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Vol. 10, No. 1: Spring 2004

  //  spring 2004

Acclaimed author Alice Walker tells why she loves B.B. King, why the Reverend Martin Luther King should be alive today, and why the earth is her guiding grace. Then award-winning writers Lee Smith and Hal Crowther journey into the apocalyptic mind of Reverend McKendree Robbins Long; a former fireworks runner tells all; and Uncle Dave Macon declares war on cars.

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Spring 2004

by Harry L. Watson
“Maybe firecrackers don’t mean anything but a hell of a good time.” We all know that hunting is a major theme in American literature. Think about Melville and his whale, Faulkner and his bear, Hemingway and his lions. For these writers, like the ancient heroes of mythology, hunting is more of a spiritual quest than »

Alice Walker: “I know what the earth says”

by William R. Ferris
“I love B. B. because he loves women. They can be mean, they can be bitchy, they can be carrying on, but you can tell he really loves them. He’s full of love. I would like to be the literary B.B. King.” My friendship with Alice Walker began in the fall of 1970 when I »

Fireworking Down South

by Brooks Blevins
“‘I need a monkey driving a car, one hen laying eggs, two cuckoos, a fairy with a flower, one climbing panda, one cock crowing at dawn, and whatever we’ve got in the way of a Jupiter’s fire or a thunder blast or a big bear.'” This condensed excerpt first appeared in Vol. 10, No. 1 »

“All Wrought Up”: The Apocalyptic South of McKendree Robbins Long

by Hal Crowther, Lee Smith
“We often had dates for the revival, since there wasn’t anything else to do in that town, or anyplace else to go, and that oftentimes your date would be holding your hand while you both got all wrought up together. So there was a sexual thing going on there, too.” Whether preaching the Gospel though »

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

by Lee Smith
“My mother used to call it GETTING ALL WROUGHT UP and viewed it as a kind of sickness, like the flu.” Back when I was a very dramatic and religious girl, I often spoke at Christian youth groups and camp meetings. As my minister once said in introducing me, “This here is Lee Smith, and »

Float Fishing in the Ring of Fire

by Hal Crowther
“I’m with the British writer Zadie Smith, who writes, ‘The Book of Revelation is the last stop on the nutso express.'” It’s not well known that I was once an actual salaried art critic, for a very large newspaper—for a very short run. But I’m here today, I’m sure, due to my reputation as a »

Grandfather Long the Last Time

by Robert Hill Long
“I am myself a history / Flanked always by A.D., B.C.” I.  THE FRONT PORCH GLIDER Back and forth the glider heaves our strange bodies,eighty-eight and twenty-four,your head swaying on its stem like a balding dandelion:eyes almost frosted over,throat whiskers roothair-white, you smellof mildew and ammonia—Is this the God-haired evangelist whose supper prayerwas as big »

The Grand Ole Opry and the Urban South

by Louis M. Kyriakoudes
“‘Lord, Lord, you ought to take a ride, get in a Ford with a donnie by your side.'” One Saturday evening in 1927, George D. Hay, the program director of Nashville radio station WSM, was preparing to introduce the evening’s local program, the WSM Barn Dance. Not really a barn dance at all, the program’s »

Mill Village and The Stretch-Out

by Ron Rash
“I was only seventeen, a girl / who still could trust a suit and smile.” Mill Village Mill houses lined both sides of every roadlike boxcars on a track. They were so closea man could piss off of his own front porch,hit four houses if he had the wind.

A Southern Memory

by Robert Flournoy
“‘Yessir, pretty fine shootin’, especially as it appears these birds were flying upside down.'” I never know what to say when someone asks me where I am from. I was born in Memphis and the family moved before I was one. By the time I was six we had managed to live in four different »

Close Harmony: A History of Southern Gospel by James R. Goff (Review)

by James Parris
University of North Carolina Press, 2002 Every now and then my good friend Rodney and I will launch into “Jubilee (jubilee), Jubilee (jubilee). You’re invited to this gospel jubilee” in two-part harmony and wind up in a fit of laughter at the memory. If you grew up in the South, you’re probably like us and »

The Rise of Southern Republicans by Earl Black and Merle Black, and: The Politics of Cultural Differences: Social Change and Voter Mobilization Strategies in the Post-New Deal Period ed. by David C. Leege, Kenneth D. Wald, Brian S. Krueger, and Paul D. Mueller (Review)

by John Quinterno
Belknap Press, 2002; Princeton University Press, 2002 Election 2002 was kind to southern Republicans. When the votes were counted, the GOP controlled 13 of the South’s 22 seats in the U.S. Senate and 76 of the region’s 131 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This development is remarkable given the Democratic Party’s historical dominance »
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