The author of four books
of poetry, James Seay was born January 1, 1939, in Panola County,
Mississippi. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University
of Mississippi in 1964, and followed it two years later with
a M.A. degree from the University
of Virginia. He has taught English at a number of colleges and
universities, including Virginia Military
Institute, the University of Alabama,
and Vanderbilt University.
Since 1974 he has taught creative writing at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Seay's books of poetry include Let
Not Your Hart (1970), Water Tables (1974), The Light
as They Found It (1990), and most recently, Open Field, Understory
(1997), a collection of new and selected poems. In addition, he
co-wrote a documentary film about big-game hunting in East Africa,
In the Blood (1990), with the film's director, George Butler.
He has received several awards for his work, including an Award
in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1988.
In an article in Louis D. Rubin's The
History of Southern Literature, James H. Justus says that no
other Southern poet of Seay's generation has done better than Seay
"in not only evoking the village culture of the contemporary South
but also transforming its commonplaces into objects and events of
talismanic significance.... Acknowledging the totems
and detritus of village life mobile homes on concrete blocks,
rotgut whiskey in Clorox bottles, Kotex boxes used by children to
trap starlings, abandoned cars Seay tends to invest such
phenomena with mysterious potentiality that transforms them into
the stuff of legend" (547).
(Article first posted October
Related Links & Info
Information about Seay's most recent book of poetry, Open
Field, Understory, is available from the Louisiana State
University Press home page.
- Let Not Your Hart. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1970.
- Water Tables. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1974.
- Said There Was Somebody Talking to Him through the Air Conditioner. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Palaemon Press Limited, 1985. (Limited edition of 100 copies.)
- The Light as They Found It. New York: Morrow, 1990.
- Open Field, Understory: New and Selected Poems. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997.
- Media Adaptations:
- Documentary Film:
- In the Blood. Dir. George Butler. 1990. Co-written by George Butler and James Seay.
- Articles and Interviews:
- Bottoms, David. "Note on the Structure of James Seay's 'It All Comes Together outside the Restroom in Hogansville.'" Notes on Contemporary Literature 7.4 (1977): 6-7.
- Carr, John. "An Interview with James Seay." Notes on Mississippi Writers 5 (1972): 35-55, 57.
- Justus, James H. "Poets After Midcentury." The History of Southern Literature. Ed. Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985. 535-55.
- Walsh, William. "An Interview with James Seay." Southern Quarterly 28.4 (Summer 1990): 99-115.
- Internet Resources
- Personal Sites:
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