Hot-Climate Writing

I seem to be going through a phase I can only describe as “Southern”.  Maybe it’s because we had planned a quick trip through the South this summer.  Our goal was to listen to blues, eat grits and write poems. 

The trip was back-burnered for various reasons but apparently the poems weren’t. 

Some of my recent titles are:

 “Miss Lydia’s Dance School and Social Club

Hitching a Ride on the Bunsen Burner Train

Beth Ann Gets Punched in the Chest with a Softball, Summer, 1968

 and so on.  Even my Detroit and Maryland poems sound Southern.  Go figure.

 There’s nothing that truly defines them as Southern, except I can’t seem to get Dorothy Allison’sBastard Out of Carolina” out of my head.  All my poems seem channeled that direction.  They all have characters in them.  They feel humid.  I need the A/C  on. 

I have heard Dorothy say that she reads poetry when she’s getting ready to write fiction.  These days I just have to think about her when I’m getting ready to write poetry. 

But writing I am, and while I wish I were writing cooler-climate poems, and poems with broader appeal for editors and journals,  I have to say that whenever I write, I am so grateful.  I treat each poem as if it were my last.  As if I will never have another idea again, As if… 

Do you feel the same? 

Besides writing, I am also moderating a group on LinkedIn.  It is called “Poetry Editors & Poets” Please join us.  Some of the discussion threads are extremely theoretical and academic.  Some are quite practical.  I am not a theoretical or academic poet and have very little to add to those threads.  I love the practical ones.  Come see if this group appeals to you.  My job as moderator is basically to make sure the posts are respectful and no one posts links to some ridiculous “I can make you a millionaire” hyperlinks.  Other than that I’m a participant, same as you. 

But back to the grits…salt and pepper?  Butter and sugar?  Cheese?  How do you like yours?  I actually do have a Truck Stop poem with grits.  Of course I do.

Tobi Cogswell is a two-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee.  Credits include or are forthcoming in various journals in the US, UK, Sweden and Australia. Her fifth and latest chapbook is “Lit Up”, (Kindred Spirit Press).  She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review ( She likes her grits with butter and sugar for breakfast, and cheese for supper.