Tag Archives: mississippi



I don’t know what has happened in Mississippi in my absence, but this video gives some guidance. I remember playing a lot of volleybonk and going to parties at an old Boys and Girls Club on the outside of town. Times have changed, and now awesome sock puppets are en vogue within my circle of friends.

Book Club: Townie

So, once upon a time, I lived in Mississippi, and the thing is, living in a town with 8,000 souls makes you trusting. I was walking up to the square for the weekly taping of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting arts variety show, Thacker Mountain Radio and a man about my mom’s age pulled up next to me in a sedan with out-of-state plates. “Excuse me,” he said. “Could you tell me how to get to The Lyric? I’m supposed to be reading tonight on the radio, but I’m really lost.” Ordinarily, I do not get near idling cars with strange men from far away contained within, but he seemed nice (read: I’m a sucker AND I’m an idiot). Anyway, long story short, he realizes I’m freaked out, produces his driver’s license, and I end up driving him to the theatre just in the nick of time.

That man was Andre Dubus, III. He gave me a copy of his book, and we kept in touch. Don’t worry, Mom. That was the first and last time I’ve ever done that.

I included a little bit of the note he wrote in the book, but not much because that's probably only of interest to me.

I included a little bit of the note he wrote in the book, but not much because that’s probably only of interest to me.

Townie, which he read from that night, is a memoir of his childhood and young adult years, growing up poor, tough, and without much of a dad in post-industrial Massachusetts. The book is about a lot of things, but more than anything, it’s a long meditation on violence and how that shaped his life. It was strange to square that with the gentle, professional man I met in Oxford that cloudy afternoon. I knew from our chat that he was married and had a couple kids, that they lived in Newbury, and that he was a professor at UMass-Lowell. I had heard that his dad was a famous novelist, too. He was driving a nice rental car and had on a dress shirt. If I had known what I know now of his young adulthood, I wonder if I would have gotten into the car. Continue reading

You Must Not Let Peter Peter Out

We’re winding down National Poetry Month, yet I still have so many poems I want to share with you. Alas!
Sandra Beasley and I have near-missed each other innumerable times; she left UVA as I came, I left Ole Miss as she arrived, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum. I enjoy her work and our mutual friends are convinced we’d get along, but so far, no dice. Anyway, please enjoy this funny and smart poem she composed.

Let Me Count the Waves

by Sandra Beasley

We must not look for poetry in poems.
—Donald Revell

You must not skirt the issue wearing skirts.
You must not duck the bullet using ducks.
You must not face the music with your face.
Headbutting, don’t use your head. Or your butt.
You must not use a house to build a home,
and never look for poetry in poems.
In fact, inject giraffes into your poems.
Let loose the circus monkeys in their skirts.
Explain the nest of wood is not a home
at all, but a blind for shooting wild ducks.
Grab the shotgun by its metrical butt;
aim at your Muse’s quacking, Pringled face.
It’s good we’re talking like this, face to face.
There should be more headbutting over poems.
Citing an 80s brand has its cost but
honors the teenage me, always in skirts,
showing my sister how to Be the Duck
with a potato-chip beak. Take me home,
Mr. Revell. Or make yourself at home
in my postbellum, Reconstruction face—
my gray eyes, my rebel ears, all my ducks
in the row of a defeated mouth. Poems
were once civil. But war has torn my skirts
off at the first ruffle, baring my butt
or as termed in verse, my luminous butt.
Whitman once made a hospital his home.
Emily built a prison of her skirts.
Tigers roamed the sad veldt of Stevens’s face.
That was the old landscape. All the new poems
map the two dimensions of cartoon ducks.
We’re young and green. We’re braces of mallards,
not barrels of fish. Shoot if you must but
Donald, we’re with you. Trying to save poems,
we settle and frame their ramshackle homes.
What is form? Turning art to artifice,
trading pelts for a more durable skirt.
Even urban ducklings deserve a home.
Make way. In the modern: Make way, Buttface.
A poem is coming through, lifting her skirt.

The Only Good Vine I’ve Seen.

Vine seems to be mostly drunk people taking 6-second videos of falling down, but this, THIS!

Fun Fact: I have lain the the bed from which these notes were written, and yes, it was as humbling as you’re imagining.

Book Club: Tale of Sand

I am new to graphic novels, but I am not a new Jim Henson fan. Miss Piggy was a great hero of mine as a little girl, and I cried my eyes out in the theatre when I watched the Jason Segel Muppets Movie. 

Mississippian, puppeteer, and creative genius Jim Henson’s professional output comprised more projects than any one man could have realized in a lifetime. It wasn’t entirely shocking when his family archivist found a complete screenplay, more or less ready for development, that no one knew existed. Ramon Perez and Henson’s estate developed and illustrated Tale of Sand from the notes Henson left.


Gorgeous, surreal, and very, very strange.

The basic plot of the book is this: a man arrives at a strange Southwestern town, is given some cryptic instructions, and told to run as fast as he can. Oh, and not to trust the instructions he’s been given. I don’t want to give much more away, but it’s an odd tale, and definitely not for kids. 

More than anything, this book is an fun and unusual look at the ideas of one of America’s most innovative thinkers. Even if you aren’t that in to graphic novels, this is one to check out, if for no other reason than to look at the great pictures and marvel. Even the font in the speech bubbles is based on Henson’s actual handwriting. I was very much smitten with the whole thing.

So have you checked this out?  Are you in to graphic novels? Let me know in the comments.

Next week, I’m reading this. I may even try out some of the stuff in there!


Hahaha. But really.

Hahaha. But really.

I could read this 100 times, easy. I knew Beth Ann Fennelley when I lived in Oxford, and she’s great, and the Oxford American is great and so on and so forth.

Places I’d Like to Move Into: Prairie by Rachel Ashwell

What do y’all know about Rachel Ashwell? She wrote several, several books about her shabby chic aesthetic, had a line with Target, and has this inn in Texas called The Prairie. I first came across this place when I was trolling Style Me Pretty, looking for my friend Kat’s wedding.

Borrowed from Style Me Pretty.

Borrowed from Style Me Pretty.

And Oh. My. God. Shut up. Other than that girl being so pretty, and her dress being lovely, don’t you just want to curl up in that bed and never get out, except maybe to go look out the window at this:

Again, borrowed, but this time from Little House with the White Picket Fence.

Again, borrowed, but this time from Little House with the White Picket Fence.

Seriously, if I lived somewhere like this, I would have to quit my job because I would be so pleased with myself that I wouldn’t be able to leave my home at any time. I would have to just wait for people to come see me, mostly so they could look on in awe.

Continue reading