Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry

Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry

Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry

Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry


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 some 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 sensesinto 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.
Featured Poets: Betty Adcock, David Bottoms, Kathryn Stripling Byer, James Dickey, Rodney Jones, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ron Rash, Dave Smith , Natasha Trethewey, Charles Wright, Fred Chappell, Kelly Cherry, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Kate Daniels, Kwame Dawes, Claudia Emerson, Andrew Hudgins, T. R. Hummer, Robert Morgan, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Dan Albergotti, Tarfia Faizullah, Forrest Gander, Terrance Hayes, Judy Jordan, John Lane, Michael McFee, Paul Ruffin, Steve Scafidi, Jake Adam York


Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry was born from two conversations. the first comes in book form and keeps talking: Grit Lit: a Rough South Reader, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2012. Eight years in the making, Grit Lit is raucous and visceral and captures the dark and gritty South so well that it’s best read slowly, as the textures are heavy, harrowing. I thank Tom Franklin and Brian Carpenter for their dedication to Grit Lit, a wonderful book and the central catalyst of our inspiration to compile this collection of poems.

The second conversation consisted of a discourse between the poet and editor G. C. Waldrep and the environmentalist, poet, editor, and essayist John Lane, both of whom yearned for a book of poems that featured “rough” South poetry. Fortunately they suggested that Daniel Cross Turner and I create this volume, a collection of work that, more than any other edition in which I’ve taken part, has helped elucidate not only “Rough South literature” but also southern poetry in general.

Editing helps clarify a book’s purpose, of course, and the purpose of Hard Lines is twofold, appropriate to the two conversations that brought it into being. As well as its centering on the darker side of southern experience, Dan and I want with this volume to revivify literature-loving audiences with an exposure to poets who have for some decades formed the heart of southern poetry; second we wish to introduce readers to poets perhaps unfamiliar but who we think will become significant facets in southern literature. Indeed our hope is that this text serves as one of the best anthologies of southern poetry for contemporary readers for some time to come.

To define the term “hard lines” is impossible, other than to say that each of these poems, often in extremely distinct ways, reflects some aspect of the South and the burdens with which it freights anyone who was born here or has lived here long enough. Some of the poems, for example the opening piece, Betty Adcock’s “Burnt Offerings,” are dulcet and quiet but harbor a tension, an internal roughness, that amplifies with each reading. Other poems, such as Brian Barker’s “In the . . .

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