These I Would Keep

Selected Poems by the Poet Laureates of Alabama

Edited by Helen F. Blackshear

Foreword by Don Siegelman

Title Details

Pages: 128

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Pub Date: 08/01/2000

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8000-5

List Price: $21.00


NewSouth Books

Related Subjects

POETRY / General

These I Would Keep

Selected Poems by the Poet Laureates of Alabama

Edited by Helen F. Blackshear

Foreword by Don Siegelman

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  • Reviews
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.

—Susan Luther

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.

—Charles Ghigna

About the Author/Editor

HELEN F. BLACKSHEAR served from 1995 to 1999 as Alabama’s eighth poet laureate. A native and present resident of Tuscaloosa, she lived in Montgomery from 1934 to 2003. She has three daughters, eight grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she also has an M.A. from the University of Alabama. She is the author of Mother Was a Rebel, Southern Smorgasbord, Creek Captives, Alabama Album, Silver Songs and From Peddler to Philanthropist: The Friedman Story. She also edited These I Would Keep, an anthology of poems by Alabama’s first through ninth poet laureates. She has served as treasurer and vice-president of the Alabama Poetry Society and as president of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave. She was Poet of the Year in 1986 and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Conclave in 1987.