Publisher: Tupelo Press (October 15, 2010)
Paperback: 72 pages
Strayer University, USA
“True revelation occurs amid distortion”—The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 1: Religion
Southern poetry occupies an inimitable place in contemporary literature. Michael Chitwood, whose work has gained significant recognition and a wide readership over the last two decades or so, represents a current trend of an increased interest in Southern poetry. His latest collection, Poor-Mouth Jubilee, reaches back to the heart of what can bind a Southern town together—religion—in an effort to explore the meaningfulness and fruitfulness of human relationships. Chitwood’s usual positions of irony, skepticism, and cynicism toward Christianity are softened, considerably, in Poor-Mouth Jubilee. Still, the unrelenting quality of obstinacy that characterizes a particular sect of Southern literature from William Faulkner to Flannery O’Connor is ever-present in Poor-Mouth Jubilee. The concept of obstinacy in Southern literature translates into the idea that while it is impossible to overcome suffering through a transcendence of it, nonetheless there can be a repudiation of the belief that suffering is meaningless. Poor-Mouth Jubilee reminds us that meaning can be found in the smallest of appreciations. In the poem, “Now And In Our Time of Need,” Chitwood describes how a flock of crows can remind us of the need for prayerful meditation.