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This one-of-a-kind number of poems in regards to the American South ranges over four centuries of its dramatic history.
The arc of poetry of the South, from slave songs to Confederate hymns to Civil War ballads, from Reconstruction turmoil to the Agrarian movement to the dazzling poetry of the New South, is richly varied and historically vibrant. No other region of the US has been as mythologized as the South, nor contained as many fascinating, beguiling, and once in a while infuriating contradictions. Poems of the American South includes poems both by Southerners and by famous observers of the South who hailed from in different places. These range from Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and Francis Scott Key through Langston Hughes, Robert Penn Warren, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, James Dickey, and Donald Justice, and include a host of living poets as well: Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, Sandra Cisneros, Yusef Komunyakaa, Naomi Shihab Nye, C. D. Wright, Natasha Trethewey, and plenty of more. Organized thematically, the anthology places poems from past centuries in fruitful dialogue with a diverse array of brand new voices who’re redefining the South with a verve that may be reinvigorating American poetry as an entire.