This little volume, collected and edited by beloved author Helen Blackshear, features the work of nine writers who have served as poet laureates of the state, including that of Blackshear herself and of acclaimed writer and present poet laureate Helen Norris. This collection also preserves in one place the poems of the rest of the laureates, some of our state’s finest and dearest poets: Dr. Samuel Minturn Peck, Bert Henderson, Mary B. Ward, Carl P. Morton, Ralph Hammond, Morton D. Prouty Jr., and William Young Elliott. “Poetry speaks in many tongues,” writes Carl Morton in one poem included in this volume. These I Would Keep generously captures them all.
This is an important book, one to be treasured. In These I Would Keep
, through the poems of Alabama’s poet laureates, we are reminded of the rich literary heritage we are blessed with in our state.
—Anne and Earl George
No literary history of Alabama would be complete without a gathering of its poet laureates. These I Would Keep
truly is a keepsake, both for future generations and contemporary readers who will delight in the verse of friends present and past. Who has not mourned the Holocaust, dreamed of elves, listened to the voice of wind, rain or grass, or tracked the morning star? The virtue of these very different poets, and of Helen Blackshear’s well-chosen selections from their work, is that all of them uphold the laureate’s way of taking the reader into the circle of poetry, by making poetry the circle of our common humanity.
They, these Alabama poet laureates, do not write of headline events. They write of curling creeks, a grapevine swing, the smell of hardware stores, the legacy of Indian names, bird feeders, cutting wood for winter, deserted houses, simple themes reflecting their love of their native state.
—Kathryn Tucker Windham
A rich legacy of some of Alabama’s most beloved poets.