Edited by William Wright and Paul Ruffin, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia brings together over one hundred of Georgia’s poets, including David Bottoms, Natasha Trethewey, Leon Stokesbury, Thomas Lux, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Alice Friman, Judson Mitcham, and Stephen Corey, as well as myriad other luminous voices. The volume marks the fifth of the series Art & Literature has called “one of the most ambitious projects in contemporary Southern letters.”
Paul Ruffin, Texas State University System Regents' Professor at Sam Houston State University, is the author of two novels, four collections of stories, four books of essays, and seven collections of poetry.
William Wright is author of Dark Orchard, The Ghost Narratives, and Sleep Paralysis. Wright is the series editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology and founding editor of Town Creek Poetry.
Mack Dryden, born and educated in Mississippi, has made a living making people laugh since an air purifier was a box of matches. As a comedian, he’s performed on dozens of TV shows, including The Tonight Show and his own show, Comedy Break,. He was handpicked by Bill Maher for the writing staff of Politically Incorrect,, and his cartoons have appeared in numerous publications, including his first illustrated book, Remember When Safe Sex Meant All the Car Doors Were Locked?
Does This Book Make My Head Look Fat? is a collection of this world-class humorist’s funniest columns, cartoons, standup riffs, and lyrics, and every page is crammed with belly laughs.
Mack Dryden appeared on dozens of TV shows, including 125 episodes of the syndicated sketch show Comedy Break with Mack & Jamie, and starred in the movie Million Dollar Mystery. As a solo actor, he appeared in JAG, The Guardian, and as Scotty the bartender on two seasons of ABC’s western Paradise. As a writer, he was handpicked for the staff of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, where he honed his skill at writing topical humor.
Jack B. Bedell’s poems celebrate the people, traditions, and landscapes that have shaped him throughout his life. The poetry collected in Bone-Hollow, True represents over two decades of Bedell’s published work, all driven by an intense love of story and heritage. From first page to last, this book revels in the culture that makes south Louisiana, and Bedell’s poetry, so unique. At once contemplative and conversational, these poems consistently find the simple beauty of the world at hand, relying on the power of narrative to drive it home for all of us.
Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and coordinator of the programs in Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as editor of Louisiana Literature and director of Louisiana Literature Press. His most recent books are Call and Response and Come Rain, Come Shine, both with Texas Review Press.
Jack Butler’s Broken Hallelujah: New and Selected Poems is a celebration that refuses to explain away pain and trouble, or to oversell the very transcendence it seeks. Its poems are always musical, whether formal, improvisational, or written according to the music of speech itself.
Butler understands poetry more nearly as the essence of that speech than as one of its products, the heart of the ways we know each other. Some of these forms are as old as English, but the voice stays immediate; and whether dark or hopeful, comic or sober, passionate or calm and knowing, these poems speak with the urgency of praise itself.
The son of a Southern Baptist minister, Jack Butler grew up in the Mississippi Delta (his home town is Alligator). He was awarded undergraduate degrees in mathematics and English, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. He has worked in the marketplace as well as in academia and administration. Broken Hallelujah: New and Selected Poems is his tenth book in eighteen worldwide editions, including a translation into Japanese. With its publication, his published books include three volumes of poetry, one of short fiction, a food book, and five novels, including two with Alfred A. Knopf. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer and the Pen/Faulkner, and has won awards for fiction and his poetry. His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Black Warrior Review, New Orleans Review, Plains Poetry Review, and many other journals. He enjoys mathematics, physics, painting, zen, and yoga.
Cold Blue Steel contains fifty lyric poems set in the world of the urban street cop in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest metropolis.
In the patrol car, at scenes of suicides and DOAs, in the overtime reality of aching feet and sweating torsos, the reader experiences the hard realities and unexpected luminosities of doing America’s most dangerous job.
Sarah Cortez, author of How to Undress a Cop, has edited Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives, Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery, Indian Country Noir, and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens. Her most recent title is Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston.
These short, accessible poems describe the experiences of the author as a practicing internist and (later) psychiatrist. Some allude to the responses of patients to a physician with an obvious physical disability. Others describe the reactions of patients to illness, injury, and death.
Some of the poems are funny, some angry, some sad. Reading them has been likened to eating potato chips: “You can’t eat just one.”
Beryl Lawn, born in Cleveland, Ohio, spent her early childhood in College Station, Texas. When she was nine, her father joined the Foreign Service, and until she began college (at the University of Pennsylvania) she lived outside the United States. Prior to starting Temple Medical School she was involved in a crime-related incident, sustained a spinal-cord injury, and became a paraplegic. Her subsequent life (medical school, postgraduate training, medical practice, marriage) has been spent in a wheelchair. Author is now living in Temple, Texas.
In Map Home, as in Havird’s award-winning chapbook, Penelope’s Design—but amply here—“the memories of ‘a dream-disheveled child’ in the Deep South unfold,” as Eleanor Wilner observes, “into the meditative travels of the literary man in elegant poems riddled with starlight.”
David Havird grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and studied at the University of South Carolina under James Dickey. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Virginia with a doctoral dissertation on Thomas Hardy. While not a prolific poet, he has published for many years in major journals, having broken into print in 1975 with a poem in The New Yorker. His collection of fourteen poems, Penelope’s Design (2010), won the 2009 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he teaches at Centenary College.
A nameless and sometimes hapless narrator moves through a series of casual encounters, mostly in the Southwest, with total strangers, average people going about day-to-day, often mundane activities, but taking time to reveal to him, unprompted, their life experiences.
Although he does not invite their attention, they sometimes seem desperate to share their stories with him, mostly because he’s right there, sometimes trapped by circumstance. Often funny, sometimes sad, always poignant in a way, their voices, their words open up their deeper selves, reveal both the comedy and tragedy of individual life, and expose the unique humanity behind the anonymous faces of the ordinary person. Through their candid and unselfconscious revelations, they tell a composite story of the everyday individual muddling through the vicissitudes of everyday life.
Clay Reynolds is an award-winning novelist and short-fiction writer and a widely published scholar and critic. The author of thirteen books and more than a thousand other publications, he is a professor of arts and humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he teaches creative writing and literature. He and his wife, Judy, live in Lowry Crossing, Texas.
Genesis in Japan: The Bible Beyond Christianity rises from a journal of reflections that were collected by the author while teaching the Bible to Japanese university students in Tokyo. It relates the diverse responses to the Bible that rebound, subtly but forcefully, back to the teacher from these students—extraordinary responses, in that they are simple, pure, ordinary, and entirely disorienting.
Teaching and learning the Bible in Japan has led the author to another view of the Bible, one that stands in stark contrast with the Bible in the Bible-heavy culture that was the author’s beginning at a small crossroads in central South Carolina.
Thomas Dabbs is a professor in the Department of English and American Literature at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan, where he teaches Shakespeare and the Bible.
Considering George Garrett’s life and work in the continuum of American literary history, it is perhaps most profitable to place him in the tradition of the now exceedingly rare Southern “man of letters”—he (or she) who embraces and produces literature in all its complexity and in multiple forms (novels, short stories, poems, plays, criticism, translation, editing, and so on).
This kind of Southern writer, stretching back to Edgar Allan Poe, perhaps finds its best modern examples in the Nashville-based writers of the 1920s and 1930s. Chronologically, Garrett, born in 1929, probably was the most variously gifted Southern writer to arrive on the scene following Robert Penn Warren. Indeed, it is in such company that his life and work belong.
Casey Clabough is the author of the novel Confederado, the travel memoir The Warrior's Path: Reflections Along an Ancient Route, and five scholarly books on Southern writers, including Inhabiting Contemporary Southern & Appalachian Literature: Region & Place in the 21st Century. Clabough serves as editor of the literature section of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities' Encyclopedia Virginia and as general editor of the literary journal James Dickey Review. He lives on a farm in Appomattox County, Virginia, and teaches at Lynchburg College.
Between Cloud and Horizon: A Relationship Casebook in Stories
Between Cloud and Horizon: A Relationship Casebook in Stories is an examination of what defines the relationships that define each of us, and the myriad forms they take, in a story collection that doubles as a casebook of how we interact with each other.
It is an exposé—in narrative—of what binds—or breaks—the bonds between fathers and sons, partners in crime, brothers, roommates, bandmates, co-workers, the past and the present, man and machine, the living and the dead, book and reader.
Colin Fleming writes for The Atlantic,, Slate, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, ESPN The Magazine, and The New Criterion. This is his first book.
The poems in The Error of Nostalgia explore the relationships between individuals and their natural and urban environments in the American South and South America. These disparate locations serve as sites where, among other things, humans confront the perils of natural catastrophes, expatriation, urbanization, and crises of identity.
“Richard Boada’s brilliant and self-torn poems mediate nature and the urbane. Their economies chafe, rousing teargas and vulcanism. They are not nostalgia, but ‘lucidities that appear when one goes home,’ ‘evidence of who we are.’”—Angela Ball
“The poems in Richard Boada’s The Error of Nostalgia are quick and tactile, moving through landscapes and histories with the speed of fresh recognition, what Brodsky called the ‘accelerated thinking’ of poetry.”—Jesse Graves, author, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine
“These poems brim with sonic lushness, with musicality, and with a delicacy that reminds me of James Wright and Louise Glück. However, Boada’s poetry is his own: complex, pulsing, curious, and always surprising.”—William Wright, author, Night Field Anecdote and Bledsoe
Richard Boada teaches writing at Misericordia University in Pennsylvania. His chapbook Archipelago Sinking was nominated for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2012 Poetry Award, and his poems have appeared in RHINO, Crab Orchard Review, Yalobusha Review, and The Louisville Review among others. The Error of Nostalgia is his first full-length collection.
“In A Little Luck, Jeff Worley presents that rarest of commodities—a voice encyclopedic in its attentions, clever, self-aware, and deeply likeable. Worley’s humor throughout is dark and smart, his phrasings elegant. I would give A Little Luck to the reader who loves the work of Ted Kooser or Rodney Jones. I’d give this book to the reader who does not yet realize he loves poetry.”—Sandra Beasley, Final Judge
Jeff Worley’s first book, The Only Time There Is, won the Mid-List Press First-Book Poetry Prize, and his second book from Mid-List, Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern, was named 2006 Kentucky Book of the Year in Poetry. Now retired from the University of Kentucky, he lives in Lexington with his wife, Linda.
Harlow tells the story of eighteen-year-old Leslie Somers, who trudges his way through the dark Louisiana backwoods one winter in search of his father. As he walks through the woods, Leslie thinks of the other male role models in his life: the men who took him hunting and fishing, the men who mistreated him.
Since Leslie has been forsaken by his mother, he can only imagine a life with this man he has never met: his father, Harlow Cagwin. But when Leslie finally finds Harlow, the man is not what the boy had expected.
The two end up on a crash course toward destruction, crime, and twisted relationships that will leave one of them dead, the other a hardly recognizable version of his former self.
David Armand, born and raised in Louisiana, has worked as a drywall hanger, a draftsman, and as a press operator in a flag-printing factory. He now teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University. In 2010 his first novel, The Pugilist’s Wife, won the George Garrett Fiction Prize and was also published by Texas Review Press.
The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee
Edited by Jesse Graves, Paul Ruffin and William Wright
The state of Tennessee is widely recognized as a home of great music, and its geographic regions are as distinct as Memphis blues, Nashville country, and Bristol old-time sounds. Tennessee’s literary heritage offers equal variety and quality, as home to the Fugitive Agrarian Poets, as well as a signature voice from the Black Arts Movement. Few states present such a multicultural panorama as does the Volunteer State.
The poems in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee engage the storied histories, diverse cultures, and vibrant rural and urban landscapes of the region. Among the more than 120 poets represented are Pulitzer and Bollingen Prize-winner Charles Wright, Brittingham Award-winner Lynn Powell, and Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize-winners Rick Hilles and Arthur Smith.
Conceived by Series Editor William Wright in 2003, The Southern Poetry Anthology is a multivolume project, published exclusively by Texas Review Press, celebrating established and emerging poets of the American South.
Jesse Graves’ Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine won a Weatherford Award in Poetry and a Book of the Year award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. Graves lives in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Paul Ruffin, of Willis, Texas, is Texas State University System Regents’ Professor at Sam Houston State University, where he directs Texas Review Press.
William Wright, of Marietta, Georgia, is author of five collections of poems, including Night Field Anecdote and Bledsoe.
The Waiting Girl explores the exterior and interior landscapes as they apply to identity, specifically celebrating the Appalachian South and Cape Cod. The poems in this collection carry readers from the cracked red earth of Georgia to the cobblestone streets of Nantucket. Through these bold environments, Ganaway delves into the nuances of mania and melancholia, illuminating the bittersweet nature of bipolar disorder, and raising awareness of this still largely misunderstood state of being.
Erin Ganaway’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Third Coast, The Texas Review, and elsewhere. She was a featured poet in Town Creek Poetry, and her poems were selected for inclusion in Best New Poets, as well as the Georgia volume of The Southern Poetry Anthology. Ganaway holds a Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University. She divides her time between Atlanta and Cape Cod.
The Jumper is an old-fashioned, modern novel both dark and funny. Its central character, Jimmy Strawhorn, grows up on a ranch in West Texas thinking he’s an orphan but is summoned to Baton Rouge, where he discovers his past is stranger than he can imagine.
Jimmy tries to navigate his urge to jump from high places, his fear of falling in love, and a complex family history full of deceit and racial ambiguity. At the same time, two other eccentric main characters, named Sandra and J. T., deal with dangerous pasts and presents of their own as Jimmy’s arrival alters their lives.
Winner of the 2012 George Garrett Prize for Fiction
Tim Parrish is the author of Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist and of the story collection Red Stick Men. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he lives in New Haven, Connecticut, where he teaches fiction writing in the MFA and undergraduate programs at Southern Connecticut State University.
Res ipsa loquitor—the thing speaks for itself—as the lawyers say. But does it? Not in Michael Lieberman’s new book of poems, Bonfire of the Verities. What speaks here is doubt and the commitment to cast aside the apparent truths we all accumulate.
Michael Lieberman is a research physician and poet who has published six collections of poetry and a novel, Never Surrender, Never Retreat. Texas Review Press will also publish his novella, The Lobsterman’s Daughter, in 2014. Lieberman lives in Houston with his wife, the writer Susan Lieberman.
Billy Carlyle is a professional fighter starting to lose. His eyes cut too easily and his friends—Gabriel, an aspiring actor, and Sam, an artist preparing for her first gallery show—try to persuade Billy to leave the ring.
From the streets of Manhattan to the gyms of Paris, from struggling with hard pasts to harnessing the primal pull, Both Members of the Club is a story of friendship and ambition and violence set against the world of boxing, a place where bodies get tested and truths are exposed.
“This astonishingly personal and touching account of a trio of friends who have emerged from a parentless, family-less childhood to form a lifetime bond is reminiscent of the best of short fiction from the previous century. The narrator and narrative voice of the story is compelling and fascinating, and the two principal characters who round out this small circle are driven by such a power of love and mutual responsibility that it’s moving in almost every way. It’s a stunning story that resonates long after the last page is turned.”—Clay Reynolds
Adam Berlin is the author of the novels Belmondo Style, which won the Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley award, and Headlock. His novel The Number of Missing is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil press. He teaches writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
In Hide Island, his sixteenth book and eighth collection of stories, Richard Burgin explores themes of love and crime, memory and identity, abuse and redemption, and the contradictory battle between our fierce struggle to live lives worth remembering and our desire to disentangle ourselves from a past we wish to forget.
The stories involve an extraordinarily variegated group of characters—ranging from doctors and drug dealers, prostitutes and businessmen, to writers and domestic workers. Hide Island gives voice to the profoundly tormented as well as those who seek and find enlightenment, justifying Joyce Carol Oates’ praise in Newsweek’s The Daily Beast that “What Edgar Allan Poe did for the psychotic soul, Richard Burgin does for the deeply neurotic who pass among us disguised as so seemingly ‘normal’ we may mistake them for ourselves.” And why the Boston Globe concluded that “Burgin’s tales capture the strangeness of a world that is simultaneously frightening and reassuring, and in the contemporary American short story nothing quite resembles his singular voice.”
Richard Burgin’s stories have won five Pushcart Prizes and been reprinted in numerous anthologies. A resident of St. Louis, Missouri, he is the author of sixteen books, including two novels, Rivers Last Longer and Ghost Quartet, eight collections of short fiction, as well as the interview books Conversations with Jorge Louis Borges and Conversations with Isaac Bashevis Singer.
The eighteen poems in this collection recall a boy’s childhood and coming-of-age in a small town in the rural Southeast of the 1960s. Much of the physical evidence of the world in which the boy lived has disappeared over the intervening years as a result of the death of parents and friends as well as profound changes in the natural and social environment of the region. These poems attempt not only to revisit what has been “lost,” but to “find” anew the emotional meaning and significance of the people, objects and things of nature that populated the world being remembered.
“The seemingly simple and direct diction of these exquisitely crafted poems belies the wisdom, insight, and epiphanies looming beneath their crystalline surfaces.”—Larry D. Thomas, Final Judge
David Lanier, who currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, lived for many years in Washington, D.C., where he was on the faculty of the Georgetown University School of Medicine. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, Marlboro Review, Louisville Review, and several other small magazines.
Set on the Texas/Mexico border during the early years of Reagan’s “War on Drugs,” Mariguano tells the story of contrabandisto Don Julio Cortina’s ill-fated attempt to secure the Plaza at a national level by fixing the 1988 Mexican Presidential elections.
The story is told through the eyes of Cortina’s son, El Johnny, who bears witness to his father’s cocaine-fueled transformation from devoted head of family to self-destructive head of a criminal organization that is rife with betrayal and deceit.
Anyone who wants to understand the tragedy of modern-day Mexico and America’s complicity in the Mexican drug wars will want to read Mariguano, a novel that recalls classic crime narratives such as Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguys or William S. Burroughs’s Junky but also reads like the work of the best Mexican and Latin American novelists such as Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel García Márquez.
Juan Ochoa is licensed to practice law in his beloved Mexico. Ochoa has been everything from pistolero to professor and is currently teaching English at South Texas College. He lives happily with his wife and daughter in Mission, Texas, on Inspiration Road. Ochoa is an avid boxing fan.
Weaving multiple storylines with vivid description of characters ape, Haske’s debut novel brings new life and a unique voice to the fiction of rural America. North Dixie Highway is a story of family bonds, devolution, and elusive revenge.
When Buck Metzger’s childhood is interrupted by the disappearance of his grandfather, several family members and close friends plot revenge on the suspected killer. From remote towns in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to the Texas/Mexico border, to war-torn Bosnia, Metzger struggles for self-identity and resolution in a world of blue-collar ethics and liquor-fueled violence.
Joseph D. Haske, Chair of English at South Texas College in McAllen, was awarded the 2011 Boulevard Emerging Writers award for short fiction. His work is featured in journals such as Boulevard, The Texas Review, AleCart, and Fiction International. He lives in Mission, Texas, with his wife, Bertha, and their children, Ferny and Joey.