Revisiting Myles Horton’s The Long Haul   The remarkable thing about Myles Horton is that he chose to be a person instead of a personality. As a rising young labor organizer and civil rights activist, Horton was surrounded by personalities – a cadre of forward looking, socially attuned recruits, someContinue Reading

Joel Agee, the son At age 41, Agee had suffered the first of two heart attacks, the second of which would kill him when he was just forty-six, having recently completed his novel A Death in the Family before his death. Agee was contemptuous of moderation, insisting on living lifeContinue Reading

James Agee, the father I’ll start with a blanket statement: Most, if not all, writers are SOBs (including women authors). Take William Faulkner, for example, whose drinking bouts were legendary and whose daughter, on the occasion of her tenth birthday, begged Faulkner to stop drinking for just one day. ToContinue Reading

James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer 1915” may arguably be the most beautiful prose poem in English. A prose poem is a hybrid sharing characteristics of both prose and poetry. A striking example would be the Old Testament book of Psalms found in the King James translation of the Bible. “Knoxville: SummerContinue Reading

**On a mobile format this book review is best viewed using landscape orientation.    Danita Dodson is a contemplative, a mystic, and an alchemist whose feet are planted solidly in the turf of the natural world – particularly that of East Tennessee. As the poems in her debut collection, TrailingContinue Reading

We Southerners cherish our “characters” – eccentrics and outliers who intensify the spiciness of life. Take William Faulkner. To his neighbors in Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner was “count no count,” a little bitty fellow who put on airs while sporting a limp and a cane and donning a cape for hisContinue Reading

Losing him at the instant of diagnosis, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind but hers, his grandmother watched You wink from view until no more than a grainy dot on the horizon’s last glorious performance of the Great Withdrawal. The picture of a small girl insisting on her way thisContinue Reading

Pears and figs pregnant and poised to drop – all but a few hangers-on tendering pulpy flesh for sacramental consumption construed as high magic from remotest times. Tonight an awakening amid yawning oaks, one, a three-headed high priest cloven by lightning, presiding over a ceremony feting one-third of the fallenContinue Reading

Stroll (For Henry) The sidewalk, his nursery. The stroller, his crib. Together my grandson and I cruise the Low Country bejeweled in dew after last night’s downpour. Our gentle jostle over humpbacked pavement signals our arrival. We attract a following: first, a neighbor woman rushing across the street to catchContinue Reading

For generations, my mother’s family were bootleggers all the way down to my great grandfather, a grizzled, old man with a withered arm who constantly chewed tobacco and who was always licking the little reservoirs of brown tobacco juice that gathered at the corners of his mouth. Despite his appearance,Continue Reading