With vivid characters and striking details, the poems in Dirt Eaters recount the author's examination of her Cracker and southern ancestry in a way that extends beyond the familial to include a region and class sometimes maligned, sometimes romanticized, and often misunderstood. In these haunted, lyric narratives, culture, religion, and class collide. The resulting poems serve tribute to a place and its people through examination of sin and redemption, darkness and light, haves and have-ts, and shame and pride. The book is borne of the consequences of leaving a place and family sleeped in the history and traditions of the South. The poet, having moved to the Midwest, has become a sort of expatriate in her father's eyes, and she herself has underestimated the hold that home would have over her. These poems are a mystical journey back through her ancestry. The dead serve as conjurers and characters both real and mythologized throughout the collection: Uncle Seward, who uses dice and the Bible as a means of prophecy, blind Aunt Ater, who finds solace and doom in biblical numbers, and an unlucky man facing certain death as he stands on an alligator's back.
Teri Youmans Grimm, a former instructor at the Writer's Workshop at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, is editor-at-large with Zoo Press and a contributing editor to Hunger Mountain.
Teri Youmans Grimm
University Press of Florida
Date of Publication
Poetry Texts & Poetry Anthologies
University of Central Florida Contemporary Poetry S.