Book Catalog

Red Dirt Forum: A Journal of Contemporary Literature

Issue 1

Amy Susan Wilson, Founder/Managing EditorRDFIssue1

Red Dirt Forum: A Journal of Contemporary Literature is a biannual print journal that features strong voices of American Southern poetry and prose. Additionally, each issue features a contemporary musician and/or band and author interview. Works that address issues of social justice are also found within the pages of each issue. 

This inaugural issue includes music lyrics by StumbleEast bandmates Kevin Hall and Jay Tracy, poetry and prose by William Bernhardt, Vaibhav Saini, Julia Nunnally Duncan, and others.



Of Bees and Boys: Lines from a Southern Lawyer

by Allen Mendenhall

beesSouthern Literary Review editor and literary lawyer Allen Mendenhall examines in this collection of essays ideas about place, literature, reading, family, and custom from the vanishing perspective of a traditional Southerner.  Whether he is lamenting the lack of learning among lawyers, recalling experiences with grandparents, or speculating about the impact of technology on scholarship, Mendenhall's distinctive prose, self-deprecating honesty, and contemplative tone make him one of our most interesting social critics. Always attentive to the profundities of everyday life, he evokes nostalgic feelings while expressing sometimes pointed, sometimes sensitive opinions that reflect a deep understanding of history, heritage, and the human condition.

"Of Bees and Boys is a delicious trip through a marvelous brain...Allen Mendenhall opens his prolific mind in these joyous pages."
     -Hon. Andrew P. Napolitano, Senior Judicial Analyst, Fox News Channel, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law,
       Brooklyn Law School

"In this gorgeous collection of essays, Mendenhall ably and eloquently gives proof as to why he's one of the most important
 rising minds in America."
      -Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History, Hillsdale College

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A Part Of Me

by Julia Nunnally DuncanJuliaNunnallyDuncan2

Newly adoptive parents celebrate their child as they welcome the new millennium.

A traveling circus performer past his prime stirs the heart of a local woman.

A daughter regrets lost opportunities with her late father during his final year
in a nursing home.

A nineteenth century portrait of a mother and her dead child captures the horror of
a deadly disease.

In this collection of fifty-seven poems, these reflections and others are shared with the reader. Vividly revealing a Western North Carolina woman's rural upbringing and
the moments that have compelled her, A Part of Me honestly examines a life in its complexity of joy and heartache.

The author, Ron Rash, states, "With each new book, Julia Nunnally Duncan further establishes herself as one of North Carolina's finest poets." The poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes this collection as a "spiritual biography in collage form...Duncan's every reader will be reminded of some person, place, or time important to recall in a quiet hour."

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Abraham Anyhow

by Adam Van Winkle
Abraham AnyhowThis colorful, regional family tale unfolds across the Texoma, Oklahoma-Texas border.  Family patriarch Abraham Dyson, a hardscrabble mechanic and tow-truck driver, finds himself in the midst of learning that his property is under seige. He does what he must to hang on to his rural Southern property that is under fire due to backdoor dealings and the expansion of a new highway. Abe's estranged son, Ike, now grown, returns home without warning. Father and son yoke together to battle a corrupt local business baron, a ragtag criminal family, all while a dogknapping takes place. Abe Dyson works to re-thread family ties that are fragile yet resilient, and as meaningful as the rural Southern land he fights to hang onto for himself, and for future generations to come.

The Landfill Poems
by Clay Cantrell
clay cantrellThe Landfill Poems investigate the human and environmental hazards of late capitalism in the American South. Told from the perspectives of two poverty-stricken siblings in Tennessee, these sonnets carry the reader through the anxieties of these experiences with slant phrases and synesthetic musings.  As a waste-filled world eats away at the characters,things often turn violent and mournful.  The poet, Tim Earley, notes that "In its accumulative material warping, this book captures the texture of rural poverty.  In its slicing, ellipitical narratives, it brings us close to its subjects without judgment or caricature."

The Ocean's Edge

by William Bernhardt

oceansedgeWilliam Bernhardt's second poetry collection explores the complex tapestry of family and the subtle interconnections that bind us to our past and forms the ballast to identity. Popular culture merges with classical allusions, weaving the colorful threads of a fabric composed of moments lived and still to be lived.

"William Bernhardt is one of Oklahoma's and the country's literary treasures. Part William Carlos Williams (the big picture of our national lives) and e.e. cummings (poetry's micro-moments), this new book will bring converts to poetry and to Bill's yeasty vision.This is poetry for those who love reading and want a reminder of why they should read more poetry.  They will not be disappointed."--Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Executive Director of World Literature Today.

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Knuckle Bear

by Tim PeelerKnuckle Bear

Knuckle Bear is both enlivened and burdened by a fractured language, inherited from the settlers who first came to the North Carolina mountains from the hills and valleys of Scotland and Ulster to claim this wild land. It is a language that is as broken and crippled, violent and near violent, innocent and depraved, and loving and brutal as the characters who populate the world of this poem novella.

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BSby Steven L. Parker

It is a hot, sultry summer in Little Dixie, Oklahoma in the 1970's.  A young man commits a robbery that forever changes the course of his life and those around him.  Rural poverty and injustices assert themselves as the norm not the exception; by the end of the novel the reader will feel that he or she lives in Crow, Oklahoma, the setting of this debut novel. An exciting read by an author who knows the interior terrain of the human heart, the traditions of a unique rural heartland, and most importantly, how to convincingly portray the universal human condition.

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Don't Date Baptists and Other Warnings from my Alabama Mother

barr coverby Terry Barr

Following in the tradition of Alabama memoirist Rick Bragg, Barr explores Bessemer, Alabama, circa 1960's-70's from the eyes of a boy who grew up there, struggling to understand the divide of race, class, religion, and neighborhood anxiety.  Barr captures what it means to come of age as the New South cuts its teeth, with much trial and terrible error, in territory that is rich and explosive, devastating and beautiful.

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Red Truck ReviewRed Truck Review

Red Truck Review, issue 5, Spring 2016. Contemporary New South voices include Ray McManus, Denton Loving, Dana Loy, Ken Poyner, among others. Reviews, interviews, and artist Allen Forrest featured in the Trucker Gallery.

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