Storytelling is integral to the culture of south Louisiana, particularly the Atchafalaya Basin, where Jack Bedell grew up. Raised, however, with a generation of south Louisianans taught to act Middle American rather than Acadian, Bedell attempts in his poetry to recapture a culture. The poems in At the Bonehouse record the successes and failures of his search to discover what shaped him. Through his narrative poetry, Bedell provides an accurate representation of the landscape of the region and makes sense of its culture and people. His poems reflect the images and experiences common to Acadiana-saltwater marshes and cypress swamps; cleaning redfish, hunting teal, listening to the broken tones in an old oil-field worker's voice-making the region and its inhabitants accessible to a wider audience and at the same time bringing him closer to understanding himself and his heritage.
JACK BEDELL is an assistant professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, where he also serves as poetry editor for Louisiana Literature. His poems have appeared in several journals, including Kansas Quarterly, Kentucky Poetry Review, Negative Capability, Yarrow, Southern Humanities Review, and Critique; his chapbook, Sleeping with the Net-Maker, was published by the Devil's Millhopper Press in 1995.