Whatever Remembers Us: An Anthology of Alabama Poetry
edited by Sue Brannan Walker and J. William Chambers
Negative Capability Press, Mobile, Alabama
Whatever Remembers Us: An Anthology of Alabama Poetry, edited by Sue Brannan Walker and J. William Chambers, is a collection of over two hundred poems about Alabama. There are a few poems in the anthology by such literary lions as Langston Hughes, Ray Bradbury, and James Dickey; renowned non-residents such as Rita Dove, Sonia Sanchez, Marge Piercy, and Miller Williams; and by contemporary scholar/poets such as Rodney Jones, R.T. Smith, Hank Lazar, Dwight Eddins, Andrew Hudgins, Peter Huggins, and Thomas Rabbit to mention only a few. But the majority of the poems in this excellent collection are by Alabamians—some nationally known like Bonnie Roberts, Charles Ghigna, Anne George, and Eugene Walter, and some as yet undiscovered —writing about the experience of living and loving in Alabama.
The anthology is divided into seven sections each featuring a mode of remembering: Places Remember, People Remember, Music Remembers, Seasons Remember, Yesterday Remembers, Nature Remembers, and History Remembers. The title of the volume is taken from John Ciardi’s "Minus One": “Whatever remembers us, finally, is enough. If anything remembers us, something is love.”
Within the pages of this lovely book (the front and back covers feature two exquisite photographs by Jason R. Walker, one of the Alabama Shakespeare Theatre and the other of the capitol building in Montgomery) is something for everyone. There are poems about fishing, about cotton picking, about the Tombigbee River, about the march to Selma, about the quilts of Gees Bend, about Spanish moss, about the WPA.
Whatever Remembers Us is a democratic collection about unity and diversity, rivers and forests, mountains and beaches, about sunrise and sunset, about the backroads and highways and the people who travel them and live beside them. It is a passionate paean to Alabama.
(Whatever Remembers Us, Negative Capability Press, Mobile, Alabama, 2007, 304 pages, hardback, $30)
- Penne J. Laubenthal