Swamp Skirts

Women of Contemporary Southern Poetry

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Heather Foster of Sardis, Tennessee

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The psychology of the Southern mind incorporates both realism and surrealism. While the subjects and characters within poetry are often depicted with stark realism, the settings and surroundings often draw from surrealistic imagery, offering psychological insight into themes through a character’s surroundings. While surrealist poets seem fewer and farther between today, we still find the remnants of its manifestations in the merging of genres. Surrealistic elements are what I found in Heather Foster’s poetry this week. Read more…

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Kathryn Stripling Byer of Cullowhee, North Carolina

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The coquettish and manipulative nature of Scarlett O’Hara still comes to mind when people reference Southern women. The point of reference has shifted to something closer to The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but of course pop culture thrives on these labels. For those of us women that are immersed in “southerness,” the label of the Southern woman does give a sense of empowerment, maybe because Southern women know the system—use the system as a gauge—master the system and can feel accomplished at knowing their cultural worth. But the containers that define the Southern woman are eroding. In the emerging digital landscape, the sense of empowerment shifts to how women define themselves locally (pertaining to their physical environments) and globally (pertaining to their digital environments). I spoke with Kathryn Stripling Byer this week about her thoughts on the identity of the “Southern woman” from a poetical standpoint. Read more…

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