This special feature of Dirty Paws Poetry Review, Women of the South, is one that beautifully and persistently demands. It is a gift that aims to understand, like most art, what it means to be something. These poets ask, without hesitation, and without shame: What are the possibilities for this place that we call home, and for ourselves?
Are we bound to a southern existence that is stitched to one, and only one, history? One that is heavy and atrocious in nature? That holds us to the ground, unable to breathe nor grow? Or can we embrace the discomfort of an otherwise unexplored, or unacknowledged otherness?
To be a southerner, and woman, and writer, means that maybe our words are soft, and reminiscent of Sunday Mornings spent sitting on the porch, sweet-tea in hand, of course. Or maybe our words look nothing like that at all. Words that taste like fire, and sting shock us from that to which we have become accustomed. As a southerner, as a woman, and as a writer too, I am proud of this collection, and so grateful for poets who value our options, who promote possibilities, and who celebrate their undeniable southerness in any way that they see fit—respectfully classic or mercilessly eccentric.