On the Mason-Dixon Line: An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers

On the Mason-Dixon Line: An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers

On the Mason-Dixon Line: An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers

On the Mason-Dixon Line: An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers

Synopsis

This is a collection of 52 of the best poems, stories, memories, novel excerpts, and creative non-fiction by writers who have called the tiny state of Delaware their home.

Excerpt

“all good writing should cut to the bone,” james baldwin said. Such writing requires intensity and focus, to allow us to see ourselves, our community, and our world with unexpected clarity. We trust that the fifty-two poems, stories, and essays in this anthology offer a new clarity of vision about this small but extraordinarily diverse state their authors have called home. For Delawareans, different worlds have always come together like turbulent winds, competing, then augmenting, blowing first one way, then the other. This is not a criticism, but an explanation. the Mason-Dixon Line marks the western border of the state—we’re Yankee, but barely. We’re a state that hardly knows whether it’s Northern or Southern. Stretching ninetysix miles along the eastern coast of the United States, Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution, and one of four border states during the American Civil War, is as diverse and interesting as any state in the nation.

Delaware was nicknamed the “Diamond State” by Thomas Jefferson because he said Delaware was a jewel among states. Talk to any native Delawarean, and you’ll hear about Caesar Rodney riding horseback eighty miles in driving rain to reach Philadelphia in time to cast the deciding vote for the Declaration of Independence. You’ll also hear about Eleuthère Irénée Du Pont coming all the way from France to live along the Brandywine River, produce gunpowder, and get rich. a century later Al Smith had his presidential campaign headquarters up the road in Claymont at the Raskob estate, but not many people know about that one. But they do know about the Perdues and their chickens. Sussex County is full of chickens—chickens, and carloads of vacationers driving to Rehoboth and Bethany and Fenwick to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, lie on miles of white sand, and eat Dolle’s saltwater taffy and Grotto’s pizza.

Editing this anthology was an exercise in coming to terms with the question of what it means to be a Delaware writer. When we started . . .

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