Posted in Blog

The Dead Mule is proud to announce Curtis Dunlap for his poem “Brickyard Road” and Norvin Dickerson for his poem “NASCAR Poet” as our nominees for Best New Poet 2012. Congratulations and best of luck to both of these fine poets. But wait … it’s not luck, is it? We…

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Dead Mule Nominees for Best New Poets 2012

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Being Southerner is a frame of mind. A view of the world, neighbors, friends and family filtered through words, thoughts, and deeds of the people that have raised you. I was fortunate to have grandparents that lived a Southern life in Arkansas where I have lived off and on since 1948. Grandpa taught me how to plow a field with a team of mules, what leaves and herbs to gather from the woods and fields to make healing poultices and teas. Grandma taught that hands were for gentle touches, caring for those you love, and cooking the best pan of biscuits any human has ever eaten. There is a lot more but when I think back over 68 years my memories are of those simple things that have shaped my life and given me the values of a Southern man. What a great way to live.

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Snakes in the Kitchen by Donald Harbour

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’ve spent, summer afternoons plucking honeysuckle blossoms and sucking the sugary sweet nectar from them.
I’ve gnawed Louisiana sugar cane until the last drop of sugar ran down my chin.
I’ve patiently licked all of the honey out of a honeycomb, and chewed the wax like gum for hours.
I’ve eaten ginger bread with lemon sauce. I’ve eaten Pralines, beignets, home made hand cranked ice cream, bread pudding, rice pudding, lemon pie, key lime pie, pineapple upside down cake, pecan pie, watermelons by the ton, cantaloupe, persimmons, figs, strawberries, Muscatine’s, fresh picked Georgia peaches and Florida oranges. . . all before 1953 when I was 10 years old. (…more within the essay)

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Solitaire by Bob Thomas

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement:
I love Elvis Presley, Johnny Horton, Moon Pies, and RC Cola, not necessarily in that order

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Man In The Moon by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware where people wish to be much more southern than they actually are.

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Timothy Gager – A Poetic Series

Posted in Essays / Memoirs

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Southern? Absolutely, born and bred.

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Church Stories by Sam Morton

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Native of Mississippi (the first 21 years), I eventually wound up teaching in Ohio—but it was, after all, in the southern part of the state (Miami University). After retiring from Miami of Ohio, I returned to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama—where I had, many years before, obtained one of my degrees. And, yes, I enjoy southeastern football as much as the next person (Roll Tide!). I continue to live in Tuscaloosa, where I maintain an adjunct position at UA (in Biological Sciences), and try to stay active in research. Both my research and writings usually find an outdoor emphasis (I had almost always rather be outside than in). I am interested in surreal aspects of nature, as well as its wonderfully abundant, real aspects. The human condition (and what may befall any of us as human beings) also gets my attention. In writing poetry, I have found a narrative, free-verse approach the most effective means to communicate my particular experiences. It has seemed to me, more often than not, that the southern stories in my life are the ones that come to mind to tell.

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Will H. Blackwell, Jr. – Four Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

So I’m not sure if being from Kentucky counts as the South, since it borders on the Mason Dixon line and all, but I have always felt southern and associated myself with ‘southernness’. And now that I live in the Northwest and no one seems to know where Kentucky is and thinks that I’m “from the Midwest” I become infuriated and can only now constantly think of moving to North Carolina and romanticize even the southern bits that I used to not like so much. But alas…I do love grits. And Hoppin John. And biscuits and gravy. And I know what a Paw paw tree is. Does a lover of southern food count as being legitimately southern. I hope so.

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Brooke Salisbury – Four Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I never thought of myself as Southern, not even as a boy growing up in the house where my mother and uncles grew up on what was in their youth a small, not very successful farm in Irmo, South Carolina. Well, not in Irmo. Out toward Lake Murray back before the countryside was engulfed by suburbs. My grandfather, Mr. Dave Haltiwanger, was a schoolteacher who took over the family farm when his father died because it was his responsibility to do so. My grandmother, Mrs. Sue, some ten years younger, had been his pupil. They married soon after she graduated high school. My uncle once told me that my grandfather was not much of a farmer, woefully ill-suited to the lot that fell his way. My grandmother could saw a board or hammer a nail straighter than he ever could. I was named after my grandfather and people often remarked on my resemblance to him. Like my namesake I am not a man of practical bent and skills. While I no more think myself Southern now than I did then, I figure I shelled enough butterbeans, husked enough corn, and stepped in enough cow manure as a kid to stake some claim to Southern legitimacy if it comes to that. Even today, so many years passed and so much gone, I still think of it as home and get a little weepy when I see Granny bent over in the garden, her flowerbeds, the hog pasture, the bottoms, the pine trees my brother put out for a 4-H project, the little elementary school where four of my teachers had taught my mother, the little Lutheran church on the hill where those who mean so much to me now lie.

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David Matthews – Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Born and raised in Portsmouth, Va. Father from Arkansas and I went to college briefly in North Carolina. Although it’s been a long time since I lived below the Mason Dixon, I always think of Virginia as home.

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Timothy Dyson – Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

By virtue of both my biological (Kentucky) and adoptive (Georgia, Florida) roots, I am a southerner. Born in Georgia, I didn’t really live in the south until I moved to Kentucky. (Miami, Florida, is definitely not the South, though it is quite far south when looking at a map.) I spent quite a lot of time riding around in cars as a child and teen listening to my Aunt complain about “that damn kudzu” and that invasive plant has even found its way into a poem or two.

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Staci R. Schoenfeld – Three Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I have lived in Tennessee since 1995. My father was a piano playing bank robber. He died when I was 3 years old. When I was 11 years old, I went to live in Camelot. Of course, that was Camelot federal housing authority in Clinton, Missouri. When I was an adult I went to the National Archives in Kansas City, Missouri and discovered that my maternal grandmother Binkley’s grandmother Wilson had been a plantation owner in Kentucky. Mrs. Wilson lived to be 104 years old and died in Bates County, Missouri.

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David S. Pointer – Two Haiku and Another Poem

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

southing. my left hand was born in the grand canyon, streaming along its huge red walls. so my hair turned stonered, meandering from the sculpted river stone to the rocks, carved by the winds into mountains. and my left hand still lives there, spanning over the canyon like the morning dew that never sets on the dry lands. my right hand was born in the gulf, near galveston and crabs, shimmering in the sunset and sometimes rages with a tornado, spinning like crazy, and throwing things into the air, and making them circle and fly to the skies, as if my right hand is high only to be high, up there, sucking air into hand and skin, pointing the finger to the blurred hurricane sky and showing the way. is there a way, during a storm, or are there ways, engendered by the whiff of the dark wind? if my american right hand shows it, there must be a way. i’m there, southbound, southwound, southing, soooooooooooouthiiiiiiiiiing, a south feeling, with my eyes burning in the sun on a hot summer afternoon, when the sun has fallen on earth, scorching the stone to lave and shoving it into the earth, deeeeeep, deeeeeeeeeeep into the earth.i’m everywhere, i’m here, i’m there, with my body reeling in the salty foamwavewaters beating the sands to life, yes, i’m there, do you see me?

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peter sragher – Two Yellow Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I have been as far south as Red Oak, MO. ( okay, that’s pretty much west )where I pissed off my wife and her friends by wanting to watch Leon Redbone ( hey, Red Oak/Redbone ) on TV instead of listening to them. We drove there in an old green Dodge Dart. We were stopped on the side of the road and we had to pick a big tick off my daughter’s leg. The radiator overheated and they just replaced the radiator cap for like five bucks at a Shell station just off the interstate. Otherwise I went to Hamilton, OH. once in college to see Bo Diddley at Spaatz’s Show Bar. He was from the South. Also went to Cincinnati, OH.to see Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto. She was from pretty far south and he was just from pretty far. Gary Burton was on vibes. He was 19 yrs. old. I am pretty far south of that.

I had a friend in high school who was from what was called the Southside of Cleveland, OH. I have lived through two economic periods that swept me pretty far south ( of course, this one isn’t over yet ). A marriage went south ( see Leon Redbone incident above ). I’ve read a lot of James Lee Burke who wasn’t born in the South but who, I think we can agree, writes about it better than most.

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Dan Smith – Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a native-born Texan, and I now live in Mobile, Alabama. Need I say more?

Oh, all right: I love fried pies, preferably peach. I never sweat, no matter how hellaciously hot and humid the weather—though I will admit to an occasional glow.

Special Southern Legitimacy Note:

Mobile counts down the seconds to the arrival of the New Year with the dropping of a giant moonpie from the tallest building in town.

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em a olsén – Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

Why did he end up in Eastern North Kackalacky? Well, if you take the 600 mile wide state of North Carolina and fold it back to the west over the 600 mile wide state of Tennessee, the tobacco fields of Eastern North would fold exactly on the cotton fields of Western Tennessee, with the mountains in the middle. Interestingly, the great state of Franklin once extended West from the Carolina outer banks to the banks of the Mississippi River.

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Hal J. Daniel III – Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

• I was born in and live in Texas. I am a fifth generation Texan.
• I have lived in South Carolina, Georgia (twice), Louisiana, and Texas.
• I am a Southern Baptist.
• I still reread Lewis Grizzard’s “If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet To The Ground”
• I have read Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War: A Narrative” (all three volumes; No, the late Shelby Foote did not have an accent. The people with accents were the one’s interviewing Shelby!)
• I read and understood William Faulkner’s “Light in August” and “Absalom, Absalom”.
• I love fried okra, turnip greens, and pork chops.
• I have two aunts that have been married to the same man.
• My father was a career non-commissioned office in the United States Air Force.
• I am a US Army veteran who was trained at Fort Benning, Georgia and also jumped out of perfectly good airplanes.

I swear on the memories of Ellen Glasgow and Katherine Anne Porter that the above are true statements. Signed, Jimmie A. Kepler

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Jimmie A. Kepler – Two Poems

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

The son of two Yankee carpetbaggers, I was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, a border town where the residents, Lou-uh-villians, brag about the fact that they don’t live in Indiana. In fifth grade, when Jim Rife asked me if I were a Yank or a Reb, I was confused because of my alien parentage, and replied “Well, the North won, so that makes us all Yankees now, right?” Wrong! But now that I live in the land of perpetual snow, I miss the dogwoods and magnolias in springtime, tubing through the Red River Gorge in summer, cross-country meets at Seneca Park in the fall, and UL and UK basketball in the winter (go Cards!). I can tell you exactly where I was when Christian Laettner hit that turn-around buzzer-beater over two Wildcat defenders to lead Duke to the Final Four. And my favorite breakfast is the cheese eggs, raisin toast, grits and black coffee at—where else?—Waffle House.

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Ray Sharp – “Ozark Spring Suite” – A Poem

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and still have my cradle roll certificate from the First Baptist Church. I have chased hens off nests in blackberry rows, and used two-holer–winter and summer. I am, however, left-justified to an extreme and if attacked, apt to become passive-aggressive.

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Barbara Young – “Rough as a Cob” – A Poem

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I grew up in McLean, Virginia, before there was a Beltway to provide a line of demarcation between Those Government People and Real Virginians. I further qualified myself by going to college at William and Mary, where my classmates had Southern accents and there were actual magnolias trees and crape myrtle bushes on campus. You mustn’t hold it against me that I moved to Minnesota for graduate school and ended up staying here, where my thin Southern blood freezes every January.

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Maryann Corbett – “Depression Glass: Blue Bowl” – A Poem

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I would be a Southerner even if I was not a Southerner. I was born and raised in Mississippi. Not just Mississippi, but South Mississippi, South South Mississippi. If someone asks me who I am, I say, “I am a Mississippi girl.” I moved to Tennessee as a teenager, but we all know Tennessee is not the real South. They try hard, so we have to give them some credit. I have written several poems about the South in my Creative Writing class and these are actually the first poems I have ever written. I hope you like them. Thank you for taking the time to read them.

Mary Ellen Allen (Look! I even have a Southern name!)

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Mary Ellen Allen – “The Sweet, Sweet South” – A Poem

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

David Lee McLain is the great-great-great-grandnephew of Robert E Lee, the second cousin twice removed of Harper Lee, and a first cousin three times removed of that classiest of all southern gentlemen, Baby-Faced Nelson. He is currently on loan to an institute of higher learning in the Northeast, but is hoping to see the dry plains of Texas very soon.

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David McLain – “Texas”

Posted in Poetry

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I am a native of North Carolina, a devoted fan of Duke basketball, and a hopeless Cheerwine addict. I’m also a vegan, and the worst part of eschewing animal products is not being able to eat a bowl of grits drowned in at least a stick of butter, and Lexington style barbeque. OK, so I do cheat once in a while, most likely because my Georgia Granny used her finger dipped in sausage gravy as my first- and favorite- pacifier. I lived outside of the South for 4 years while attending seminary in Pittsburgh, but high-tailed it back down South of Mason-Dixon the day after graduation, accepting a position in an Episcopal Church in Savannah, Georgia. My proudest achievement: teaching Yankees how to say y’all and all y’all.

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Robert James Laws, III – “We didn’t know” – A Poem

Posted in Blog

Mansion of Memory, a chapbook of poems by Dead Mule Poetry Editor, Helen Losse, has been released by Rank Stranger Press and is now for sale for $13 including postage. Proceeds from this chapbook go to Bright Futures Joplin Tornado Fund to help with the rebuilding process of Joplin, MO,…

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Poetry Editor’s Chapbook Raising Funds for Joplin, MO