by Alice Quinn
For many years, LuAnn Walther, editorial director of Vintage Books, Anchor Books, and Everyman’s Library has orchestrated one of the greatest poetry publishing enterprises in America, bringing out nearly one hundred anthologies in the Everyman Pocket Poets series, including single-author titles such as superb selections of the work of Emily Bronte and W.H. Auden and themed anthologies ranging from Lullabies and Poems for Children and Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Poems About Food and Drink to Marriage Poems, Jazz Poems, Poems of the Sea, and Love Speaks Its Name: Gay and Lesbian Love Poems.
The newest in this enchanting set of books is Poems of the American South, edited by David Biespiel. We’ve drawn some gems from it for our poems this week.
From “The Ozark Odes” by C.D. Wright:
Mother had one. She and Bernice racing for the river
to play with their paperdolls
because they did not want any big ears
to hear what their paperdolls were fixing to say.
Dry County Bar
Bourbon not fit to put on a sore. No women enter;
their men collect in every kind of weather
with no shirts on whatsoever.
I can still see the Cuddihy’s sisters
trimming the red tufts
under one another’s arms.
Why I come here: need for a bottom, something to refer to;
where all things visible and invisible commence to swarm.
(From Steal Away: Selected and New Poems © 1991, 1996 by C.D.Wright. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company on behalf of Copper Canyon Press. This poem also can be found in the anthology noted above, Poems of the American South, Everyman Pocket Poets. Photo of the White River in Arkansas by Thomas and Dianne Jones)