HomeArts & LitLiterary Friday, Edition 53

Literary Friday, Edition 53

Sponsored Giveaway: Literary Legends of Yazoo

Not too often do we get to experience the legends of the past brought to life in front of our eyes. The late Willie Morris is the literary father to one such legend, the “Witch of Yazoo.” But, Yazoo County, Mississippi, is home to many more stories of legend, both famous and infamous. A visit to the Ricks Memorial Library, a Mississippi Literary Landmark in recognition of its association with author Willie Morris, and a walk down the Henry Hershel Brickel Memorial Yazoo Literary Walkway will leave you wondering about and wandering toward the real-life stories behind the legends of Yazoo.

While you’re there, be sure to ask about, “Laure: The History of a Blighted Life.” The tale, passed down by word of mouth for generations, and originating from the true story of a forbidden French/Yazoo romance and marriage of a local doctor in the 1800s, is one you won’t soon forget. Not many have been able to read the details of the tale, as nearly all copies of the book were destroyed by the doctor’s family. One exists today in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and Ricks Memorial Library has a photocopy in its Special Collections.

You could win your own photocopy of the book, along with a fun set of Yazoo County memorabilia to help you in planning your own literary jaunt. Comment and tell us why you want to hear more about the legends of Yazoo, and the Yazoo folks will help us choose a winner on Monday. NOTE: This giveaway has been extended until Wednesday, April 24! 

National Poetry Month News

We’ve got a guest post by Texas poet Annie Neugebauer this week about The Poetry of Place.

Poet Robert Frost’s 10 Favorite Books of All Time in The Christian Science Monitor includes the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.

Nashville writer KC Gibbons is celebrating National Poetry Month by joining us in posting a poem a day on her blog.

Florida poet John Davis Jr. was interviewed in Melinda McGuire’s Southern Creatives series this week. Find out how he’s celebrating National Poetry Month by following him on Twitter @poetjohndavisjr.

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s fourth annual Poetry Contest is now open for submissions, with three-time United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky as judge. Submissions will be accepted through August 15.

In Other Literary News …

“Shine, Shine, Shine” author Lydia Netzer has a post about the Fly-By-Sci-Fi writing contest for flash fiction to benefit Up Center Books in Norfolk, Virginia. The deadline to enter is June 15.

As “The Great Gatsby” movie date nears, Vogue has video of actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Daisy, reading from the novel as she models flapper fashions.

After not choosing a winner in the fiction category last year, the Pulitzer Prize committee chose Adam Johnson’s “The Orphan Master’s Son” as this year’s winner. As a result, Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech from 1954 made the social media rounds this week.

Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” Read The New York Times op-ed piece titled “Dr King’s Righteous Fury” to find out more about the motivations behind King’s letter.

Deep South friend and reader Tamara Welch has a post about meeting author Jill McCorkle (pictured) at a booksigning in Mississippi and getting the backstory on her new novel, “Life After Life.”

Literary Events

Featured Event: Author of the new novel “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” Therese Ann Fowler will be at the Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, on Sunday for a booksigning. The museum invites the public to come and enjoy refreshments and ask Fowler their burning questions about her experience delving into the wonderful, zany and sometimes tragic world of Montgomery’s own literary muse. The event starts at 2:30 p.m.

Oconee Community Theatre will present To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend in Seneca, South Carolina, as part of its 2012-2013 season.

Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, starts its annual performances of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Old Courthouse Museum this weekend as well. Shows run Thursday through Sunday, ending May 18.

The Kentucky Writers Conference in Bowling Green is being held today, with the Southern Kentucky Book Fest following tomorrow.

The Alabama Book Festival will be held Saturday in Montgomery, with a focus on books about food. So far, authors include Sonny Brewer, Michael Morris and Peggy Allen.

The Alabama Writers Symposium presents Rick Bragg, Cassandra King, Sue Walker and more at Alabama Southern Community College April 25-27.

Experience Poetry in Vicksburg will be held at Warren County Library Auditorium April 27 from 3-5 p.m. with a a poetry reading, panel discussion and audience Q&A by Jack Bedell, Julie Kane and Irene Latham.

The International Biscuit Festival’s Southern Food Writing Conference will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, May 16-17. Click here to register.

New in Southern Voice 

A pair of poems about misbehavin: “Misbehavin” by Tracy Lynn Darling and “The wild ones” by Michael Gebelein.

To find out more about Southern authors’ haunts and hangouts, download the Deep South Literary Trail App, now available direct from iTunes and for Android

Poems About Misbehav
  • Alexandra / April 21, 2013

    I set part of a short story in Yazoo County, after hearing it mentioned in Cary Ann Hearst’s beautiful and haunting song “Pocahontas.” I’d love the chance to read & learn even more about this place that seems to hold such sway over storytellers and songwriters.

  • LARRY HAWKINS / April 21, 2013


  • Cindy / April 21, 2013

    Literary Firday is one of my favorite things. Southern writers inspire me and touch my soul like no other. Thanks from this Mississippi girl and lover of all things Southern.

  • K Butler / April 21, 2013

    Born and raised in Yazoo, I have never heard of the tale of “Laure”. I am fascinated and cannot wait to read it.

  • June / April 21, 2013

    Yazoo was a great place to grow up. Ricks Library was a place I went to as a child. It was always fascinating to me as it is now the rows of books and the order involved with such a place. Nothing else smells like a library. Yazoo has always had an abundant supply of “characters” and still does.

  • Tina Manning Brooks / April 21, 2013

    I’ve never heard the story of Laure. Looks like I have to research this. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Allison / April 22, 2013

    Love, love literary Friday and would love the chance to win this contest. Southern literature is my favorite and I am always looking for my next great southern read. As a side note I love me some Yazoo, Mississippi.

  • Tommy Tenhet / April 22, 2013

    This building was my home-away-from-home when I lived in Yazoo City.
    I now make my home in New York City but am back in Yazoo City a couple of times a year to see family and friends. And no trip to Yazoo is complete without a visit to Rick’s Memorial Library and to Glenwood Cemetary to see the Witch’s grave. And I usually see my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Wilborne who first introduced me to Willie Morris’ “Good Ole Boy”.

  • Amy Dickinson / April 22, 2013

    I spent most of my teenage years exploring Mississippi, and I still like learning about different state legends. I even went to Yazoo City to find the witch’s grave. I’m pretty sure the people at the police station thought I was nuts, but I thought I’d hit jackpot when I found the grave. I’d love to win a copy to learn more about the story.

  • joshua ray lancaster / April 22, 2013

    yazoo city mississippi will forever and always be my hometown. it make me proud to say that i am frome yazoo city with all the history that we have about our town and the people that made our town what it is known as
    today. no wonder this is such a historical town with all the famous people that came frome it. my favorite author of all time is wille morris and my favorite book that wille morris wrote was good old boys a delta boyhood and my favorite yazoo city legend of all time is the witch of yazoo. i was the one who put flowers out on the witch of yazoo grave. i even made a video that i post on you tube that is called a small town in mississippi called yazoo city. go check the video out. i just post it on you tube leave me a comment and tell me what do you think of the video i did about yazoo city mississippi.

  • joshua ray lancaster / April 23, 2013

    yazoo city is such a beatiful town with an amazing history that made our town yazoo city known as today the gateway to the delta. i love reading history stuff about yazoo city. the fire of may 25 1904 and the witch of yazoo is my most favorite yazoo city legend of all time. i been out to the witch grave in glenwood cemtery a couple of times. i was the one who put the flowers on the witch of yazoo grave as well i was born and raised in yazoo city and still living in yazoo city. to this day it make me proud to call yazoo city my hometown and saying that i am frome yazoo city as well.

  • Brian Bain / April 25, 2013

    Just moved to Yazoo to settle our family here (wife grew up here) and love the history! Want to know more!

  • Visit Yazoo / April 26, 2013

    Congratulations, Alexandra! And thanks to everyone for your comments!! We’re thrilled to know so many of you are interested in our history and legends. We’d love to hear from you on our website and Facebook pages as well, and of course – we’d love to see you in person to tell you more about it! Y’all come see us in Yazoo County, Mississippi. 🙂