Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers

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Overview


Around the void left by the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963, the poems in this collection speak, unleashing the strong emotions both before and after the moment of assassination. Poems take on the voices of Evers's widow, Myrlie; his brother, Charles; his assassin, Byron De La Beckwith; and each of De La Beckwith's two wives. Except for the book's title,"Turn me loose," which were his final words, Evers remains in this collection silent. Yet the poems accumulate facets of the love and hate with which others saw ...
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Overview


Around the void left by the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963, the poems in this collection speak, unleashing the strong emotions both before and after the moment of assassination. Poems take on the voices of Evers's widow, Myrlie; his brother, Charles; his assassin, Byron De La Beckwith; and each of De La Beckwith's two wives. Except for the book's title,"Turn me loose," which were his final words, Evers remains in this collection silent. Yet the poems accumulate facets of the love and hate with which others saw this man, unghosting him in a way that only imagination makes possible.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Having labored in the world of the arts and in particular in the vineyards of poetry over the last fifty years, I am seldom surprised, moved or excited about the many voices-new and experienced-who occupy our rather fragile and inclusive world. Frank X Walker is an exception. His unusually perceptive and original voice commands a seat at the table. That which separates most poets is their use of language and their ability to creatively keep us reading and listening to their concept of the world we all love, live, and fight in. Read this poet."—Haki R. Madhubuti, author of Honoring Genius: Gwendolyn Brooks—The Narrative of Craft, Art, Kindness, and Justice

"Searing, brilliantly realized, these forty-nine poems exhume the history of a great American hero, Medgar Evers, whose 1963 death at the hands of white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith lit a powder keg of racial unrest in the nation and ushered in a decade of political assassinations. With their deep links to African American poetic traditions of social commentary and historical excavation, Walker's poems summon ghosts of the southern past to probe the daily horror of dehumanization under the reign of Jim Crow and the terrifying psychological roots of white supremacism, past and present."—Minrose Gwin, author of Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement and The Queen of Palmyra

"[A] powerful tribute."—Deep South Magazine

"Walker’s ability to create a human voice of inhumanity—and to place it alongside other voices that struggle to remain human in the face of such devastation—revitalizes our history at a time when too many want us to live as though it were merely a thing of the past." —Jonathan Farmer, Slate Book Review

“In this sixth collection of his poems, Frank X Walker again demonstrates his artistry in giving voice to the marginalized and/or forgotten . . . Turn Me Loose explores the racial conflict of the 1950s and 1960s in [Mississippi], as well as in the wider South, reminding readers of a past that is all too recent, a past that must be acknowledged if our country is to achieve what Walker’s Introduction calls ‘the healing and reconciliation still needed in America’ (xxiv).” —John Lang, Appalachian Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820345413
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 132,438
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Frank X Walker is the 2013-2014 poet laureate of Kentucky. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and the editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry recipient, he is the author of five collections of poetry, including Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, which won the Lillian Smith Book Award, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride.
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Table of Contents


Foreword xiii
How Do We Comply?: Answering the Call of Medgar Evers
Michelle S. Hite

Acknowledgments xxi
Introduction xxiii

Part I: Dixie Suite
What Kills Me 3
Ambiguity over the Confederate Flag 4
Rotten Fruit 5
Humor Me 7
The N-Word 8
Southern Sports 10
Byron De La Beckwith Dreaming I 11
I’d Wish I Was in Dixie Too 12

Part II: Southern Dreams
Fire Proof 15
Listening to Music 16
Life Apes Art Apes Life: Byron De La Beckwith Reflects on Birth of a Nation 17
White of Way 18
Music, Niggers & Jews 19
Swamp Thing 20
Stand by Your Man 21
Husbandry 22
Unwritten Rules for Young Black Boys Wanting to Live in Mississippi Long Enough to Become Men 23

Part III: Look Away, Look Away . . .
Byron De La Beckwith Dreaming II 27
After Dinner in Money, Mississippi 29
World War Too 30
Believing in Hymn 31
Southern Bells 32
Fighting Extinction 33
Harriet Tubman as Villain: A Ghost Story 34
Legal Lynching 35
After the FBI Searched the Bayou 36
Haiku for Emmett Till 37
No More Fear 38
When Death Moved In 39

Part IV: Gallant South
Byron De La Beckwith Dreaming III 43
After Birth 44
Sorority Meeting 45
One-Third of 180 Grams of Lead 47
Arlington 48
Cross-Examination 49
Bighearted 50
Anatomy of Hate 51
What They Call Irony 52
On Moving to California 53

Part V: Bitter Fruit
One Mississippi, Two Mississippis 57
A Final Accounting 58
Now One Wants to Be President 59
Epiphany 60
Last Meal Haiku 61
White Knights 62
Evers Family Secret Recipe 63
The Assurance Man 64
Gift of Time 65
Heavy Wait 66
Time Line 67

Bibliography 71

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 15, 2013

    Mr. Walker's style of writing is different and very moving. He

    Mr. Walker's style of writing is different and very moving. He is able to speak in the voice of the characters in a very real way.

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