Today is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty's birthday. She would have been 102. For 75 years, Eudora lived and wrote at 1119 Pinehurst St. in Jackson, Mississippi. Restored after her death in 2001 and now a National Historic Landmark, the home is open for tours by reservation and displays her book collection (it's been said that family and friends had to move books if they wanted to sit down), old desk and typewriter and charming Southern garden, noted for its roses and camellias. Photos aren't allowed inside the home, but when we toured last year, we were able to get shots of her garden, exterior of the house and the playhouse where a young Eudora spent time making up plays and hanging out with her friends.
To schedule a tour of the Eudora Welty House, call 601-353-7762. Tours are given at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and cost $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children under 6 get in free.
by Kevin Heaton
Levitating apparitions hover in misty
vapor, troubling the face of cypress
waters; suspended between rapture
and mortality, concealing wispy souls
of southern sons not yet at peace.
They seek their general, mounted
on a ghost stallion snorting humid
gunpowder haze, charging at victory;
his sword casting lunar reflections
into Yankee eyes. Troop remnants mark
cadence on gator, and snapper backs;
scouting front lines long ago fallen,
and battles; long since lost.
Kevin Heaton lives and writes in South Carolina. His latest chapbook, "Measured Days," was recently released from Heavy Hands Ink Press, and his work has appeared in Foliate Oak, Elimae, Hanging Moss Journal, Pirene's Fountain and many others. He is listed as a notable poet at KansasPoets.com. To read more of his work, click here.
by Erin Z. Bass
Since last year's oil spill, the safety of eating seafood from the Gulf has been in question. I personally have never stopped eating it. Shrimp, crabs and on special occasions, oysters, are a huge part of my diet here in South Louisiana, and I don't think I could live without them. But I realize that many of you have concerns about seafood coming from waters contaminated with oil, and I don't blame you. Maybe I should be more concerned, but those barbecued shrimp I had for dinner the other night were sooo good.
Many of you followed along last month with our trip to Dauphin Island, Alabama. A potential annual celebration for the island that combines seafood, science and celebrity, the weekend was heavy on the seafood. From a shrimp and crawfish boil on the dock at Bellingrath Gardens Friday night to plenty of seafood gumbo entries at the Gumbo Cookoff on Saturday and a bash that filled the rooms of the island's estuarium with everything from stuffed crabs to freshly shucked oysters and the aforementioned barbecued shrimp that night, I basically consumed as much seafood as one person possibly can in a weekend. As did celebrity Chef
by Michael Gebelein
It’s always been
hard for me to
things that are unknown.
To feel the embrace
from a different plane
of existence or consciousness
I’ve made a show
of tolerance and acceptance
so hopefully actions
really do tell more
to the world than words.
Leaning in closer
to see the world
with eyes like
a fortune teller on Miami Beach,
or a Baptist preacher in a small Southern town,
a gas station attendant in Cleveland.
Maybe they’ve got it figured out,
but for now I’ll just
lay in this bed with this piece of paper
on a Monday morning with the snow coming in from outside
and a ring of cigarette smoke over the end table.
Letting the world have a short glimpse
before throwing the curtains wide.
Michael Gebelein is a writer living in Asheville, North Carolina.
by Tammy L. Beevers
I watch him each morning,
this blue heron statuesque
in his indigo feather suit.
He crouches, legs folded
and watching as fish flirt
with the water’s edge
The heron strikes,
his beak instantly a skewer,
his neck elongated,
beautiful as an orchid stem.
Startled by sound,
he stretches his wings,
soars, then dives
into the dense green.
Tammy L. Beevers hails from Seneca Falls, New York, but says she's really a born-again Texan who's called Central Texas home for over 30 years. Her poem "Aspen" has been chosen as one of 10 winning poems for San Antonio's Via Metropolitan Transit's “Poetry on the Move” contest during National Poetry Month 2011, and “Texas Panhandle Slow Drive” appears in 2011 Texas Poetry Calendar.
by Tracy Sopko
Dust isn’t so hard to come by in the South.
What with so many sources:
The powdered sugar remnants of primordial bodies,
The sun-burnt flaking paint of seven thousand and thirty two
And the equally scorched and peeling remnants of once-people,
There is enough dust here to inter a culture.
Under the auspices of an isolationist Mason-Dixon
We would coalesce. State lines soften,
Then give way entirely - weather patterns and jet streams
Melding misshapen clods. Swept behind the Mexico-couch
And best left forgotten.
These aren’t memories in the attic
to be brought down a rickety flight of stairs, and
Picked through with the grandkids. These aren’t the
Ill-fitted pieces of nostalgia. No, this is skin, twelve years old,
with a dust bowl haircut
Nothing approaching style, but with a hint of
Pizzazz in the economy of it. No,
This is dust like Nuclear fallout,
Or triangular trade runoff.
This is dust like war,
Dust like war paint,
This is the dust of the survivors.
Tracy Sopko was born and raised in small Florida town, hovering, like the state itself, on the fringes of Southern culture. She currently lives in Jacksonville and attends the University of North Florida.
by Hastings Hensel
Each ring a year we cut into, open up,
hacking back every hour the decades.
We keep on, stroke after tiring stroke—
wedge, push, cuss, talk about chainsaws
that would show the tree’s history
as cleanly as a timeline in a textbook.
What makes us want to labor in camp—
an afternoon through blisters, bees, heat—
for a climax so brief? Half an hour in,
and what? We chop through to 1998:
Sosa homering, McGwire homering,
James Byrd dragged through Texas
by four white men in a pickup truck,
and the two of us, fifteen, learning how
to unclasp our girls’ padded bras
in empty dugouts on a Friday night.
It is concentration honed by the blade,
and these damp chunks of brown wood
that splay out like seconds with each chop.
Tell me, friend, what hard knot keeps it up?
Why does this hemlock not fall down
until your last tragic swing of the axe
and the quick, loud crash of a thing
the same dead age as our grandfathers?
Tell me again what we are left with
but a stump, some kindling, the half-life
of a life? We are left with our voices
drifting like ash by the necessary firelight.
Hastings Hensel lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, and his writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Shenandoah, Gray's Sporting Journal, The Hopkins Review,
We got a direct message earlier today from Twitter friend @KnitoriousMEG telling us about her most recent yarn bomb. For those of you not familiar with the yarn bomb (we only recently learned about them), it's the practice of knitting pieces for public spaces. You could call it graffiti knitting, but we like to think of it as graffiti with a little more class. Well, KnitoriousMEG has been yarn bombing Richmond, Virginia, for a little over a year now. She says her favorite things to tag are "something that once served a purpose but now doesn’t, like a signpost with no sign." The target of her April yarn bomb does in fact serve a historical purpose, but we think you'll agree it looks much better with some embellishment. Richmond's Monument Avenue cannon, situated between Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, now sports a cozy, colorful cover in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. To see more photos and find out what KnitoriousMEG bombs next, visit her blog, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
by Erren Geraud Kelly
place i head back to
i'll never belong to again
My family accepts, if not
Love me for what i am
The streets are always the
Summer heat makes
And gumbo tastes
With beer on a hot
I look on the parade
I used to
I wonder about shannon
I refuse to
believe she didn't love me
Funny, i don't take the
I gave to my
I see my
I don't need him
The streets are
still the same
Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in New York City by way of Louisiana. A graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, he has been writing for 21 years and been published in Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish and Poetry Magazine. Most recently, he was published in " In Our Own Words," a Generation X poetry anthology. "The themes in my writings vary," says Kelly, "but I have always had a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. I never limit myself to anything, I always try to keep an open mind."
Big news in the fashion world for spring is the release of Florence, Alabama, designer Billy Reid's tennis shoe design for K-Swiss. Reid put his own washed and weathered twist on the unisex shoe, which comes in navy, white and grey canvas. The shoe's function as the perfect summer sneaker isn't even the best part though. Special mailings of the sneakers arrived in a gorgeous wooden box handmade in Alabama. According to Reid's website, the shoes will be available this spring online and in shops, so keep an eye out, especially for that distinctly Southern box.