Texas in Poetry can be read straight through as a commentary on life in the Lone Star State. Or it can be read a poem or author at a time. But if read straight through from ""I'll Take Texas"" to ""No Quittin's Sense"" the whole Texas experience as seen by more than a hundred poets cannot fail to make an impact on the reader. Editor Billy Bob Hill includes such poets as Mirabeau B. Lamar, a Texas president and poetaster from the days of the Republic; Berta Harte Nance, author of the centennial poem that begins ""Other states were carved or born/But Texas grew from hide and horn""_lines that furnished at least one book title and occasioned a number of parodies. And, of course, one poem about Texas that is magnificent in its awfulness, ""Laska,"" with memorable lines like ""Scratches don't count/in Texas down by the Rio Grande."" But most of the poems in this large, handsome volume are much superior to the representative early poems included. All the well-known poets in the state are included_writers like Walter McDonald, Betsy Colquitt, and Vassar Miller_as well as newer writers. Nor has the editor failed to offer a generous sampling of the state's best minority voices_Carmen Tafolla, Rolando Hinojosa, Lorenzo Thomas, Jas. Mardis, Ray Gonzalez, and Teresa Paloma Acosta. The volume is divided into sections with titles suggested by well-known books by Texas authors. Some of the sections are ""I'll Take Texas"" (from Mary Lasswell's book); ""Faces of Blood Kindred"" (William Goyen's original title); ""This Stubborn Soil"" (from the first volume of William A. Owens's autobiography); and, from A. C. Greene's memoir about West Texas, ""A Personal Country."" Texas in Poetry is a revised and updated edition of Hill's popular and definitive Texas in Poetry: A 150-Year Anthology. In this volume, as in the previous edition, Hill presents a selection of representative Texas poems from the early days of the colony to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Included in the volume are some bad but famous old-time poems, but most of the selections compare favorably with the best poetry being written today.
BILLY BOB HILL is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with an M.A. and a Ph.D from the University of North Texas. Hill, who has taught at several area colleges and universities, is publisher of Browder Springs Press in Dallas and is responsible for several excellent short fiction anthologies and a number of other books by Texas writers.