The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

June Poets


To read the June 2013 Dead Mule Poets selected by Helen Losse, please click on the link below to go to their page.

–>June 2013 Poetry Link <–

We are experiencing a lot of difficulty opening and converting Helen’s Word Press document containing the poetry. Rather than spend hours deleting ghost text, we thought the best thing would be to publish it now, as is, complete. This problem is the reason why we are migrating all submissions over to Submittable. As time becomes available, we will convert each poet’s work and publish it in the regular manner…

Poets accepted through our online submissions process, via Submittable link on our submissions page, will be published by June 3rd here on a regular  journal page.

The poets names are included below, along with their Southern Legitimacy Statements:

Eric A. Weil
Does being a vegetarian disqualify me from being “southern”?  I have accepted grits, cornbread, okra, and ridiculously sweet iced tea, but I can’t abide collards and barbeque.  I don’t have loquacious uncles spinning yarns at huge family reunions or eccentric aunties that out-butter Paula Deen.  All I have is a developed love of the land as I have lived over half my life now in North Carolina.  I have hiked in the Great Smokies and splashed off the Outer Banks.  I have gardened in the Piedmont’s red clay and in the flat sand of the coastal plain.  Elizabeth City is the fourth NC city for me, trending eastward from High Point.  A remnant of the Great Dismal Swamp is in my back yard along with the Pasquotank River.  They inspired these poems.

*I know all about Mr. Weil’s inspiration. Living near the Pasquotank myself, the shoreline of that river is among my favorite sights. Next to my Pamlico Sound, of course. –Valerie MacEwan

Norvin Dickerson

I was conceived on a houseboat on the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina and was born in Monroe, North Carolina first year of the Baby Boomers. I got my undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  My kin, Irish immigrants to North and South Carolina, fought for the Confederacy.  I drive miles out of my way to eat Lexington Barbeque, and belong to a band of pirates and sailors, Brothers of the Coast, located in Savannah, Georgia.  I live in the town of Black Mountain in western North Carolina.


Scott Owens

I know what happens when you put salted goobers in a bottled coke. I know how to cook real grits.  I know that cheese pie should be reddish-brown on top.  I know the real word for turtle is cooter.  I know you’ll never find a snipe in the woods.  I know mountain apples can turn your mouth inside out, and I know better than to eat anything called mountain oysters.


Danny Collier

I grew up in Memphis. I am a direct descendant of the Georgia Tann scandal. Once, I rode through Weakley County in the passenger seat of a decrepit MG roadster, unaware that the passenger seat was not bolted to the car. My grandfather hunted deer from his mid-century modern breakfast table, stepping to the porch when it was time to take the shot. I know the location of the capital city of the kingdom of Skullbonia. I have almost finished a book-length manuscript of poems related to chickens.


Frank Ard

I am from Mobile, Alabama.  When I travel outside the South, what I miss most is sweet tea.  As a child, I climbed a magnolia tree and picked the soft white flowers.  Humidity is a good friend of mine.  I don’t know how to cook without butter.


Jesse Breite
Though I was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, I sometimes think that my mom and dad took my fetal body to Little Rock, Arkansas, and buried me in the dirt. Little Rock is and always will be where I came into being and where I grew into my britches. My literary career has been sustained by my ever-complicating understanding of this fact. Since I left Little Rock, I have lived in Chicago and Baltimore, and I currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia. But I return to see my folks, my sister, my enemies, and my blood-brothers at least twice a year. 

Harding Stedler

Life in the fast lane goes well for yours truly.  I was named State Critic by the Executive Board of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas.  In between activities, I work to make time for writing some poems of my own.


Pris Campbell

I was born and raised in South Carolina and still consider it my home. I salivate over the thought of fried okra and collard greens. My great grandfather fought in the Civil War and owned a mule. That mule is now dead.


Blaine P. Ely
Born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, I know all too well the legacy of our culture. I do wear shoes, despite the assumptions and I’m also quite literate. However, my truck is still rusting apart, I hope to have a mailbox one day, beer runs are 32 mile round-trips and my town of 150 has more dogs than people–but that’s all pretty irrelevant

Dave Wright

I’m Dave Wright. My poems and short fiction have appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature more than once. When someone asks me how it is that one becomes a Legitimate Southerner, I tell them they ought to start by trying to get published in The Dead Mule. If they don’t write, I tell them they ought to start by reading a few issues of The Dead Mule. If they don’t read, I tell them they ought to start looking for The Dead Mule and pray to the Lord that some kind soul comes by and teaches them how to read. If they can’t see, I tell them they ought to start by listening to an old farmer cry over the memory of the death of his best friend, the dead mule buried in his back pasture. If they can’t hear and they can’t see, I’ll do like they do at The Dead Mule. I’ll lend a kind hand and show that brother or sister the way.


Laura M Kaminski

I’ve asked for fried catfish, grits, and red-eye gravy for breakfast—when it wasn’t on the menu— and had a chef at a Holiday Inn-attached restaurant oblige.  It’s one of the rewards of being from the South—I just KNOW when being bashful isn’t in my best interest.


Tobi Cogswell

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I began kindergarten in Dallas.  Even though it was many years ago, I still remember my first dog was a “Heinz 57”  named Sam Finkelstein the Third Rifkin.  I remember a family outing to the zoo where a lion peed on my best friend Betsy who lived down the street, and eating chicken fried steak at the Surrey, in a shopping center where a Wil Wrights was freestanding in a corner of the parking lot.  Today I have  good friends in Texas and was pleased to see one of them published in an earlier issue of The Dead Mule.

J. W. Parr 

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Growing up in southeast Georgia has been quite a pleasure. Around these parts, there is never a lack of friends, family, home-cooked meals, and most importantly, sweet tea. There is a church on nearly every street, or so it seems. Waking up to the smell of grits, eggs, and bacon every weekend is something that I simply couldn’t live without. However, I wouldn’t mind having less flies, gnats, and especially mosquitos. Never has a Thanksgiving gone by without a grandma’s pecan pie, and never has a football game passed without tailgating nearby. Every spring brings colorful new flowers to the fields, and every fall sees the littering of pine straw and pine cones. Ironically enough, the temperature doesn’t change much between these times. Though I love to travel and see new places, my life just wouldn’t be the same without a home down south.