Sunday, September 21, 2008

Echoes of Rick Bragg from Sandy Williams

I'm a huge Rick Bragg fan. That he got his start at The Anniston Star and came from the hill country of East Alabama makes him all the more appreciated. A short story from Sandy Williams from up at Crossville appears in the B'ham News titled American farmer's scars run deep. This was a short but incredibly haunting piece that had me immediately thinking of Rick Bragg's works that I've read.I thought of how so many challenges have faced the people of the poor rural South through the years and yet also how reliably Republicans carry these areas. The contradictions are frustrating. I also thought of Edwin Markham's "The Man with a Hoe" which follows:
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, The emptiness of ages in his face, And on his back the burden of the world. Who made him dead to rapture and despair, A thing that grieves not and that never hopes, Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox? Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw? Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow? Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
I'll hope to read more from Sandy Williams in the future. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ And Rick Foster's writing 'aint bad either. A philosophy professor from AU features in the Gray Lady and good writing in the B'ham News makes me wonder if the stars have aligned oddly for Alabama today.

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