This title offers meditations on cultural memory, race relations, and sexual identity in the New South.Deeply rooted in the recognizable landscapes and legacies of the American South, these lyric poems couple daring engagements with topics of race and sexuality with tender reflections on personal and cultural histories. Madden's adopted home of South Carolina rises to the surface in poems set at Folly Beach, Fort Moultrie, Lake Keowee-Toxaway, and Middleton Place. His interrogations of social oppression evoke the ubiquitous iconography of the bygone Confederacy, a first encounter with the miniseries Roots, and a cameo appearance by Strom Thurmond. In the collection's final section, Madden turns to issues of sexual difference, community formation, and the place of gay men in contemporary southern culture. Throughout he repeatedly turns to the artifacts that demarcate his memories of youth in the rural South.
Ed Madden is an associate professor of English and director of the Undergraduate Program in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina as well as writer in residence at the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina. He earned his B.A. in English from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, a B.S. in biblical studies from the Institute for Christian Studies in Austin, Texas, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Texas at Austin. Madden is the author of Tiresian Poetics and coeditor of Geographies and Genders in Irish Studies. He was selected by editor Natasha Trethewey for inclusion in the anthology Best New Poets of 2007.