantages and disadvantages. When I married and moved one county north, it almost seemed like sacrilege. The next phase…
Travis Holt
May 24, 2022
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The Fox Hunt

I’ve heard tell that fox hunting is the sport of kings. Be that as it may, in the hills of Arkansas it is largely the purview of fools and knaves. There are no aristocrats. No gaudy outfits. No prized horses. In fact, there are usually no horses at all. Perhaps stranger still, no guns. Unless someone totes a side arm…
Brandon Meeks
May 11, 2022
BlogReview Posts

Arm in Arm

A review of Arm in Arm (Mercer, 2022) by Catharine Savage Brosman Our conscious civilisation begins with Homer and is firmly anchored in Virgil, Dante, the French troubadours, and the Viking bards.  Its deepest expressions are in verse.  William Faulkner may have had something like this in mind when he  lamented that he was “only a failed poet.” That is…
Clyde Wilson
May 6, 2022
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The Legend of the Dogwood

My grandmother is the closest thing to a saint I have ever known. She is good and kind. She gives herself away until she is all but spent. She has always worked hard and loved harder. She prays and goes to church. And I’ve only known her to cuss when it thunders. But like many of the medieval saints, her…
Brandon Meeks
April 27, 2022
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XX

William Gilmore Simms, Part 2 The Green Corn Dance Come hither, hither, old and young--the gentle and the strong, And gather in the green corn dance, and mingle with the song-- The summer comes, the summer cheers, and with a spirit gay, We bless the smiling boon she bears, and thus her gifts repay. Eagle from the mountain, Proudly descend!…
Clyde Wilson
April 22, 2022
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Poe’s Battle with Puritan Boston

I've learned a good deal about Poe's paternal and maternal backgrounds; I had never really pursued that; the biographies don't. But I found that Poe's grandfather had immigrated to America in about 1750 from Drung, County Cavan, Ireland. To put that on the board for you, that's about 75 miles Northwest of Dublin, so it’s sort of in the center…
Blog

The Beer Thief

The little town of Canton, just off of I-20 in east Texas, is home to the world’s largest flea market. Thousands of booths and vendors have been selling their wares in that 400 acre field for about a century now. A man with a few dollars in his pocket can find stuff he never needed and never knew he wanted…
Brandon Meeks
March 30, 2022
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Music in Camp

Originally published in 1898 in The Ridpath Library of Universal Literature, Vol. XXII by John Clark Ridpath THOMPSON, John Reuben, an American journalist and poet, born at Richmond, Va., October 23, 1823; died in New York, April 30, 1872. He was graduated at the University of Virginia in l845, studied law, and in 1847 became editor of the Southern Literary…
John Clark Ridpath
March 25, 2022
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The Shadow of Red Rock

Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with time and place. As far as time goes, I’m mainly concerned with what happened before me - those who came before and their lives in this beautiful, rural and untouched county that we call home. Time has brought changes, as it always does, and some of it is even good. However,…
Travis Holt
March 9, 2022
Blog

Southern Poets and Poems, Part XIX

A Series by Clyde Wilson. WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS (1806-1870) of South Carolina, amazingly prolific novelist, poet, essayist, lecturer, historian, critic, and editor, has been rightly called "The Father of Southern Literature." Without question Simms is the most important Southern writer of the 19th century after Poe. Without question Simms is in every way one of the most important American writers.…
Clyde Wilson
February 10, 2022
Blog

Southern Poets and Poems, Part XVIII

A series by Clyde Wilson HENRY ROOTES JACKSON (1820—1898) of Georgia was a lawyer, judge and poet. He was U.S. Minister to Austria/Hungary 1853—1858 and was well-known for prosecuting Yankee slave traders trying to import African captives into Atlanta shortly before the war. He was Colonel of the 1st Georgia Volunteers in the Mexican War and fought in the Confederate…
Clyde Wilson
February 4, 2022
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XVII

A series by Clyde Wilson Thomas Holley Chivers (1809—1858) of Georgia was a physician and poet and a friend of Edgar Allan Poe, who encouraged him. He published over 10 volumes of poetry and plays but was largely forgotten until rediscovered by 20th century critics. Chivers believed that  good poetry was a result of “divine inspiration.” Faith Faith is the flower that…
Clyde Wilson
January 28, 2022
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XVI

A series by Clyde Wilson. LOUISA  SUSANNAH  CHEVES  McCORD  (1810—1879) of South Carolina  was one of the most outstanding women of 19th century America.  She was the daughter of Langdon Cheves, who had been Speaker of the U.S. House of  Representatives and had held other important posts.  In the antebellum period, while a plantation mistress, she published poetry, strong polemical…
Clyde Wilson
January 21, 2022
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XV

A series by Clyde Wilson Alexander Beaufort Meek,  Part  2 The Rose of Alabama I loved, in boyhood's happy time, When life was like a minstrel's rhyme, And cloudless as my native clime, The Rose of Alabama. Oh, lovely rose! The sweetest flower earth knows, Is the Rose of Alabama! One pleasant, balmy night in June, When swung, in silvery…
Clyde Wilson
January 14, 2022
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XIV

A series by Clyde Wilson ALEXANDER BEAUFORT MEEK (1814-1865) of Alabama. Meek was one of the most prominent citizens of antebellum Alabama--judge, orator, international chess master, and historian of the early days of his State. He also published two volumes of verse. Selections are from The Songs and Poems of the South (1857). COME TO THE SOUTH Oh, come to…
Clyde Wilson
January 7, 2022
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Requiem for Grandma

Growing up on ‘Holt Hill’ in Vendor, Arkansas, I was truly blessed. I had a touch of the ‘Old South’ that I now have oft read of; a true, closed community of my own people who endured hardship, drought and war, and came out stronger as a result. Of the many giants who walked through my childhood, there is one…
Travis Holt
December 30, 2021
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Robert Drake and the Presence of the Past

There are stories, and then there are stories within stories. This is one of the latter. In 1981, upon the publication of Robert Drake’s The Home Place, I wrote a review of it for Modern Age (Fall 1981) which I entitled “A Concelebration of Verities.” I suppose that title captured some element of the book, but as I look back…
Thomas Hubert
December 7, 2021
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Windy

Of all the giants that strode through my childhood, some loom larger than others: Some due to their innate kindness or acts towards me, some for the wisdom they imparted or their willingness to share life experiences, and some simply due to the fact of just how damn likeable they were. But there are a few who loom large for…
Travis Holt
November 26, 2021
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The Ideal Historian of the American Republic

In the future some historian shall come forth both     strong and wise-- With a love of the Republic, and the truth before     his eyes! He will show the subtle causes of the War be-     tween the States, He will go back in his studies far beyond our     Modern dates; He will trace out hostile ideas, as the miner does     the…
James Barron Hope
November 25, 2021
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Social Time in Old Virginia

Editor's Note: Often considered one of the more important "Lost Cause" post-bellum narratives, Letitia Burwell's A Girl's Life in Virginia Before the War offers a captivating glimpse of life in the Old South. Her grandfather had been Thomas Jefferson's private secretary and her father served in the Virginia legislature ten times. Americans often marvel at the social mores and customs…
Letitia M. Burwell
November 10, 2021
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Thomas Moore, RIP

In August, Thomas Moore, novelist and founding Chairman of the Southern National Congress, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Aiken, South Carolina at the too-early age of 73. Tom was South Carolina-born, a graduate of the Citadel and had an M.A. in National Security Affairs from Georgetown University. He worked for 25 years in powerful circles in Washington in…
Clyde Wilson
November 1, 2021
Blog

Poor Poe

At the University of Virginia, Room No.13 on the fabled Lawn is reserved as a permanent shrine to Edgar Allan Poe, who reportedly lodged in the room during his brief time on campus (or “the grounds,” as we say). One wonders what Poe, though a proud Virginian, would think about this honor — he was not terribly happy with his…
Casey Chalk
October 25, 2021
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Tradition and Culture

Our farm was a broadly covered area of green stalks, blanketing the ground for hundreds of acres all around. In a slow-motion explosion, day-by-day, week-by-week, the land revealed the white birth of cotton, the king crop of the Mississippi Delta. There were great vines of honeysuckle on one side of the house. The aroma seemed more noticeable in the open…
Paul H. Yarbrough
October 21, 2021
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On the Wane

“Aggressive abroad and despotic at home.” --Robert E. Lee The empire Lincoln built is on the wane. Those who know history can see the signs— And even those with ears can hear the whines And bellows of frustration. All in vain! Empires commence in pain and end in pain. The honest haruspex no doubt divines This course from the beginning.…
Thomas Riley
October 8, 2021
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Steppin Back

The locusts descend upon the land. Not the literal ones, but a kind much worse, in my estimation. The urbanites, long disenchanted with the social upheaval of late, have begun to migrate to the country. My home county, Newton County, Arkansas, is sadly not immune, though we are largely blessed. Rugged and in the remote mountains of northwest Arkansas, my…
Travis Holt
October 7, 2021
Blog

A Good Southerner is Hard to Find

Perhaps it was after watching yet another film depicting the South as irredeemably backwards and bigoted. Or perhaps it was after reading yet another round of commentaries denigrating Robert E. Lee because Lee was a traitor (so were the American revolutionaries, technically), a defender of a slave owning society (as most societies were before the nineteenth century), and ultimately a…
Casey Chalk
September 21, 2021
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An ode to the Waccamaw

My heart bled along the Waccamaw, where ancient warriors reigned. I wonder if their spirits saw as I kneeled there, pained. Carolina! She beckoned me to rise, and her warm sun kissed my face. A glory came fore my eyes, which is this Southern place. Hail, you Carolinas of mine, you’ve dearly blessed your son. There’s naught I’d rather be…
Blog

What It Means to be a Southerner

Editor's Note: In an effort to "explore what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition," we offer an explanation of what it "meant to be a Southerner" in 1958. This raises the questions of what has and has not changed in the South and if themes in this essay can still be applied to the twenty-first century Southerner. This…
Robert Y. Drake
August 3, 2021
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The Wild Man

At the top of the hill where my great-grandparents lived, there was a dusty, black and white picture on a shelf. It could’ve been my grandpa or great-uncle, but it didn’t look quite like them. It was a dapper dressed young man leaning over the fender of a ’59 Ford car, posing. I never asked about this picture but it…
Travis Holt
July 30, 2021
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Who’s Your People?

“Who's your people?” Though now somewhat rare, one still hears that question in Dixie, usually uttered from the lips of older or rural Southerners. Much is implied by the question. There is the implicit belief that one’s extended family — or clan, given much of the region’s Scotch-Irish roots — serves as an inextricable part of one’s identity. Also implied…
Casey Chalk
July 26, 2021
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Monuments

Their carven words all testify Of then and now and future time That these were they who kept the cause Was given them by fathers past And living still in coursing blood. They token men True to lineage. To sons they left high honour and the land, A legacy of action speaking still. Let stone forever warn The men who…
Blog

The Happy Land of Cannan

The happy land of Caannan may be a Biblical story, but for some of us, it truly was fact. Growing up on the land my ancestors settled in the 1850s was a true blessing. It gave me common ground, a heritage, a place and, most importantly, a history. My people were among the first white settlers in the 1850s in…
Travis Holt
July 9, 2021
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Requiem for a Hell Raiser

We all, as we go through life, encounter people that who deserve to be remembered. Everyone does, in a sense. But all these people, their good and bad characteristics, are more personal when you have a familial connection to them. My Grandfather, Lewis Charles ‘Mecky’ Freeman, was a man who surely deserves to be remembered, for weal or woe. Lewis…
Travis Holt
June 25, 2021
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A Southern Song, A Southern Heritage–Canceled

“When we talk about the War it is our history we are talking about, it is a part of our identity.  To tell libellous lies about our ancestors is a direct attack on who we are.” —from Lies My Teacher Told Me by Clyde N. Wilson “The Story of Maryland is sad to the last degree.” —Jefferson Davis In the…
J.L. Bennett
June 14, 2021
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Time

“How time changes everything.” This quote came from the lips of a fairly surprised man of around 80, my dear great-uncle Carl Ray, as we descended into the valley of his childhood.It  had been some four decades or better since he had been around the old home places where he grew into a man. The people who own it now…
Travis Holt
May 28, 2021
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Listening to Miss Eudora

For Christmas, I gave my granddaughter a compilation of Eudora Welty’s novels. She’s an avid reader and tore into the book as soon as she unwrapped it. The short stories, however, were not included. Yesterday, we drove to a large national bookstore chain ( aka quasi toy store and puzzle shop) to purchase one of Miss Welty’s finest Why I…
Blog

Contemplation in an Evil Time

Written in the Year 2021 Hampton, our stalwart Wade,             As wily as Odysseus in warAs full of rage for truth in time of fraud             As any celebrated Greek,He saw his son fall at his feet,             Kissed him a hard farewellIn manner Hector or Odysseus             Would bring to tears,Turned back to battlefield             Which he controlledAs full of righteous angerAs Achilles ever…
James Everett Kibler
April 30, 2021
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Daybreak in Dixie

Daybreak in Dixie:  Poems of the Confederacy by Linda Lee. Privately published, 2019. For those of us who value the history of our Southern people, these are the worst of times.  Public discourse is pervaded by a Cultural Marxist hysteria that wants what we love to be dead, forever.  I rightly use the term Marxist because the campaign against us,…
Clyde Wilson
April 27, 2021
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The Knight of Melrose

Ah! My Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?For now I see the true old times are dead…        Tennyson, from Idylls of the King My grandfather loved Tennessee Walking Horses, a breed so named for their beautiful run-walk, a gait which they carry in place of the trot found in other breeds. It is…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
April 23, 2021
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Searching for a Literary Market in Southern Cities

“Take but degree away, untune that string,And hark! what discord follows! Each thing meetsIn mere oppugnancy”—Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida One of William Gilmore Simms’ abiding concerns was the almost complete absence of a profession of literature in the South. Prior to the 1850’s the South had produced only two professional writers of any note—Simms, himself, of course, and Edgar Allan…
Jack Trotter
April 2, 2021
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I Listen

I read this piece to the Jackson Writers Guild a year ago. Since then, we’ve not been able to meet. Here it is again. A southern writer can collect more stories from a back-porch conversation than from hours of creative writing instruction or a ten-day cruise through the Panama Canal. It’s especially true on Friday night when everybody kicks backs,…
Averyell A. Kessler
March 19, 2021
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Power School Wisdom

During last week’s ice storm misery, I thought a lot about my southern upbringing and the good things I’ve received from my small, poor state with a jagged past and uncertain future. I received many of these gifts from loving parents, my scamp of a grandfather, and friends, but also from enthusiastic Sunday School folks, teachers, and pearls of Power…
Averyell A. Kessler
March 4, 2021
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The Lord Gives

It was a late night in Boone County, Arkansas when me and my newly married wife attended a party not far from our home in Lead Hill. The ol' boy that invited us had built a fire and we were all sitting around, drinking and telling stories, feeding the fire and enjoying the camaraderie, when his granddaughter walked out with…
Travis Holt
March 3, 2021
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For Dove and Flag: Grandpa Connelly’s Mules

I hope Grandfather fed them wellFrom out his meager store of cornOr fodder pulled by Mother'Neath a blazing autumn sun--So hot sometimes she saidThat she and sister sickenedTo the vomit stage, and tender armsWere sliced by leaves' fierce razor edge. I know they had warm winter's barnand stabled shelter from both heat and cold.They sometimes got a treat of pea-vine…
James Everett Kibler
February 15, 2021
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Fast Money

On a late November evening in 1970, I rolled into the “Big Easy” on an L&N freight with my pockets jingling. Hitching a ride to Canal Street - and letting the morrow “take thought for the things of itself,” as the Scriptures say - I checked into the Sheraton Delta Hotel, got myself cleaned up, then indulged myself in a…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
February 12, 2021
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Hillbilly Thomists

What would you give in exchange for your soul? Bluegrass greats Bill Monroe and Doc Watson asked that question in one of their most memorable live recordings. It’s also the same one posed by Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., on one of the tracks of the first album released by the Hillbilly Thomists, a bluegrass band of Dominican friars from…
Casey Chalk
February 8, 2021
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Followin’ the Cotton

(Mrs. Holley was the third generation of a Southern family in California.  She wrote this on being able to return permanently to the South.) The cotton fields grow row after row, we saw them from Grandad's back seat,The twins and I arms and legs stuck together in the dawg days summer heat. The cotton fields grow row after row, we…
Ruth Ann Holley
February 2, 2021
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The Wind

I find myself sitting on the bank of a lake, not far from where I grew up. Being in an extremely rural and poor area of Arkansas, we hang on to things quite a bit longer than most, both literally and figuratively. In the 1960s, there was a thriving vacation destination in my home county, known as the ‘Wildlife Club.’…
Travis Holt
January 25, 2021
Review Posts

Deep Water

A review of Deep Water: The Mississippi River in the Age of Mark Twain (LSU Press, 2019) by Thomas Ruys Smith In Deep Water: the Mississippi River in the Age of Mark Twain prominent Mississippi River scholar Thomas Ruys Smith examines the literature surrounding the Mississippi River from the late 19th to the early 20th Century. Smith analyzes Mississippi River…
Jason Stewart
January 12, 2021
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A Southern Critique of Radical Chic

“The Southerner is usually tolerant of those weaknesses that proceed from innocence,” observed Southern Gothic author and native Georgian Flannery O’Connor. But what about those weaknesses that don’t? Well, then the offender may require rebuke, and, depending on the gravity of the offense, and the character of the offender, that might range somewhere between a polite reprimand to being run…
Casey Chalk
January 11, 2021
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Virginia and Alabama

Lexington, Virginia January 2002 Driving up, then down the mountain hairpins into Lexington,By daylight, moonlight, headlight (only one),I smell the moist ancient earth rising up to greet meThis January evening that seems almost like spring.Incredible! Time has collapsed around me. I sit on a wooden bench on the lawn of the Holiday Inn ExpressIn shirt sleeves accompanied only by Jack…
Thomas Hubert
December 17, 2020
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Hillfolk History

All-too-often, seemingly buried in the myriad dates and statistics of history, lies the human experience that should do more to make up that history in the first place. These eyewitness accounts and anecdotes seem to speak to us, across the ages, in ways that numbers do not (something historians might want to pick up on, if they want a revived…
Travis Archie
December 9, 2020
Review Posts

Flowering Wisdom

A Review of Chained Tree, Chained Owls, Poems (Green Altar Books, 2020) by Catharine Savage Brosman. This is Catharine Savage Brosman’s twelfth book of poems, and the praise for her work has increased with each new publication. This review will follow suit; and in order to demonstrate-- to point out clearly-- this new level of excellence, it is best to…
William Wilson
October 6, 2020
Blog

Southern Poets and Poems, Part XIII

A series by Clyde Wilson MIRABEAU BUONAPARTE LAMAR (1798-1859) of Texas moved from his native Georgia to the Texas Republic in 1835. He took a conspicuous part in the Texas War of Independence and was cited by Sam Houston for outstanding bravery at the Battle of San Jacinto. Lamar served in the Texas government and followed Houston as President. He…
Clyde Wilson
August 13, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XII

A Series by Clyde Wilson THEODORE O'HARA (1820-1867) of Kentucky. "The Bivouac of the Dead" is often thought of as related to The War of 1861-1865. Like the "Star-Spangled Banner" it was confiscated for the North. Theodore O'Hara was a Confederate officer. (He was with Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston when he was fatally wounded.) He wrote the poem about 1850…
Clyde Wilson
August 6, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part XI

A Series by Clyde Wilson EDGAR ALLAN POE,  Part 2 Sonnet – To Science Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!   Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,   Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,   Who wouldst not leave him in his wanderingTo seek for treasure…
Clyde Wilson
July 30, 2020
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The Statue in the Glade

   ‘Only such men could tell what once could be,   Hear what we hear, see what we see.’    Donald Davidson, “Late Answer: A Civil War Seminar” The wind is all but silent in the pinesAround a glade whose light comes down from fire,Not filtered or aslant through needle, cone, A heightened brightness passing as it stays. And there, alone,…
David Middleton
July 24, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part X

A series by Clyde Wilson EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809--1849) of Virginia was the great creative genius of 19th century American literature in poetry, fiction, and criticism. Although accidentally born in Boston and spending part of his foreshortened life earning a living in New York, Poe was, and unequivocally considered himself to be, a Southerner. In all his career he was…
Clyde Wilson
July 2, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part IX

A series by Clyde Wilson EDWARD COOTE PINKNEY (1802-1828) of Maryland was born and partly raised in England where his father, William Pinkney, was the U.S. Minister.  After publishing a good deal of poetry, he attempted to join the Mexican Navy during that country’s war of independence. From this venture Pinkney returned home to Baltimore, his health shattered.  He continued…
Clyde Wilson
June 11, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part VIII

A series by Clyde Wilson RICHARD HENRY WILDE (1789--1847) of Georgia gave up a successful career as lawyer and Congressman to pursue the Muse in Europe. This poem, though perhaps out of fashion, was praised by Byron and was long immensely popular in the English-speaking world. The Yankee black-face minstrel show impresario Stephen Foster "appropriated" some of the lines and…
Clyde Wilson
May 28, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part VII

A series by Clyde Wilson WASHINGTON ALLSTON (1779--1843) of South Carolina was one of the most important of early American painters.  The first two poems were written in response to his first viewing of major artistic works in Italy. On a Falling Group in the Last Judgment of Michael Angelo, in the Cappella Sistina How vast how dread, o'erwhelming, is…
Clyde Wilson
May 21, 2020
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Old Hope

      When the sick brain with crazy skill                Weaves fantasies of woe and ill. Returning nostalgically for a moment to the presidential debacle—excuse me, "campaign”—of 2003-4, let us recall the headline on the front page of the Nov. 5, 2003 Washington Post which read, "Rivals Demand Dean Apology." An apology, that is, for a remark made by the then…
Jonathan Chaves
May 18, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part VI

A series by Clyde Wilson FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (1779-1843) of Maryland.  The story is well known how Key composed "The Star-Spangled Banner" after he witnessed the repulse of the British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbour in 1814. It casts an interesting light on the official U.S.  national anthem when one notes that Key's grandson, Frank Key Howard, was…
Clyde Wilson
May 14, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part V

A series by Clyde Wilson Homage to Revolutionary Heroes DOLLEY PAYNE MADISON (1768—1849) was the wife of President James Madison.                              Lafayette Born, nurtured, wedded, prized, within the pale Of peers and princes, high in camp---at court--- He hears, in joyous youth, a wild report,Swelling the murmurs of the Western gale,Of a young people struggling to be free!   Straight quitting…
Clyde Wilson
May 7, 2020
Review Posts

The Graces of Flannery O’Connor

A review of Good Things Out of Nazareth: The Uncollected Letters of Flannery O'Connor and Friends (Convergent Books, 2019) edited by Benjamin Alexander. One of the more agreeable and important books about literature to emerge recently is Good Things Out of Nazareth: The Uncollected Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Friends, edited by Benjamin Alexander who recently retired from teaching literature…
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part IV

A Series by Clyde Wilson UNKNOWN WRITER, 1781 The Battle of King’s Mountain 'T was on a pleasant mountainThe Tory heathens lay,With a doughty major at their head,One Forguson, they say.Cornwallis had detach'd himA-thieving for to go,And catch the Carolina men,Or bring the rebels low.The scamp had rang'd the countryIn search of royal aid,And with his owls, perched on high,He…
Clyde Wilson
April 30, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part III

EBENEZER COOKE (fl. ca. l 680s--1730s?) of Maryland is a major figure in Colonial American literature. He is best known for the long satirical poem “The Sot-Weed Factor.”  (The sot-weed is tobacco, mainstay of the Southern and American economy in the colonial period, and the factor is a figure long familiar in the South---the merchant who sold and exported the…
Clyde Wilson
April 23, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part II

JOHN COTTON (fl. 1660s – 1720s) was an early settler of Virginia, never to be confused with the awful Cotton family of Massachusetts. In 1814 an anonymous poem about Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia (1676) was found among some old mss. and subsequently published. It was long regarded as an anonymous treasure of American colonial literature. Twentieth-century poet and critic Louis…
Clyde Wilson
April 16, 2020
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Southern Poets and Poems, Part I

A Series By Clyde Wilson If the South would’ve won, we’d’ve  had  it made." --Hank Williams, Jr., of Alabama “The South’s  gonna do it again."--Charlie Daniels  of  North Carolina 1 INTRODUCTION This collection is made, not from the viewpoint of a critic of literature, but that of a student of history interested in how the experiences of the Southern people…
Clyde Wilson
April 9, 2020
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A Southerner’s Movie Guide, Part XV

21.   Faulkner in Film   Southern viewers must naturally be interested in what Hollywood has done with America’s greatest 20th century writer, William Faulkner of Mississippi. **Intruder in the Dust (1949).  Perhaps the most faithful of all Faulkner’s work on film, and a realistic portrayal of Southern life in the early 20th century.  An old lady (Elizabeth Patterson) and two boys,…
Clyde Wilson
March 26, 2020
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A Southerner’s Movie Guide, Part XII

16.  EXECRABLES. The Worst Movies about the South: A Small Selection The competition here is fierce. We can only provide a sample of some of the worst.  A few examples out of a vast field, many of them presenting a ludicrously distorted South.  (X)  The Southerner (1945). This movie was made by a famous French director while a refugee in…
Clyde Wilson
March 5, 2020
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Rebuilding from the Rubble

‘ . . . you know onlyA heap of broken images . . .’--T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land I.  Destruction The description of the South as a land that has fallen into desolation is familiar to many.  Sometimes this historical reality is presented to us in unfamiliar ways, however.  For instance, in his short story ‘Jericho, Jericho, Jericho’, originally…
Walt Garlington
January 29, 2020
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Walker Percy’s Homage to Robert E. Lee

The novelist Walker Percy was inescapably Southern by virtually any measure. Born May 28, 1916 in Birmingham, he lived briefly in Athens, Georgia following the death of this father, grew up in Greenville, Mississippi, and lived most of his adult life in Louisiana, in New Orleans and Covington. Both the culture into which he was born, and the fatherly—as well…
Thomas Hubert
January 27, 2020
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The Cyber Rebel

William Gibson surprises people when they meet him. The writer who coined the terms “cyberspace” and “megacorp,” whose dystopian novels re-invented science fiction in the 80s, and was lauded in The Guardian (UK) as “the most important novelist of the past two decades,” greets people with a slow, easygoing Southern drawl – not the voice one would expect from a…
Mike C. Tuggle
January 17, 2020
Review Posts

An Aesthetic Feast

A review of An Aesthetic Education and Other Stories (Green Altar Books, 2019) by Catharine Savage Brosman One of the most felicitous occurrences in literature is when a first-rate poet turns his or her talents to the writing of short fiction.  Among those who have done so, turning out first-rate stories, have been William Carlos Williams, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop,…
Randall Ivey
January 14, 2020
Review Posts

Christmas

How grace this hallowed day? Shall happy bells, from yonder ancient spire, Send their glad greetings to each Christmas fire Round which the children play? Alas! for many a moon, That tongueless tower hath cleaved the Sabbath air, Mute as an obelisk of ice, aglare Beneath an Arctic noon. Shame to the foes that drown Our psalms of worship with…
Henry Timrod
December 24, 2019
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Front Porch Braggin’ Rights

My new neighbor Ozzie, who grew up in the Bronx, thinks that the South is a place “without much culture.”  Ozzie acts as if he is an expert on the subject, even though his Southern experience has been confined to living in the D.C. suburbs for a few years before retiring out here to the Blue Ridge Mountains last year.…
Ben Jones
December 9, 2019
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A Southerner’s Movie Guide, Part I

A man only has room for one oath at a time.  I took an oath to the Confederate States of America.” John Wayne, The Searchers “We are going to hit the Yankees where it’ll hurt him most---his pocketbook.” Van Heflin, The Raid “I’m sure glad I aint a Yankee.” Randoph Scott, Belle Starr “I ain’t never been ‘round no Yankees…
Clyde Wilson
December 5, 2019
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Something of Value

An excerpt from North Carolina author Robert Ruark’s best known novel reads: “If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.” Ruark grew up in Wilmington where he learned to hunt and fish with his grandfathers in…
Philip Leigh
December 4, 2019
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A Southern Poetry Sampler

The Soiling of Old Glory by Stanley Forman When I See That Flag Flying by John Parker When I see that flag flying I see my people dying Defending their land From its invasion. When I see that flag waving I feel my people's craving For the short-lived Independence which That flag took away. When I see that flag blowing…
Abbeville Institute
October 25, 2019
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The South’s Gifts to Posterity

What does the South have to offer that is valuable to humanity, to civilization? In 1939, the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Douglas Southall Freeman proposed an answer to this question in his book The South to Posterity. He subtitled it An Introduction to the Writing of Confederate History, but it was something more than that. In presenting the works of Confederate…
Karen Stokes
September 25, 2019
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The War Between the Dreams

Old slave and planter graves a flight apart For thrushes eating seeds of grass and yew, The unmarked plots and plots with dates and names Too weatherworn to trace and know in stone, Bones sinking toward a spring no well can reach, 600,000 dead for whom the War Has long since ended and will never end, The blue and gray…
David Middleton
September 4, 2019
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Allen Tate’s Confederate Ode: Who are the Living and the Dead?

 Then Lytle asked: Who are the dead? Who are the living and the dead? Allen Tate, “The Oath” Over the decades since its first publication in 1927 Allen Tate’s “Ode to the Confederate Dead” has probably received more critical and popular attention than any of his other poems. Tate himself alludes to some of it in his own commentary on the…
Thomas Hubert
July 24, 2019
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Conan the Southerner?

“Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to bear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high…
Joel T. Leggett
July 5, 2019
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In Memory of Andrew Lytle (1902-1995)

The poem was written shortly after Mr. Lytle's death in 1995. I intended it to be part of an expanded edition of Poems from Scorched Earth, thus continuing the meditation on fire--in both its destructive and regenerative powers. The fire that he loved to stoke was an image of his eternal energy and his gift for conviviality. --J.O. Tate No…
Review Posts

Loosiana Poets

A review of Louisiana Poets: A Literary Guide, (U. Press of Mississippi, 2019) by Catharine Savage Brosman and Olivia McNeely Pass. The poet and the scholar are reportedly different sorts of people. Rarely do you find high performance in both roles combined in one person. Catharine Brosman has done it. The only other example I can think of is the…
Clyde Wilson
June 4, 2019
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Memorial Day

Noblest of martyrs in a glorious fight! Ye died to save the cause of Truth and Right. And though your banner beams no more on high, Not vainly did it wave or did ye die! No blood for freedom shed is spent in vain; It is as fertile as the Summer rain; And the last tribute of heroic breath Is…
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Ode to the Confederate Dead

Row after row with strict impunityThe headstones yield their names to the element,The wind whirrs without recollection;In the riven troughs the splayed leavesPile up, of nature the casual sacramentTo the seasonal eternity of death;Then driven by the fierce scrutinyOf heaven to their election in the vast breath,They sough the rumour of mortality. Autumn is desolation in the plotOf a thousand…
Allen Tate
April 29, 2019
Review Posts

Two From Alabama Ladies

A review of John Gildart: An Heroic Poem. (H. Young & Co., 1901) by M. E. Henry-Ruffin and Plantation Songs: For My Lady’s Banjo, and Other Lyrics and Mono­logues (J.W. Otts, 1901) by “ Eli Shepperd.” The mental emancipation of the South is proved by noth­ing more clearly than by the work of her women. Prior to the war, we…
Thomas Cooper De Leon
March 26, 2019
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Julian Green

One summer day in Paris, France, just a year after the Great War, a former French military officer, not yet nineteen years of age was invited by his father to have a chat. Slim, handsome, and gifted, the young man knew it was time for the big talk concerning his future now that peace had returned. To help him make…
Alphonse-Louis Vinh
January 11, 2019
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The Long Ago

Oh! a wonderful stream is the river of Time, As it runs through the realm of tears, With a faultless rhythm, and musical rhyme, And a broader sweep, and a surge sublime, And blends with the ocean of years! How the winters are drifting like flakes of snow, And summers like buds between, And the ears in the sheaf, —…
Philo Henderson
December 31, 2018
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Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox Meet St. Nicholas

On one fine evening, in which winter’s chill hung in the air and the stars sparkled merrily in the heavens above, a happy song of the season could be heard faintly weaving it’s way through the trees and rolling hills surrounding the humble home of Uncle Remus. “Ho my Riley, in this happy Christmas time, the black folks shake their clothes,…
Lewis Liberman
December 25, 2018
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Poe of Virginia

The opinion has been often stated that Edgar Allan Poe was bizarre and amoral; that he was a lover of morbid beauty only; that he was unrelated to worldly circumstances-aloof from the affairs of the world; that his epitaph might well be: “Out of space-out of time.” But it is dangerous to attempt to separate any historical figure from his…
Robert E. Merry
November 21, 2018
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How Jakob Emig Fought the Yankees

From the front porch, Jakob Emig could look across fields where his winter wheat greened nicely. An old man now, with sons gone off to war, he lived mainly in a woman's world of married daughters and daughters-in-law on farms scattered nearby. He himself lived alone, widowed now for two years, hard work during war-time finally having taken its toll…
James Everett Kibler
November 19, 2018
Review Posts

A Visit to Clay Bank County

A review of four novels by Dr. James Everett Kibler, Jr: Walking Toward Home (Pelican Publishing, 2004), Memory’s Keep (Pelican Publishing, 2006), The Education of Chauncey Doolittle (Pelican Publishing, 2008), and Tiller (Shotwell Publishing, 2016). At the heart of every good work of fiction are characters that are believable and a real or imagined setting that allows readers to inhabit,…
Robin Spencer Lattimore
November 13, 2018
Blog

What’s in a (Generational) Name?

The whole 20th century was a horrible time for the friends of tradition:  the mild rule of Europe’s Christian monarchs - Habsburgs, Romanovs, and others - was replaced by the ruthless Communists and later the despotism of the European Union, amongst other totalitarian ‘isms’; Mao overthrew Confucius in China; the natural rhythms of the agrarian life in many places of…
Walt Garlington
September 28, 2018
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First Kiss

Back in 1958, when I was fifteen years old, I made the most critical and important decision in my youthful life. I made the choice any all-American fifteen-year-old farm boy would have made. It was time for me to get my first kiss from a girl. You see, I had a crush on Mary Sue! Mary Sue and her brother…
Cary Lindsay
September 21, 2018
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Mule Breeding

“Why don’t you get a tractor? You could get more done.” “Don’t need more done.” “But you could get it done faster.” “Faster than what?” “Faster than that mule goes.” The Yankee machine man really wanted to sell this down-south farm boy a tractor on account of the boy seemed to really be struggling with the mule (whom the boy…
Paul H. Yarbrough
September 13, 2018
Review Posts

What Are People For?

A review of What Are People For? by Wendell Berry (North Point Press, 1990) "We should love life," Dostoyevski once said, "more than the idea of life." It is this concreteness, this rootedness, that seemingly inspirits the life and writings of Wendell Berry, whose most recent collection of essays, What Are People For?, further establishes him as one of the…
Tom Rash
August 14, 2018
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Southward Returning/Sanctuary

Southward Returning To you, Virginia, Tennessee, To Georgia’s red roads, to the past That binds the delta and the sea, Your Southern sons return at last. No more the always going forth From ruin and our old regret, No more the sundering of faiths By some who taught us to forget. For us, the long remembering Of all our hearts…
Donald Davidson
August 8, 2018
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Nationally Acclaimed, Locally Detested

The Tricentennial celebration of New Orleans has stirred much interest into different facets of the city’s history. The search for the quintessential old New Orleans novel yields few results. The rich culture of New Orleans makes it one of America’s great cities. The Crescent City has served as muse for a litany of writers, accomplished and rising, yet it remains a near impossible place…
Abbeville Institute
July 23, 2018
Blog

I Heard A Voice

They were standing at the ledge. Their view mirrored a panorama of buildings and smoke stacks. Great edifices, heaving asymmetrically, skewed with monster cylinders venting plumes of expended energy. The farms, the land, scarcely discernible, were hiding from the crowding machines in ambient spaces where life of life and lives of lives grappled and struggled for survival. The agrarians had…
Paul H. Yarbrough
July 13, 2018
Blog

Donald Davidson Revisted

Mel Bradford has argued that no individual has exerted more influence upon the development of a profession of letters this century in the South than Donald Davidson. The poet, essayist, and social critic is well known to most literary scholars and historians of the South; however, Davidson’s critique of the Southern experience remains largely unappreciated. Several years ago the author…
H. Lee Cheek, Jr.
May 10, 2018
Review Posts

Making the Southern Canon

A review of Fifty Southern Writers After 1900: A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. Ed. by Joseph M. Flora and Robert Bain. Greenwood Press, 1987. A few years ago, before I had been sold upriver to Clemson, some colleagues and I were busily devising a graduate reading list for the Ph.D. program in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. (I had been…
Blog

The Sensory Poetry of Dubose Heyward

Dubose Heyward once described himself as a “synthetic Charlestonian.” Having been part French Huguenot and part English Cavalier, he was a direct descendant of South Carolina’s Thomas Heyward Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Born in Charleston in 1885, he was a major part of the Southern Literary Renaissance and wrote extensive poetry and fiction. Southern identity came…
Michael Martin
May 3, 2018
Blog

Save the Souls of the Lords of Gray– in Eleven Stanzas

Oh! Save the souls of the Lords of Gray. Donned their swords and scabbards. Rode into cause valiant to pray. Ever still they cease from marching forth; Holding their cause against a vile North. Men in gray suits though equal in stripe, Bare their hearts and sinew. Defend the world against the snipe, They bleed into soul far from Lord’s…
Paul H. Yarbrough
April 26, 2018
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Southern Themes in The Outsiders

S.E. Hinton published The Outsiders in 1967 at the age of eighteen. It’s a coming of age story that is widely read within schools and takes place in Oklahoma in 1965. The novel focuses on two rival groups, the Greasers and Socs, who are divided by their social status. The Greasers are described as wilder, having longer hair, and being…
Michael Martin
April 20, 2018
Blog

Streety

John Randolph of Roanoke with his dogs on the floor of Congress. There was a little dog down the street from us named Streety. My brother and I hadn’t got our own dog yet; that was five or six months in the future. So, we had adopted Streety as our own--though many in the neighborhood had done the same. He…
Paul H. Yarbrough
March 21, 2018
Blog

Tom’s Comedy Club

There was a social order at Tom’s Service Station.  It wasn’t posted on the wall.  The “Welcome Wagon” didn’t slip it into the baskets they gave to the newcomers.  It wasn’t revealed as part of an initiation along with the rumored secret handshake. But the old men who held court on the long bench outside of Tom’s knew.  And the…
Frank Clark
March 14, 2018
Review Posts

Souls of Lions

A review of R. E. Mitchell. Souls of Lions (Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse LLC, 2014). Very seldom do I review novels, even historical ones. But R. E. Mitchell’s volume, Souls of Lions, after just a few pages, captured my attention and kept me glued to my couch seat for several days until I had finished it…and with its surprising and fascinating…
Boyd Cathey
February 20, 2018
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“True Grit” as a Reconstruction Story

Although labeled a Western, True Grit is also a novel about Reconstruction in Arkansas and the Indian Territory that would become eastern Oklahoma. The Reconstruction aspects are more evident in the novel, which turns fifty years old this year, than in the movies. The story is about fourteen year old Mattie Ross who leaves her mother, sister and little brother at home…
Philip Leigh
February 19, 2018
Review Posts

“‘Finished in Beauty’ and in Memories”: Catharine Savage Brosman’s Book of Hours

A review-essay on A Memory of Manaus: Poems by Catharine Savage Brosman. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2017. A Memory of Manaus, Catharine Brosman’s eleventh full-length collection of poetry, confirms her rightful place in the front rank of contemporary American poets. Working skillfully in both traditional forms and in tightly controlled free verse, Brosman is among that very small number…
David Middleton
February 13, 2018
Blog

Georgia Scenes

When Georgia Scenes came from an Augusta, Georgia press in 1835, the literary world realized (to varying degrees) that here was a new kind of book. It took a discerning critic like Edgar Allan Poe to recognize so immediately that its “verisimilitude” was an outstanding trait. What was so radically new about the work was its author’s intention not to…
James Everett Kibler
February 7, 2018
Blog

Christmas at Greenpoint

Well, the old mill closed down on us Tuesday night at 6 P.M. for the rest of the week, so as to give us a holiday for Christmas, which came this year on December 25th inst. And so when I came out of the shop and started home it was sunset, and all back to the west was the prettiest…
Clinton Martin Bissell
December 22, 2017
Blog

Look Away

A bit of free verse to address our current situation, which is probably not as good as I think it is.  It marshals various lines from Donald Davidson’s poems.  As Faulkner said, all of us writers are really only failed poets. You, Mel Bradford, told Of remembering who we are. A time has come When answers will not wait. But…
Clyde Wilson
December 15, 2017
Blog

“No Other Gods Before Me.”

From its port side northern Kentucky’s foremost tourist attraction looks exactly like a real vessel, a big one, with a ramp fitted along it to take on animals and supplies.  From bow to stern it is 510 feet long, about as long as a modern missile frigate, and the designers have gone to great lengths to make the structure appear…
Jerry Salyer
November 30, 2017
Review Posts

Southern Tales of Glory and Woe

A review of A New England Romance: And Other Southern Stories by Randall Ivey (Shotwell Press, 2016). Randall Ivey’s book of Southern stories will make you laugh, cry and nod your head in recognition of delightful characters you feel you have known forever, or at least most of your life. This is especially true if you are lucky enough to…
Patricia Woods
November 7, 2017
Review Posts

That Old Black Magic

A review of Fred Chappell, Familiars, LSU Press, 2014. The cat, the felis silverstrus catus, both wild and domesticated, has exercised a considerable fascination for the creative artist throughout the thousands of years of Western and non-Western civilization.  One need only peruse art and history books containing sculptures of the animal originating in Byzantium and Egypt, among other ancient locales,…
Randall Ivey
September 12, 2017
Blog

Rich Hours

Presented at the 2017 Abbeville Institute Summer School. False River —For Olivia Pass, and for Patric It’s wide, impressive, but it’s false—really an oxbow lake, formed when the Mississippi, on its own, changed its course, three hundred years ago or so, chopping off a loop, leaving to the west a “Pointe Coupée”— an “island” and a flowing C.  Farther north…
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Poe’s War of the Literati

Edgar Allan Poe secured a permanent place among world authors as father of the short story, creator of the detective story, and/poetic genius. While he has an international reputation, Poe consciously identified himself as a Southern writer. Poe may not often come to mind as a Southern writer because he did not write about the South the way Simms or,…
Harry Lee Poe
July 20, 2017
Review Posts

Preserving the Good

A Review of Catharine Savage Brosman, Southwestern Women Writers and the Vision of Goodness, McFarland Press, 2016. The term “man of letters” has fallen largely into desuetude over the last few decades, and for good reason. Very few such entities exist nowadays on the literary landscape either in this country or elsewhere. One is more apt to come across a…
Randall Ivey
July 18, 2017
Blog

A Poetry Sampler

Editor's note: Three recent poetry submissions, the first two by Walt Garlington, the third by Stephen Borthwick. The Patriarch’s Clan The patriarch’s clan By the lake is gathered To honor again Their common father: The matriarch with Her circle of friends, Cousins, with new wives' and husbands' And newer children, The bond of kinship Strengthened in their meeting. Traditions are…
Abbeville Institute
July 17, 2017
Review Posts

A Breach in the Wall

A Review of: Look Homeward by David Herbert Donald, Little, Brown, 1987. When David Herbert Donald recalls his youthful reaction to Look Homeward, Angel, he describes a magic that many of us felt upon encountering Thomas Wolfe as adolescents: "I was convinced-without any just cause-that I too was misunderstood by my family and unappreciated in my community, and, like Eugene,…
Loxley Nichols
June 27, 2017
Review Posts

Understanding Andrew Lytle

A Review of The Southern Vision of Andrew Lytle, by Mark Lucas, Louisiana State University Press, 1987. Andrew Lytle's writings comprise a rich and diverse tapestry whose outlines are difficult to bring together. The critic who tackles this varying body of material must become conversant in history, political philosophy, military biography, and literary criticism. Lytle has been feted for achievements…
Benjamin Alexander
June 20, 2017
Review Posts

Music from the Lake

A review of Music from the Lake and Other Essays by Catharine Savage Brosman (Chronicles Press, 2017). Catharine Savage Brosman is a treasure of Southern literature.  Although much of her work shows her solid Colorado Rocky Mountain upbringing, somehow I do not think she will mind being placed in Southern literature.  Most of her career was spent in New Orleans…
Clyde Wilson
June 7, 2017
Blog

Home

Mary Fahl sang the beautiful song, “Going Home,” for the movie Gods and Generals. Such lyrics and tune that reached into my Southern psyche as to remind me of what the fight was all about. They say there's a place where dreams have all gone They never said where but I think I know It's miles through the night just…
Paul H. Yarbrough
May 22, 2017
Review Posts

Bledsoe on St. Elmo

Editor's note: This was originally published in Bledsoe's Southern Review in 1867 and is presented here in honor of Augusta J. Evans's birthday, May 8. St. Elmo. A Novel. By Augusta J. Evans. Carleton, New York. 1867. In the conscientious discharge of our duty as reviewers, we have read this novel from beginning to end, and as attentively as human…
Review Posts

Understanding Faulkner

A Review of: On the Prejudices, Predilections, and Firm Beliefs of William Faulkner. By Cleanth Brooks. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1987. 162 pp. When I think of the state of literary criticism in the academy today, I think of a New Yorker cartoon someone has put up in the liberal arts coffee lounge at Clemson. It shows…
Blog

Wendell Berry: More Than a Southern Thoreau

It was pure brag on young Henry Thoreau's part to say that he had gone to Walden Pond in order "to front only the essential facts of life," to take a Spartanlike stance against its demands on us, to cut a broad swath and shave close. In point of fact, Thoreau went to Walden to write the book later published…
Thomas McDonnell
May 1, 2017
Blog

Why Flannery O’Connor Never Liked Yankees

YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In Southern States the word is unknown. (seeDAMYANK.) Ambrose Bierce, THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY (1906). Bierce's definition of the Yankee is a bit outdated. No doubt some Southerners still refer to Northerners, especially New Yorkers and New Englanders, as Damyanks, but no one can say…
Michael Jordan
April 24, 2017
Blog

Manly Wade Wellman: The Voice of the Mountains

Manly Wade Wellman never penned an autobiography, despite the fact he published 500 stories and articles, won the World Fantasy Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award, and even edged out William Faulkner to win the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award in 1946. Yet, in one of his most famous short stories, Wellman did reveal how he must have seen himself…
Mike C. Tuggle
March 23, 2017
Review Posts

God, Gallup, and the Episcopalians

The rejection of the old Prayer Book was something like the demolition of a historic building. For over four centuries it has been regarded as a monument of great prose. It has influenced the English language with memorable images and phrasing. Only the King James trans­lation of the Bible and the works of William Shakespeare have affected our language so…
Cleanth Brooks
March 7, 2017
Blog

New England Against America

The Fiction of Mr. Simms gave indication, we repeat, of genius, and that of no common order. Had he been even a Yankee, this genius would have been rendered immediately manifest to his countrymen, but unhappily (perhaps) he was a Southerner His book, therefore, depended entirely upon its own intrinsic value and resources, but with these it made its way…
Clyde Wilson
March 2, 2017
Blog

Era of the Sow’s Ear

A Review of My Silk Purse and Yours: The Publishing Scene and American Literary Art by George Garrett, University of Missouri Press, 1992 My Silk Purse is a collection of 36 of George Garrett's essays and re­views, largely on the American publishing and literary scene. The essays are rather tightly a unit, having an underlying philosophy which provides the measure…
James Everett Kibler
February 28, 2017
Review Posts

Listening in Autumn: “Thin Time” in North Louisiana

Two Poems by Robert Peters and David Middleton Who Will Hear? From distant ridge to distant ridge hunting horns serenading with stories before great fires; Bobbing over hill and into hollow the fox hounds’ course voices; The pitch of the pack rising with the tiring of the stag; Watery break singing with a million mosquitoes; Chip marrying the widow with…
Abbeville Institute
February 7, 2017
Review Posts

Octavia Walton Le Vert

Fredrika Bremer calls the subject of this sketch her "sweet Rose of Florida." She certainly is a "Rose that all are praising." It would require the scope of a full biography to change this rose into a bud, and then, petal by petal, to unfold the bud again to the rose; after all, we might not find the dew-drop at…
Julia Deane Freeman
January 27, 2017
Blog

My Fantasy Visit with Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty once said that "Each writer must find out for himself, I imagine, on what strange basis he lives with his own stories." This has always struck me as a particularly profound observation about not only the writer's life, but "life" in general, the "stories" we all live. Eudora Welty. One of America's all-time great writers. One of America's…
Wayne Hogan
January 26, 2017
Blog

A Bow to the Ladies

A review of Understanding Mary Lee Settle, by George Garrett, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. 1988, 187 pages. One useful way to distinguish between types of novelists is to characterize them as either intensive or extensive. An intensive novel, much the more com­mon variety in modern times, deals with a small segment of individual experi­ence and consciousness, wringing from…
Clyde Wilson
January 25, 2017
Review Posts

J. Evetts Haley and the Mind of the South

American historians often write of a contrast between the South, a closed reactionary society, and the West, free and open and characteristically American. The dichotomy thus presented is a false one. The West is the South. That is, to the extent that the West is a theatre for heroic action, rather than just a place to start a new business,…
Guy Story Brown
January 3, 2017
Review Posts

Kaitlin of Christmas

The true story of a girl’s human love embracing the Christ-calling in each of us You arrived the first evening of Spring And never left, not once - You cooked and loved and overflowed With cookies and pizza and gingerbread The Seasons of every year We sometimes didn't know you and Sometimes wondered where you were even Though standing side…
Vito Mussomeli
December 19, 2016
Review Posts

Death of Kin

“Family’s getting scarce,” Cousin Jeanette says As Uncle Wallace, her daddy, lies In hospital bed in Union Lashed with tubes that keep him fed. Wallace has outlived all siblings save one, Uncle Autry, “Aut,” father of two sons And one daughter; he fascinated us Younguns with missing thumb. Before them we’ve lost Uncles Russell, Doug, And Hub and Aint Bertie.…
Randall Ivey
December 13, 2016
Blog

The Other William C. Falkner

The date was Tuesday, November 5th . . . the year was 1889 . . . federal and local elections were being held in twenty states throughout America.  In addition to the elections in Virginia that day, the newly launched steamer “New York” was setting out on her trial run from Norfolk.  Further south, after winning a seat in the…
John Marquardt
November 1, 2016
Review Posts

A Plinth of Night

Every night he watched them, this strange trio, the two men and the woman (that is what it looked like, a woman, that is what it appeared to be in the darkness), make their way by foot along the side of the highway and go over the railroad tracks and disappear to goodness knew where.  Then, maybe an hour or…
Randall Ivey
October 31, 2016
Review Posts

Monument Avenue: A Debate

O let his stone frown roll Applaud the silvery horse’s scuttle Forget where granite hooves dwell- It’s decreed, friends, ancient sorrows shan’t tell! Forget a fallen slandered father? What scary idle sings the dead man our children? Besiege the bewhiskered one blushing for us- Our grim story-teller too not like us? It’s amnesiacs down the obedient horsemen As memories into…
Mark Mantel
October 25, 2016
Blog

Review: Reinventing the South: Versions of a Literary Region, by Mark Royden Winchell

Chronicle’s most distinguished contributing editor, can be relied upon, always, to tell it like it is. He is doing just that when he writes in a  blurb to Reinventing the South:“these essays are splendidly written—mercifully free of contemporary critical jargon and easily accessible to the good and serious reader.”  And he amplifies this description of Professor Winchell's work with “high intelligence…
Clyde Wilson
October 12, 2016
Blog

A Faithful, Southern Fisherman

I was a faithful, Southern fisherman even in New England exile. "Oh, these small mouth bass are fine," I'd tell them, "but when I was a kid back home in Tennessee," blah, blah, blah. "Heck, we'd have won that War if our boys weren't off fishing all the time." I told tales of smiling Southern bass jumping into the boat…
Ted Roberts
September 15, 2016
Review Posts

Not Quite a Poem

It is not quite a poem though it would be had it a master worthy of its impulse. It is but at the hand of an apprentice a bit of prose yet with a lilt which would transcend its mundane form and become a goodly song, born of a memory of Grandma Peters’ declaration that the fall was “the thin…
Robert M. Peters
September 13, 2016
Blog

The Inside War

Editor's Note: This article was originally published at The Southern Literary Review and is an interview with author Robert J. Ernst by Allen Mendenhall covering Ernst's book, The Inside War. APM: Thanks for taking the time to sit down for this interview, Bob. Your novel The Inside War is about an Appalachian mountain family during the Civil War. How long…
Allen Mendenhall
August 5, 2016
Review Posts

American Culture: Massachusetts or Virginia

Delivered at the 2016 Abbeville Institute Summer School. A Frenchman has observed that the qualities of a culture may be identified by two characteristics--- its manners and its cuisine. If that is so, then we can safely say that the United States, except for the South, has no culture at all. Aside from the South the only American contributions to…
Clyde Wilson
August 3, 2016
Blog

Shakespeare and the Earl of Oxford

Perceptive and insightful people have known through the centuries that William Shakespeare could not possibly have written the plays and sonnets that had been attributed to him, beginning with certain suspicious posthumous folios. That uneducated hayseed from the North Country about whom very little is known! And, for Heaven's sake, an actor to boot! Impossible! There must be a mystery…
Clyde Wilson
July 27, 2016
Review Posts

Southern Voices

Southern Voices: Poems by William H. Holcombe, M. D. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1872. We hail this volume as a beautiful presage of the future of the South in the department of poetry In saying that it is worthy of the author, who, for several years past, has been a brilliant star in the literary firmament of the…
Blog

New From Southern Pens, Part 4

A new contribution to Southern literature from one or both of the Kennedy brothers, authors of the classic The South Was Right! and other good books, is always a cause for celebration. The latest, Uncle Seth Fought the Yankees by James Ronald Kennedy, does not disappoint. Uncle Seth, a Confederate veteran, in about 100 easy lessons, gently educates the young…
Clyde Wilson
April 20, 2016
Review Posts

The Ireland of the Union

Richard Henry Wilde (1789-1847) was regarded as one of the finest American poets of his day.  Born in Ireland, he settled in Georgia and served several terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Democratic-Republican and later Jacksonian Democrat.  He supported William H. Crawford for president in 1824.  Wilde left the United States for Europe in 1835 then…
Richard Henry Wilde
April 12, 2016
Review Posts

Sot Weed from the Maryland Muse

EBENEZER COOKE (fl. ca. 1680s—1730s?) of Maryland is a major figure in colonial American literature. He is best known for the long satirical poem "The Sot-Weed Factor." (The sot-weed is tobacco, mainstay of the Southern, and American economy in the colonial period, and the factor is a figure long familiar in the South—the seaport merchant who sold and exported the…
Ebenezer Cooke
March 29, 2016
Review Posts

Old Man’s Burden

Mr. Newhouse’s daughter in Atlanta no longer knew what to do about her younger son, Kyle.  He was completely out of control.  He violated curfew regularly.  He cultivated distasteful friends and assumed their worst characteristics and generally behaved with unwarranted sullenness and disrespect.  He had been given everything, after all: a private school education, trips, without chaperone, to places like…
Randall Ivey
March 1, 2016
Blog

A Tale of Two Southern Books

This time of year we begin seeing recommendations of books for Christmas presents. This article is also a recommendation for a gift book but I admit that I have an ulterior motive. I intend to compare this book with another one in order to illustrate a political phenomenon that has always intrigued me. The phenomenon I am referring to is…
Gail Jarvis
February 29, 2016
Blog

“Dar’s nuttin’ lak de ol’-time ways”

Many people are familiar with the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers Project of the 1930s. While some historians reject them for what has been called gross inaccuracies due in large part to the many positive memories of the institution (the negative accounts are always used), they have become the standard source for firsthand information on the institution from the…
Brion McClanahan
February 5, 2016
Blog

Old South Education before the War to Destroy Southern Civilization

In the Old South, only those children whose parents thought they needed education, attended school; many did not.  Of those who did not, many were taught at home to read or to read and write.  A higher percentage of Southerners than Northerners attended college, though students in Southern colleges were more interested in making and enjoying social contacts than in…
George Crockett
January 29, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 9

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, Jan 11-15, 2016.  Host Brion McClanahan discusses Harper Lee, Southern literature, Southern Jews, Reconstruction, and political correctness. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-9
Brion McClanahan
January 16, 2016
Review Posts

To the Virginian Voyage

Michael Drayton never came to the New World.  In 1606 he wrote this ode "To the Virginian Voyage," in honour of Sir Walter Raleigh's first expedition to plant a permanent settlement of English people in North America.  The poem illustrates the culture out of which the first Southerners came and almost uncannily anticipates the South that was soon to be…
Michael Drayton
January 12, 2016
Blog

Go Set a Watchman

Harper Lee betrayed the literary establishment and many of her readers with the recent publication of her novel, Go Set a Watchman.  The novel was originally written before the acclaimed, To Kill a Mockingbird and when it was published last year the literary public, readers and critics, were most impatient to read it. Many of them had reactions ranging from…
John Devanny
January 11, 2016
Podcast

Podcast Episode 7

The Week in Review at the Abbeville Institute, December 28, 2015-January 1, 2016. Topics: Southern literature, the year in review, John C. Calhoun, slavery, the Confederate Flag, Southern film, California. https://soundcloud.com/the-abbeville-institute/episode-7
Brion McClanahan
January 3, 2016
Blog

So Red the Rose

You might not find Stark Young's So Red The Rose in current recommendations of novels set during the civil war era, but Young's novel, published in 1934, was a record-breaking best seller, so popular with the reading public that it was made into a Hollywood film. It differs from most novels in that it doesn't have a protagonist, nor is…
Gail Jarvis
December 31, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Introduction to James Pettigrew’s Notes on Spain

Introduction This is James Johnston Pettigrew’s only book, privately printed in Charleston in the first weeks of the War between the States and here for the first time published. In the opening passage the author describes himself crossing the Alps on his way to seek service in the army of the king of Sardinia. His mission was to take part…
Clyde Wilson
December 30, 2015
Review Posts

The Immortals

THE IMMORTALS: A STORY OF LOVE AND WAR In 1861, as a deadly conflict looms between North and South, Charleston sits like a queen upon the waters—beautiful, proud and prosperous—and no native son loves her more than George Taylor. A successful Broad Street lawyer, Taylor has won the heart of an enchanting young woman and looks forward to a brilliant…
Karen Stokes
December 29, 2015
Blog

A Christmas Story for the Old South

This piece was originally published on the Canada Free Press. Much to the annoyance of multiculturists, Christmas is still America’s most celebrated holiday, and in the weeks preceding this festive time, traditional Christmas stories will appear on television screens. We can expect to see numerous versions of Charles Dickens renowned tale, A Christmas Carol, O.Henry’s The Gift of the Magi,and…
Gail Jarvis
December 24, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Thomas Jefferson, Southern Man of Letters, Part I

There was a popular ragtime song in the 1940s and ‘50s, derived from an old minstrel tune, that went like this: Is it true what they say about Dixie? Does the sun really shine there all the time? Do sweet magnolias blossom 'round every door? Do the folks eat possum till they can’t eat no more? If you really want…
Clyde Wilson
November 4, 2015
Blog

Ferrol Sams and Run With the Horsemen

Do men read fiction anymore? In my youth I remember visiting other boys’ homes and finding novels from their fathers – you know, Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming. In my own family there were no books, and I can confidently state that not one of my forebears had read even 50 books, fiction or nonfiction, not even…
Terry Hulsey
November 2, 2015
Blog

John William Corrington and Southern Conservatism

This piece was originally published at The American Conservative. When John William Corrington died in 1988, Southern conservatives lost one of their most talented writers, a refined Cajun cowboy with a jazzy voice and bold pen whose work has since been unjustly neglected. A lawyer and an English professor, an ambivalent Catholic and a devotee of the philosopher Eric Voegelin,…
Allen Mendenhall
October 29, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

Chronicles of the South

Introduction to Chronicles of the South: In Justice to So Fine a Country “The South” is a Problem. A Big Problem. This has been true at least since the 1790s when Mr. Jefferson and his friends rallied to put the kibosh—only temporarily, alas—on New England's attempt to reinterpret the new Constitution and set up a central government powerful enough to…
Clyde Wilson
October 21, 2015
Blog

The War to Prevent Southern Independence and Other New Tomes

Thanks for the “Amateurs” “Amateur” has come to mean “inferior” to most people today. But the term originally meant someone who was as good as a professional but did not take money for performance. Fortunately, Dixie has always had and still does have many able “amateur” historians. This is a good thing since most of the paid “professional” historians these…
Clyde Wilson
September 30, 2015
Review Posts

Pride

Variation on a theme by Chekhov “Oh, Eldridge. Well. Ain’t seen you in a week. I thought they must have re-routed you or something, boy.” Eldridge Sartor had spotted Mr. Hitt moseying from his front door to the mailbox as soon as he pulled up. “Naw, sir,” Mr. Sartor replied. Even though Mr. Hitt was now standing no more than…
Randall Ivey
September 29, 2015
Blog

He Loved To Tell The Story: An Appreciation of William Price Fox (1926-2015)

From personal experience I can draw any number of anecdotes that would vividly personify William Price Fox, the South Carolina novelist, story writer, and chronicler of the South who died in April at age eighty-nine, a few days following his birthday, another vibrant person claimed by the scourge of Alzheimer’s. This occurred in 1988. I hitched a ride with Bill…
Randall Ivey
September 21, 2015
Review Posts

A Small Poetics

A poetess, invited to submit her verse—a friendly offer— answered back: “Your editorial policies don’t fit my own advanced ideas; I’d be a hack   if I were to contribute. Life is short, and poems few; I want them to do good, and advertise my causes.”   That retort astonished me. So poems, briefly, should   be activist endeavors, meant to…
Review Posts

The Poet Laureate of the Lost Cause

It was the fate of much Southern poetry to have been written during the stormy period of our Civil War and hence to have been overlooked and neglected. War may furnish incitement to the production of poetry, but it does not generate that attitude of quiet and content most conducive to gentle, poetic reading. Indeed misfortune befell much poetry of…
Charles W. Kent
August 3, 2015
Blog

The Real History of Tap Dancing

After an enforced retirement due to a bad back, and moving to the Deep South to get away from the madness of living inside the DC Beltway in Virginia most of my life, and the cold winters, I had the typical delusion that I wanted a vegetable garden, a big one. I brought in tons of a rich humus to…
Arnie Lerma
July 24, 2015
Clyde Wilson Library

What This Country Needs

In one of Henry James’s less unreadable novels, The Bostonians, the hero is Basil Ransom, an impoverished ex-Confederate from Mississippi who is trying to make his way professionally in the urban North. The author wants us to see the tough, realistic, earthy Ransom as a healthy contrast to the decayed idealism of the wealthy, reformist, insular, enervated society of Boston.…
Clyde Wilson
July 8, 2015
Review Posts

Crow Boy

This story is for Ben Greer, fellow upcountryman. The South Carolina Upcountry, 1955 He hears them talking through the swinging door. Now what are you crying for? He’s the same. Everything’s the same, I tell you. I know but I can’t help but worry. About what? He’s the same and as healthy as can be expected. You’re a man, Dr.…
Randall Ivey
July 7, 2015
Blog

The Literature Police and Gone With The Wind

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind was enthusiastically received when it was published but it has run afoul of the socio/political trends of recent years. Consequently, society's censors want the book banned. Throughout history there have been political and sanctimonious types who tried to restrict what the populace is permitted to read, but in our generation these types seem to…
Gail Jarvis
June 22, 2015
Review Posts

Modern Times

Goodbye, Dear   How seldom now do you begin with Dear, Both warm and formal (civil) but a mere First name -- “David:” -- like a Sir or Madam   Summons to a wayward child of Adam, No salutation as in Saint Paul’s Letters, Your curt tone saying one should know his betters As if you bid a servant or a…
David Middleton
May 12, 2015
Review Posts

Southern Core Values

In American higher education of the past forty years, I have observed two American histories, and two American literatures – which teach different American ideals and values, resulting in different societies and different vision of what it means to be an American. Today we have a Northern history and a Southern history; we have a Northern literature and a Southern…
David Aiken
March 3, 2015
Review Posts

Sidney Lanier

BECAUSE I believe that Sidney Lanier was much more than a clever artisan in rhyme and metre; because he will, I think, take his final rank with the first princes of American song, I am glad to provide this slight memorial. There is sufficient material in his letters for an extremely interesting biography, which could be properly prepared only by…
William Hayes Ward
February 3, 2015
Blog

“Music means harmony, harmony means love, love means – God!”

Though his life was cut short by tuberculosis (he once wrote that his entire adult life, from Confederate soldier to ill scholar, had been spent trying to avoid death), Sidney Lanier left behind a full catalog of poetry for the soul.   His odes to nature, love, God, and the spirit of humanity should be better known among the American public,…
Brion McClanahan
February 3, 2015
Blog

Let the South Ride Again on the Winds of Time

“There is a great story-telling tradition in the South. My grandfather, father, and uncles were all raconteurs, and I grew up listening to their stories, as well as those of other men. There's a touch of oral tradition in my writing.” – Robert Jordan The Abbeville Institute has done a remarkable job of restoring Southern gentlemen-authors to their rightful place…
James Rutledge Roesch
January 15, 2015
Blog

Robert E. Howard: Southern Writer

“The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may well be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When…
Mike C. Tuggle
January 15, 2015
Blog

Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!

A modern student of American literature would be hard pressed to find anything written on or about Henry Timrod in a current anthology of American poetry. Bob Dylan and Langston Hughes will have text dedicated to their work, but not the Poet Laureate of the Confederacy, a man whose verse sparked men to action and whose sweet sorrow at the…
Brion McClanahan
December 8, 2014
Blog

Along the Corduroy Road

This piece was originally published at Alabama Pioneers on 3 December 2014. The old home place stood among large oak trees at the top of a hill, more of a rise actually, in the black belt just east of Camp Creek. It was a good place for a ten year old boy to live. It had a good well of…
Arthur "Art" E. Green
December 4, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Literature in the Old South

In an ideal world the separate studies of history and literature would enlighten one another. A historian—whether of republican Rome, seventeenth century France, the Old South, or any other subject—would gain insights into an era from its imaginative literature. Insights of a kind to be found nowhere else, for the best imaginative literature is created by the most acute consciousnesses…
Clyde Wilson
December 2, 2014
Blog

The Despot’s Song!

Southern history contains many fine examples of literary and artistic merit long ignored by contemporary scholars and forgotten by the American public at large, both North and South. Much of this is due to the impact that the War had on the perception of the Southern people. Students in American literature will get a cursory understanding of Southern literature, primarily…
Brion McClanahan
November 13, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Tiger’s Meat: William Gilmore Simms and the History of the Revolution

In the early days of the United States, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton remarked: "The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment." The common national sentiment—among American peoples diverse in economic interests, folkways, and political agendas—mainly rested on a fraternal sense of the shared perils and triumphs of the War of Independence, prior to…
Clyde Wilson
November 11, 2014
Blog

Cell Phone Towers

Cold metal arms, skeletal, sepulchral, Reaching upwards, grasping. Devil's towers topped with devil's claws, Tearing the creation - earth and sky, Wind and water, what is seen, what is not. Scorpion tails, Stinging all with unseen venom. Counterfeit trees for a counterfeit life: Texting, surfing, talking - with the soulless. Where are the trees of living wood and leaf, That…
Walt Garlington
October 29, 2014
Blog

Citizen Faulkner: “What We Did, In Those Old Days”

In honor of William Faulkner's birthday (Sept 25), Clyde Wilson discusses Faulkner as a conservative. This essay first appeared in Clyde Wilson and Brion McClanahan, Forgotten Conservatives in American History William Faulkner is of course a giant of 20th century literature. Study of his works of fiction is an immense and world-wide scholarly industry. Most of the vast published commentary…
Clyde Wilson
September 25, 2014
Blog

Lanterns on the Levee

The books found on library shelves began changing some time ago. The intellectual interests of most Americans began to diminish, and those Americans who do have intellectual interests, normally use the Internet for research. Consequently, most books about “serious” subjects began disappearing from library shelves, being replaced with “pop culture” books. But, even before these changes, it was difficult to…
Gail Jarvis
August 26, 2014
Review Posts

Second Sight

Revival week at Covenant Baptist Church in Compton, South Carolina, was a time of great festivity. Some claimed it rivaled, in spectacle and variety, the state fair in Columbia. Indeed it had gotten to be such a large event, with ever increasing attendance year by year, that the church organizers, ten years before, moved the proceedings from the humble brick…
Randall Ivey
July 10, 2014
Blog

Rose of Dixie

Few American authors wrote as many stories set in the old South as William Sydney Porter, who used the pen name, “O.Henry.” There are differing versions of how and why Porter chose the nom de plume O. Henry, each with varying degrees of credibility. Suffice it to say that he is considered one of America's great writers of fiction, and…
Gail Jarvis
July 1, 2014
Blog

Hollywood–South by West

Part 4 in a 5 part series. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. In 1902 the Philadelphia aristocrat Owen Wister published what has been called “the first true Western novel.” It was set in Wyoming and entitled The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains. Think about it. What is “a Virginian” doing in Wyoming? In fact, Wister was right on…
Clyde Wilson
June 20, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Southern Culture: From Jamestown to Walker Percy

"Nations are the wealth of mankind, its generalized personalities; the least among them has its own unique coloration and harbors within itself a unique facet of God's design." —Alesandr Solzhenitsyn James Warley Miles was librarian of the College of Charleston in the mid-nineteenth century. He was also an ordained Episcopal priest. Miles had spent some years in the Near and…
Clyde Wilson
June 18, 2014
Review Posts

Ode: Sung on the occasion of decorating the graves of the Confederate dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S. C., 1866

Sung on the occasion of decorating the graves of the Confederate dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S. C., June 16, 1866 Sleep sweetly in your humble graves, Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause!— Though yet no marble column craves The pilgrim here to pause. In seeds of laurels in the earth, The garlands of your fame are sown; And, somewhere,…
Henry Timrod
June 16, 2014
Review Posts

John William Corrington: A Literary Conservative

This essay originally appeared at the Front Porch Republic. Marietta, GA. It was the spring of 2009. I was in a class called Lawyers & Literature. My professor, Jim Elkins, a short-thin man with long-white hair, gained the podium. Wearing what might be called a suit—with Elkins one never could tell—he recited lines from a novella Decoration Day. I had…
Allen Mendenhall
June 12, 2014
Review Posts

The Importance of Reading in the Digital Age

Were it not such a looming and very possible prospect on our collective cultural horizon, a discussion of the demise of the book in its traditional form, that is, a compendium of knowledge bound in the confines of paper, cloth, and glue, would be not only amusing but almost surreal. The book has always been with us, ever since Mr.…
Randall Ivey
June 4, 2014
Review Posts

The Antique Dealer

I arrived at the tiny Episcopal church just minutes before the service. As I got out of the car, dressed in my best seersucker suit, all eyes of those waiting outside of the church shot towards me. They stood, fans in hand, in the shadow of the looming church, some shedding polite tears, others yawning in wait for the long…
Rachel Miller
May 26, 2014
Blog

Starry-Eyed Varlet

Tito Perdue is a self-described “problematic author” and “cultural reactionary.” His novels are bitter and amusing accounts of a Western civilization that seems hell-bent on suicide. But that culture is haunted by Perdue’s literary alter ego, Lee Pefley, a man who acts as both a Jeremiah and cultural guerilla fighter. Pefley’s sorties apparently arise out of pure outrage, with no…
Mike C. Tuggle
May 9, 2014
Review Posts

The Fight

IN the younger days of the Republic there lived in the county of -- two men, who were admitted on all hands to be the very best men in the county; which, in the Georgia vocabulary, means they could flog any other two men in the county. Each, through many a hard-fought battle, had acquired the mastery of his own…