Category: southern literature

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Whiteness in Lila Quintero Weaver’s “Darkroom”: Part II

In the last post, I discussed how Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White highlights the ways that whiteness and racism seep into the community consciousness. Today, I want to look at how Weaver’s Darkroom shows the intricate entanglements of whiteness, specifically with Weaver and her family. Weaver’s family is from Argentina, and they are immigrants to America. In the first … Read More Whiteness in Lila Quintero Weaver’s “Darkroom”: Part II

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Graphic Memoir Project

This semester in my Literature and Composition Graphic Memoirs class I am having students do a creative final project. For this project, they will either create their own graphic memoir or do a “Call and Response” piece for Looking at Appalachia. Since this is a new assignment, I am making my own graphic memoir alongside my students, trying my hand at creating a text. … Read More Graphic Memoir Project

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“That is merde alors!”: Frank Yerby and Identity

Rediscovering Frank Yerby, a project I have been working on for a few years, will be out this May from the University Press of Mississippi. Along with this, UPM will release Veronica Watson’s The Short Stories of Frank Yerby around the same time. I am extremely excited for each of these books, not just because I edited one of them. I am excited because … Read More “That is merde alors!”: Frank Yerby and Identity

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Fears of Change and A More Equitable Society

Last October, Jennine Capó Crucet gave a talk at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. The university chose her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers (2015) as the campus-wide first year experience book. Crucet’s novel chronicles a Cuban American woman’s experiences at an elite college as a first-gen student and daughter of Cuban immigrants. After her talk, some students went out to a grill … Read More Fears of Change and A More Equitable Society

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Lillian E. Smith Studies Course

This semester, I am teaching the Lillian E. Smith Studies course for the first time. It is part of the LES Scholars’ program, and it is a course that focuses on Lillian Smith and social justice. The course looks historically at Smith and her work, but it also looks at the ways that her work and legacy resonate today. As such, I included works … Read More Lillian E. Smith Studies Course

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Lillian Smith’s “Memory of a Large Christmas”

Lillian E. Smith published Memory of Large Christmas in 1962. The book, essentially, is a collection of humorous and memorable anecdotes about the large, bountiful Smith family Christmases. In the back of the book, Smith includes recopies for turkey dressing, pork salad, ambrosia, and more. Today, I want to look at one of the scenes that Smith relates in the book. The scene occurs … Read More Lillian Smith’s “Memory of a Large Christmas”

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The Official Record in Van Jensen and Nate Powell’s “Two Dead”

The back matter of Van Jensen and Nate Powell’s new book, Two Dead, describes it as, “at once a white-knuckled and unputdownable thriller, a roman à clef inspired by true events, and a book about post-traumatic stress disorder and the underlying social traumas of how war and segregation affect their survivors on all fronts.” Today, I want to look at a brief section from … Read More The Official Record in Van Jensen and Nate Powell’s “Two Dead”

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The “historical self” and the “self self”: Part I

Last post, I wrote about the ways that racism, subjugation, and history imprisons everyone, the oppressed and the oppressor alike. Today, I want to continue that discussion by looking at Lillian Smith’s Killers of the Dream and connected her discussion with a couple of the vignettes in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. While Smith focuses, predominately, on the white psyche, Rankine focuses on … Read More The “historical self” and the “self self”: Part I

Ridding Ourselves of the Giants and Pygmies of the Past

On December 5, 1956, the Montgomery Improvement Association hosted the Institute on Non-Violence and Social Change commemorating the one year anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott. They asked Lillian Smith to speak; however, she could not attend due to ill health. Rufus Lewis read Lillian’s speech, “The Right Way is Not a Moderate Way,” to the audience. Virginia Durr, who was in the crowd, … Read More Ridding Ourselves of the Giants and Pygmies of the Past

Art and Creation

In “Going Empty,” Dessa writes about filming the music video for her song “Sound the Bells.” She talks about learning to control her breathing to dive underwater amidst Jason deCaires Taylor’s submerged sculptures off the coast of Mexico. She ruminates about her career, writing about the fears that time is rapidly running out on commercial success. She thinks, Yet all my life I’ve been … Read More Art and Creation

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American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Last post, I wrote about the Southern paradoxes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Today, I want to look at the opening of the novel because Scout traces the events of the novel deep into our nation’s history, before Jem, Scout, or Atticus arrived on the scene. This is important because for all of the missed moments of reflection in the novel, the … Read More American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

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Southern Paradoxes in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Every time I read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), I’m reminded of the book’s problematic nature. Why do we continue to put so much stock in Lee’s novel, teaching it in high schools across the nation? Alice Randall points out the problems within Lee’s novel and states, “Let’s be clear: “To Kill a Mockingbird” is not a children’s book. It is an … Read More Southern Paradoxes in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”