John Poch’s newly curated collection, Gracious: Poems of the 21st Century South, spotlights both emerging and notable voices from this poetry-rich region. This book promises to be the best and most influential anthology of Southern poetry published in over thirty years. Gracious steers away from stereotypical mockingbird-and-magnolia verse and instead amplifies a variety of lyric voices covering a wide breadth of Southern experience. Bryan Giemza’s timely introduction situates the anthology among the current discourse in Southern studies. Gracious features the work of some of our best-known poets alongside those who have just published their first books. In all, there are eighty-four poets included whose work moves both the heart and the intellect. Gracious is, in the end, a new poetic geography, a book that strives to define Southern poetry for a generation to come. It is a book intended not only for the classroom; it aims to capture the imaginations of readers of all ages and backgrounds.
John Poch is the author of five collections of poetry, including the forthcoming Texases (WordFarm Press, 2019). His poetry has been published widely and has won many prizes including the Nation/“Discovery” Award, the Donald Justice Prize, and The New Criterion Poetry Prize. He is professor in the Department of English’s creative writing program at Texas Tech University.