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Southern Poetry

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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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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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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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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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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…
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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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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
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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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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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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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American Aurelius

Esteem you for your genius? Just a little— But most of all your people loved the peace That stood behind your fury. In the middle Of your much-troubled heart, there dwelt surcease From trouble’s weight and unrestrained increase, From victory’s excess, defeat’s despair. The calm philosophers of Ancient Greece Had nothing on you, Old Marse Robert, there. Oh, sure, you…
Thomas Riley
August 20, 2021
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Can the South Rise Again?

Growing up in mostly-rural North Carolina, most of my friends and especially their parents could go on a bit about their family backgrounds, about their familial histories. Most of my friends—like me—had great-grandfathers or great-great-grandfathers who had served in Confederate ranks back in 1861-1865. Pride in family and in our ancestors was taken for granted, a devout appreciation we all…
Boyd Cathey
August 16, 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…
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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…
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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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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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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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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
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
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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
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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
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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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 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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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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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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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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Confederate Dead

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK9z0zwThtw The Confederate Dead (1867) By Latienne From the broad and calm Potomac, To the Rio Grande's waves, Have the brave and noble fallen — And the earth is strewn with graves, In the vale and on the hill-side, Through the wood and by the stream, Has the martial pageant faded, Like the vision of a dream. Where the reveille…
Brion McClanahan
May 7, 2018
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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
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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
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
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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
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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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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

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

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
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
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
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…
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

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
Review Posts

For the Paris Dead

The Wehrmacht coveted the wealth of France, its grain, vines, ports, its past—and Paris most of all.  They planned, and took their shining chance. Admiring it, they didn’t want its ghost,   or ruins!  They too were Franks.  “Leben wie Gott in Frankreich” was their watchword.   Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Concorde, the Louvre besot them: vital presence, history, art.  The…
Catharine Savage Brosman
December 22, 2015
Review Posts

On a Postmodern Publisher

  A modest query falls out of the fog: “Might you be interested in this small book, which would appear to fit your catalogue— new figures, new research? Please take a look.” The answer is politely couched, and smooth; they cannot risk offense that might be quoted. The momentary business is to soothe, while the assessment’s “pending, as was noted.”…
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
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

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
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“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

Christmas Clover

  By Vito Mussomeli and Patrick Ward Inching down the hillside among wet clover, careful not to slip, our amiable air and sun warm your face while beautifully, sparkling dark green bunches cushion your feet. It’s Christmastime in Scottsdale.   I look for 4-leaf clovers. Find none. Never do. They are named ‘trifolium’ as their siblings the 3-leaf clovers. There…
Vito Mussomeli
December 25, 2014
Blog

The True Fire Within

  A review of Henry Timrod: A Biography by Walter Brian Cisco, Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickison University Press, 2001. 168 pages. Henry Timrod died in 1867 at the age of thirty-nine from tuberculosis--his end aggravated and hastened by inadequate food and the rigors of eking out a living amidst the charred ruins of South Carolina's capital city. The newspaper which…
Clyde Wilson
December 9, 2014
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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

Geologists Say

Geologists say Earth’s clay is dust of star. That I believe But not from science chart or learned formulae. Dwarf iris prove it. Blue aster and blue gentian too, Sky-coloured violets By clearest stream, Blue birds’ new spring coats – They’ve brought the heavens down, Have power to reflect, declare All origins.
James Everett Kibler
December 4, 2014
Review Posts

Test Pattern

It filled the screen from midnight until dawn After the late show, anthem, station sign In those brief early days of innocence When television broadcast black and white. The pattern was rectangular, abstract, Made up of wheels and numbers, blocks and lines To measure shape, proportion, light and dark, Its soundtrack shrill – the sine wave’s monotone. But centered at…
David Middleton
October 31, 2014
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My Father Attends Funerals

For Julian Ivey In a time when the dead are forgotten As quickly as yesterday’s news, My father attends funerals In coat, tie, and mirror-bright shoes. This formality is largely gone now When people gather to see off the dead. They might come in workclothes, Tee-shirts, overalls, and caps to cover their heads. Not my father. A child of the…
Randall Ivey
September 9, 2014
Review Posts

Bounty

Bullace and scuppernong Wild flavours and perfumes Important among harvests. Wild strawberry and low-bush huckleberry. Perfume of chionanthus and sweetshrub, Better than barter and trade, Sky-song of geese, Pattern of butterfly wings, bearing no bar code – Early remembrance they, Glad of return Renewing the mind, in circling year, Past all beginnings, Beyond all stars.
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