O magnet-South! O glistening perfumed South! my South!
O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse and love! good and evil! O all dear to me!
I. The New South
A few years ago I was interviewed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution-a newspaper whose slogan used to be “Covering Dixie Like the Dew”-and later, when the article appeared, the headline read, “Poet Digs at secrets in Her South.” Not long after that, I received several e-mail and phone messages from a marketing representative who wanted to get a few lines from me about “my South.” In the messages, he said it wouldn’t take long and that his firm couldn’t pay me for my comments. Well, I was busy, and besides that, I figured he didn’t want to hear what I really think about the South. Most likely, he probably wanted some sound-bite clichés about how I like my grits, sweet tea, or barbecue, about how we southerners like sitting on porches and after-church visiting.