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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for January 24-30, 2003

In this issue:


The following events all happened during this week in Mississippi history.

1893: Writer Lalla Scott was born in Collins, Mississippi. (Jan. 25)

1895: Poet Muna Lee was born in Raymond, Mississippi. (Jan. 29)

1927: William Faulkner’s Mayday, a hand-lettered tale, was presented to Helen Baird, for whom it was written. (Jan. 27)

1933: Theologian Louis W. Hodges was born in Eupora, Mississippi. (Jan. 24)

1934: Advertising executive Peter Rodgers was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. (Jan. 24)

1935: William Faulkner incorporated the Okatoba Fishing and Hunting Club with two others. (Jan. 30)

1940: Poet Sterling D. Plumpp was born in Clinton, Mississippi. (Jan. 30)

1941: William Faulkner published “Go Down, Moses” in Collier’s. (Jan. 25)

1944: Editor and biographer James Morgan was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (Jan. 24)

1948: Folklorist John Alan Lomax died in Greenville, Mississippi. (Jan. 26)

1955: William Faulkner accepted the National Book Award for Fiction for A Fable. (Jan. 25)

1958: William Faulkner returned to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville for another semester as writer-in-residence. (Jan. 30)

1959: William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun opened in New York at the John Golden Theatre. (Jan. 30)

1969: The musical Peace, book and lyrics by playwright Timothy Reynolds with music by Al Carmines, a translation of a play by Aristophanes, was first produced Off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theatre in New York. (Jan. 27)

1977: Memoirist Malcolm Franklin died. He was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford, Mississippi, alongside his mother, Estelle Faulkner, and step-father, William Faulkner. (Jan. 30)

1997: English professor and biographer Thomas Daniel Young died of complications following abdominal surgery in Bay Springs, Mississippi. (Jan. 29)

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

Tell Me: 30 StoriesTell Me: 30 Stories

By Mary Robison

Counterpoint Press (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 1582432589)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly :

Thirty brief, sharply delineated short stories written over three decades by Robison (Days) chronicle emotional dislocation with witty dispassion. Robison’s characters, usually members of middle-class families, are often pictured grappling with the redefinition of roles, such as the teenaged star-gazing narrator of “An Amateur’s Guide to the Night” and her pill-popping single mother who pass for sisters and go on double-dates together. Or the newly idle Helen of “Independence Day,” recently returned to her father’s grand lakeside house in Ohio, who halfheartedly resists the pressure of her estranged husband, Terry, to get on with her life. Epiphanies are of less interest to Robison than rendering the shimmering immediacy of situation: “I could be getting married soon. The fellow is no Adonis,” establishes straightaway the art teacher of “In Jewel,” whose engagement means a way out of the dead-end eponymous miner town she’s always lived in. Robison locates her fairly comfortable characters anywhere from Beverly Hills (“Smoke”) to Ophelia, Ohio (“While Home”), to Washington, D.C. (“Smart”); they are waiting for rides in the rain or for babies to be born or for life, simply, to go on. And in every story her characters make valiant, hit-or-miss attempts to connect with one another. The brevity of these tales sometimes leaves the reader hanging, especially since their author delights in oblique details and non sequiturs. Yet nothing is superfluous, and in the spare sadness of Robison’s prose entire lives are presented. As the fiancée of “In Jewel” concludes, “All that I’ve ever owned or had is right out here for you to examine.” Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Shifting InterludesShifting Interludes: Selected Essays

By Willie Morris , edited by Jack Bales

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $28.00, ISBN: 1578064783)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Covering the span of his forty-year career, a collection of eloquent essays by one of the South’s favorite writers.

In the course of his career Willie Morris (1934­1999) attained national prominence as a journalist, editor, nonfiction writer, novelist, memoirist, and news commentator. As this eloquent book reveals, he was also a master essayist whose gift was in crafting short compositions.

Shifting Interludes, an anthology that spans his career of forty years, includes pieces he wrote for the Daily Texan, Texas Observer, the Washington Star, Vanity Fair, Southern Living, and other publications. These diverse works reflect the scope of Morris’s wide-ranging interests. The collection comprises biographical profiles, newspaper editorials and columns, political analyses, travel narratives, sports commentaries, book reviews, and his thoughts—both critical and affectionate—about his beloved home state of Mississippi.

Two essays are previously unpublished—“A Long-ago Rendezvous with Alger Hiss” and “The Day I Followed the Mayor around Town.” One essay, “Mississippi Rebel on a Texas Campus,” is the first article he wrote for a national publication.

Morris’s subjects reflect his autobiography, his poignant feelings, and his courtly manners. He expresses his outrage as he decries Southern racism in “Despair in Mississippi,” his melancholy as he recounts a visit to his hometown Yazoo City in “The Rain Fell Noiselessly,” his grace as he salutes a college football team and its fallen comrade in “In the Spirit of the Game,” his humor as he admits to a bout of middle-age infatuation in “Mitch and the Infield Fly Rule,” and his pensiveness as he remembers his much-loved grandmother Mamie in “Weep No More, My Lady.”

Willie Morris is one of Mississippi’s most acclaimed writers and a former editor of Harper’s. University Press of Mississippi reissued two of his works, North Toward Home and The Courting of Marcus Dupree, and most recently published My Mississippi, on which he collaborated with his son, the photographer David Rae Morris. Jack Bales, the reference and humanities librarian at Mary Washington College and a friend of Morris’s, compiled and edited Conversations with Willie Morris (also published by the University Press of Mississippi).

One Writer's ImaginationOne Writer’s Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty

By Suzanne Marrs

Louisiana State University Press (Hardcover, $59.95, ISBN: 0807128015; Paperback, $24.95, ISBN: 0807128414)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

In One Writer’s Imagination, Suzanne Marrs draws upon nearly twenty years of conversations, interviews, and friendship with Eudora Welty to discuss the intersections between biography and art in the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work. Through an engaging chronological and comprehensive reading of the Welty canon, Marrs describes the ways Welty’s creative process transformed and transfigured fact to serve the purposes of fiction. She points to the sparks that lit Welty’s imagination—an imagination that thrived on polarities in her personal life and in society at large.

Marrs offers new evidence of the role Welty’s mother, circle of friends, and community played in her development as a writer and analyzes the manner in which her most heartfelt relationships—including her romance with John Robinson—inform her work. She charts the profound and often subtle ways Welty’s fiction responded to the crucial historical episodes of her time—notably the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement—and the writer’s personal reactions to war, racism, poverty, and the political issues of her day. In doing so, Marrs proves Welty to be a much more political artist than has been conventionally thought.

Scrutinizing drafts of Welty’s work, Marrs reveals an evolving pattern of revision increasingly significant to the author’s thematic concerns and precision of style. Welty’s achievement, Marrs explains, confirms theories of creativity even as it transcends them, remaining in its origins somewhat mysterious.

Marrs’s relationship to Eudora Welty as a friend, scholar, and archivist—with access to private papers and restricted correspondence—makes her a unique authority on Welty’s forty-year career. The eclectic approach of her study speaks to the exhilarating power of imagination Welty so thoroughly enjoyed in the act of writing.

Suzanne Marrs is a professor of English at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and has served as Welty Scholar at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. A recipient of the Phoenix Award for Distinguished Welty Scholarship, she is the author of The Welty Collection: A Guide to the Eudora Welty Manuscripts and Documents at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and coeditor of Eudora Welty and Politics: Did the Writer Crusade?

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

Feb. 6: Bondurant Auditorium, University of Mississippi campus, Oxford, Mississippi, 7 p.m.

U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2002) Billy Collins reads from his poetry and offers commentary on his work and other matters. Sponsored by the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Series and the English Department. For more information, contact the department at (662) 915-7439, or online at

Feb. 6-8: Magnolia Independent Film Festival, Cinema 12, Starkville, Mississippi

The 6th annual Mag Film Fest, celebrating the spirit, the honesty, and the vision of independent films. For more information, visit the festival web site,

Feb. 17: Old Chemistry Auditorium, University of Mississippi campus, Oxford, Mississippi, 7 p.m.

Clifton L. Taulbert, author of the acclaimed classic Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, will speak. This event is in conjunction with Open Doors, the University of Mississippi’s yearlong observance of the 40th anniversary of the integration of higher education. Sponsored by the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Series and the English Department. For more information, contact the department at (662) 915-7439, or online at

If you know of upcoming literary events by or about Mississippi writers, please let us know by writing us at 


The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You may wish to begin planning now to attend or participate.

March 25, 2003

Poetry Reading by Andrew Hudgins, Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.

March 26-30, 2003

Seventeenth Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, New Orleans, Louisiana. For information, visit their web site at

April 10-13, 2003

Oxford Conference for the Book, Oxford, Mississippi.

July 20-24, 2003

30th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi. Information and registration forms available at

If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you have suggestions, please write us at

For more information about events in the Oxford and University of Mississippi community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:

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