Rejoicing in #8216;My South#039;

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2006

&#8220My South: A People, A Place, A World of its Own”

Based on works by Robert St. John and edited by Bryan Curtis

Rutledge Hill Press-Turner South, 2005

Sometimes you run across a wonderful book quite by accident, a truly happy accident. That was the case when I found the book &#8220My South” while browsing on

The book actually began as an advertising campaign for Turner South called &#8220My South on Tour,” in which the best spoken-word artists from across the South were invited to speak and write about what this region of the country meant to their hearts and souls. The best of the best are featured in this book.

Southerners are great storytellers. The South is full of rich traditions.

It all blends together for a spirit unique to this region. The book, &#8220My South,” emphasizes the importance of keeping alive those traditions alive, to keep telling those stories.

As a writer, as a reader, as a lover of my South, I found this book to be one that spoke to my soul. Accompanying the poems and quotes are wonderful sepia-toned photos throughout the book: a young girl languidly sprawled across an inviting porch swing, worn tombstones tilting beneath Spanish moss-draped trees, a tailgater tending to the ribs on the grill, a pickup kicking up dust and gravel on a country road, a dog with soulful dark eyes, patiently waiting on a porch, laughing ladies in their best church hats in front of their church.

Here are a few quotes from this lovely book. Savor their Southern flavor, and enjoy.

n My South is front porch sitting, screen door cricking, constant finger licking, humidity dripping, lemonade sipping, sweet summer afternoons. - Denny Styles

n My South is off of the highway. That's right! It's the brick storefronts, the diners, the parks dedicated to little people who did big things in their little pond.

n A Main Street where neighbors know each other by name; who have an account at the store around the cornerŠ – Jessica Deltac

n In my South, there is a spirit, a holy spirit that heals old wounds, melts the heart, and brings all people together. It's that spirit that is the source of our progressŠwe are moving forward, you knowŠI can still have my front porch,

my sweet tea, and that good home cookin' - even on a low-carb diet. We can hold on to the beauty of this old, old place, as we're moving. - Christine Carr

n In my South, &#8220fixin' to” or &#8220done did” were opposites, and &#8220y'all” was the hallmark of the southern soul. - Sean Scapaletto

n The South

– its rhythm is inside meŠI chuckle with the thought of the SouthŠthere's a church on every corner. We're known as the Bible Belt. Growing up, the belt is what I felt. It helped.

- Zanya Hammond

n My South is the sound of crickets in the summerŠsweet tea and meat-and-threes and &#8220thank-you-ma'ams” and &#8220pleaseŠ”

– Marcus Amiker

n My South is gave you George Wallace and Dr. King.

And my South still has that dreamŠmy South is homemade peach ice cream, cakewalks and square dances, cookin' a pig on the Fourth of July and a mountain of casseroles after my brother's funeral. My South takes care of her own.

n My South is freeways AND dirt roads. Pig pickins' AND gourmet cuisineŠmy South revels in its contradictions and is never EVER short on style. - John Givens Hartness

I urge those who love great Southern writers and fine photography to make an effort to get your hands on this book. Visit sites like Amazon, Books-A-Million or Barnes & Nobles to look for it.

You can probably find it at a substantial discount as I did and featuring a bonus CD of spoken word performances from the artists featured in the book.