Vinegar and Char: Verse from Southern Foodways Alliance: Sandra Beasley, Sean Hill, and W. Ralph Eubanks (2019)

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The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series presented Vinegar and Char: Verse from Southern Foodways Alliance: Sandra Beasley, Sean Hill, and W. Ralph Eubanks on March 11, 2019 at 7:30pm in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre. Noted Southern scholar and author W. Ralph Eubanks read his favorite poems from Vinegar and Char as well as introduced poets Sandra Beasley and Sean Hill. Eubanks also moderated the post-reading conversation. This reading was in conjunction with the Folger exhibition and the institution-wide project Before 'Farm to Table': Early Modern Foodways and Cultures.

Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley.

Sandra Beasley, a northern Virginia native, has authored three poetry collections: Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, and Theories of Falling. Her memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, engages living with disability.

Sean Hill

Sean Hill. Bart Nagel.

Sean Hill, a Georgia native, is the author of Dangerous Goods, awarded the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor. He is a consulting editor at Broadsided Press and an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program at UA-Fairbanks.

W. Ralph Eubanks

W. Ralph Eubanks.

W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past, which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. Currently he is a visiting professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Reviews and excerpts

From "Flour Is Firm" The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, line 4234

Baking two parts flour to one part water

could stop a bullet. So good soldiers

carried their hardtack over their hearts.

Break it down with a rifle butt, flood it,

fry it in pig fat to make hellfire stew.

Gnaw it raw and praise the juice.

Does wheat prepare for this as it grows,

seeking the light in a half-thawed field?

Do stalks know their strength is merely

in their number? What is ground down

we name flour in promise that it will be

made useful. Otherwise, it’s just dust.

Excerpt from “Flour is Firm” from Count the Waves by Sandra Beasley © 2015, published by W.W. Norton. Used with permission.