The poems in the first part of this book are set in and/or inspired by my walking safari in the South Luangwa Valley of Zambia in the summer of 2010. Some of the poems are whimsical responses to the guidebook, others taking serious the Mississippi-Africa axis in race relations. The title poem is a long meditation on that axis. Two poems are set in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, where friends took us to an AIDS compound (read: Ghetto) and another to an AIDS hospital. The "other poems" are poems I wrote many years ago and others that I started but recently finished; others are new poems, mostly set in and around my life in Mississippi.-Noel Polk
Noel Polk is Emeritus Professor of English at Mississippi State Unviersity and editor of the Mississippi Quarterly. He is best known for his editorial and critical work on William Faulkner and his critical work on Eudora Welty. He has lectured widely on both in this country and across Europe, in Japan, Australia, and South America. He is he editor of the Corrected Texts of Faulkner's novels for The Library of America and the author of, among others, Children of the Dark House, Eudora Welty: A Bibliography of Her Work, Outside the Southern Myth, and Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition.