Monday, May 9, 2016

Hard Lines, Rough Southern Poetry - Book Review

Idgie Says:
I am a big fan of Rough Southern Lit, or Grit Lit as it's often referred to.  Words that are true to the Southern Nature without being sappy and sugary, as many books express the South as being.  The people shown in these pages are people you see everyday, many who you might go out of your way to avoid. 

But you'll recognize them, you'll recognize the world and you might just recognize yourself in some of them. 

Below you will find some snapshot examples of the many pages of Rough Literary Poetry you will find between the covers of this book.

Hard Lines
Rough South Poetry
Edited by Daniel Cross Turner and William Wright
April 2016
USC Press
A collection of contemporary poems exploring the grit of work, love, and the land down South.

Daniel Cross Turner and William Wright's anthology Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry centers on the darker side of Southern experience while presenting a remarkable array of poets from diverse backgrounds in the American South. As tough-minded as they are high-minded, the sixty contemporary poets and two hundred poems anthologized in Hard Lines enhance the powerful genre of "Grit Lit."

The volume gathers the work of poets who have for decades formed the heart of Southern poetry as well as that of emerging voices who will soon become significant figures in Southern literature. These poems sting our senses into awareness of a gritty world down South: hard work, hard love, hard drinking, hard times; but they also explore the importance of the land and rural experience, as well as race- , gender- , and class-based conflicts.

Readers will see, hear (for poetry is meant to ring in the ears), and feel (for poetry is meant to beat in the blood); there is plenty of raucousness in this anthology. And yet the cultural conflicts that ignite Southern wildness are often depicted in a manner that is lyrical without becoming lugubrious, mournful but not maudlin. Some of these poets are coming to terms with a visibly transforming culture—a "roughness" in and of itself. Indeed many of these poets are helping to change the definition of the South. The anthology also features biographical information on each poet in addition to further reading suggestions and scholarly sources on contemporary poetry.


Daniel Cross Turner is the author of Southern Crossings: Poetry, Memory, and the Transcultural South and coeditor of Undead Souths: The Gothic and Beyond in Southern Literature and Culture. His numerous scholarly essays, interviews, and reviews focus on modern and contemporary Southern writers. Turner is an associate professor of English at Coastal Carolina University.

William Wright is the author of four full-length collections of poems, including Tree Heresies and Night Field Anecdote. Editor of the multivolume Southern Poetry Anthology, Wright serves as assistant editor for Shenandoah as well as founding editor for Town Creek Poetry. His essays and creative writing have recently appeared in Oxford American, Southern Poetry Review, AGNI, the Kenyon Review, and many other journals.