The story of the Southern Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was largely written by Martin Luther King, Jr. and his forces of nonviolence, but the Movement did not attract black Southerners only. Though not large in numbers, there were white Southerners who joined the effort to bring down Jim Crow and his system of racial segregation. To Fred Hobson, this was “that curious history of what I might call the white Southern racial conversion narrative—that literature of the mid and late 20th century in which white Southerners told of coming up from racism and embracing racial brotherhood and sisterhood.” Two of the more “compelling” narratives, in Mr. Hobson’s view, both appeared in 1971, namely Larry L. King’s Confessions of a White Racist and Pat Watter’s Down To Now: Reflections on the Southern Civil Rights Movement, These narratives are the subject of his VQR essay. They are also part of his forthcoming book, But Now I See: The White Southern Racial Conversion Narrative which will be published by L.S.U. Press later this year. The book is the outgrowth of the annual Fleming Lectures at Louisiana State University which Mr. Hobson gave in the spring of 1998.
Fred Hobson is Lineberger Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also the author of Mencken: A Life (1994) and co-editor of the Southern Literary Journal published by the English department at U.N.C. Mr. Hobson is also a dedicated, if not fanatic, fan of the Tar Heel basketball team.
In its long history, the South has been as much influenced by religion as it has by racism. Thus, “the Southern way of religion” was the subject of the Boys Blackwell lecture recently given at Emory and Henry College by historian John B. Boles and now reprinted in VQR. Mr. Boles received his Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Virginia, and is now the William Pettus Hobby Professor of History at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is also the managing editor of The Journal of Southern History.
W. D. Wetherell is the author of three novels, three collections of short stories, and numerous non-fiction works including One River More published in 1998. Mr. Wetherell’s personal narrative and memoir, North of Now, was published last spring. He also is a recipient of the 1998 Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award which awards a writer $50,000 annually for five years, allowing him or her to devote their time exclusively to writing. Mr. Wethehell was also the recipient of two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1982 and 1988), two O. Henry awards, and the 1985 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. His stories and essays have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, and VQR. He lives in the hills of western New Hampshire.
Jeffrey Meyers has long been one of VQR’s most loyal contributors. His essay on the American tragedy of the Hemingways evolved from his research in writing a biography of Ernest Hemingway which appeared in 1985. Mr. Meyers recently completed a collection of essays called Beneath the Surface: Life and Art in Hemingway which will be published this year. Also in 1999, he will publish a Korean translation of his biography of Joseph Conrad, German and Polish translations of Humphrey Bogart and paperback editions of his biographies of Hemingway, Bogart, and Gary Cooper; and with the University of California Press, introductions of three volumes of screenplays by Billy Wilder.
Neil D. Isaacs is professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park, and a practicing family therapist. Among his recent books are The Great Molinas, a novel, and Vintage NBA, a mostly oral history of the National Basketball Association. A novel in stories, The Miller Masks, of which “The Swannanoa Review” is part, is due out in the fall. He is also currently completing a study of pathological gambling entitled You Bet Your Life.
David Kirby is the W. Guy McKenzie Professor of English at Florida State University and the author of 17 books including Big-Leg Music
(Orchises Press), which Library journal called “one of those rare books—it contains good solid poems one after another that are wild, smart, and original.” His interest in the reading habits of others started him on a journey described in his current VQR essay “What Is a Book?”
A Pulitzer Prize winning poet. Mary Oliver has appeared many times before in VQR. She currently teaches at Bennington College and her three prose poems are from her forthcoming collection of essays and poems, Winter Hours, to be published this spring by Houghton Mifflin.
Paul Breslin teaches in the English department at Northwestern University. He is currently trimming a long critical manuscript on Derek Walcott to ready it for publication. His poems have appeared in such magazines as Agni, American Poetry Review, Poetry, and TriQuarterly.
Alan Feldman is chairman of the English department at Framingham State College and teaches the advanced creative writing course at the Radeliffe Seminars. His poems have appeared in many periodicals including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Boston Review, lowa Review, Mississippi Review, and most recently, Harvard Review and Kenyon Review. His collection, The Happy Genius, won the 197S Ellis ton Book Award for the best book of poems published by a small independent press in the U.S. and a subsequent collection, Anniversary was published in 1992.
Uproar, Brooks Haxton’s collection of antiphonies to the Book of Psalms, will be published by Viking Penguin in the fall of 2000, and Dances for Flute and Thunder, his collection of Greek poems in translation, later this fall.
Nance Van Winckel’s third book of poems. After a Spell, was recently published by Miami and a second collection of stories called Quake just appeared from Missouri.
Marc Straus practices medical oncology In 1998, he received the Robert Penn Warren Prize from Yale University Medical School. His second collection of poems, Not God, will be published by TriQuarterly Northwestern University Press. He has poems in the current issues of Kenyan Review and Plonghshares.
Since the late 1980’s, Zbigniew Machej has emerged as one of the major Polish poets in the 40 to 50-year-old generation. A translator of Czech literature, until recently he was the assistant director of the Polish Institute m Prague
Daniel Bourne is the editor of Artful Dodge and teaches at the College of Wooster in Ohio His first collection. The Household Gods appeared in 1995 in the Cleveland State University Series.
Martha Ostheimer teaches at the University of Arizona. Her work has appeared in North west Review Poetro del Sol. Madison Review and several anthologies.
Nicole Pekarske is a student in the Ph D. Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri at Columbia. She has poems forthcoming ing in The Gettysburburg Review
Richard O’Mara has been a foreign correspondent in Europe and Latin America and foreign editor of the Baltimore Sun: currently he writes features for the Sun. He also teacher The Contemporary Essay at Loyola College in Manlaud. He and his wile. Susana also at Loyola are collaborating on a book about Florian Panke. the subject of his VQR essay.
Susan Jane Guman earned an M. F. A. m Creative Writing from the University of Michigan where she received three Hopwood Awards including one for “The Birthday.” Her fiction has appeared in The Village Vowe Story Plough shares, The Beloit Fiction Journal and The Greensboro Review A native New Worker, she currently works in Washington as a speech writer and journalist.
A native of New Jersey, Daphne Eva Kalotay received a B.A. degree in psychology from Vassar College. She later earned an M.A. in creative writing and a Ph.D in modern and contemporary literature, both from Boston University. She is a recipient of the Henfield Foundations Transatlantic Review Award and Boston University’s Florence Engel Randall Fiction Award
John Smolens is the author of a collection of short stories. My One and Only Bomb Shelter to be published in 1999 by Carnegie Mellon University Press, and two novels, Angel’s Head (1994) and Winter by Degrees 1988 his stories and essays have appeared in various magazines and newspapers including Yankee, Redbook. The Massachusetts Review, The Boston Globe and AWP Chronicle. Educated at Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Iowa, Mr. Smolens is an associate professor of English at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
James D. Redwood is a professor of law at Albany Law School in Albany, New York, where, among other subjects, he teaches a seminar on law and literature. From 1972 to 1974, he taught English at Van Hanh University and worked for a social welfare organization, the Shoeshine Boys Project, in Saigon, Vietnam. He is currently working on a collection of stories and a novel.
A native of Kentucky, George Core received his B.A. and M.A. from Vanderbilt University, later served with the U.S. Marines, and then earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. He has been the editor of The Sewanee Review since 1973.
Dr. Cecil C. H. Cullander is completing a book dealing with Thomas Mann and his friend, Ernest Bertram. Dr. Cullander received both his B.S. and M.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and is a clinical professor of psychiatric medicine at the University of Virginia Medical School.
A frequent VQR essayist and reviewer, Sanford Pinsker is a professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, and editor of Academic Questions.
A member of the history department at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Andrew Burstein is the author of a new book, Sentimental Democracy: The Evolution of America’s Romantic Self Image. He also wrote The Inner Jefferson: Portrait of a Grieving Optimist (1995). He earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia.
Photo Credit: from Ebony Magazine: November 1975, p. 95.
Research Credit: Heather Burns
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