25 April 2009

Celebrate our Local Poets

April is National Poetry Month.

The BDC has fairly extensive holdings of some of our local poets from the 19th through 20th centuries. To be eligible for the "Forever Collection," the poet must have direct ties to the former Beaufort District area as well as write poetry which reflects their personal understanding of our culture, history, and environment. Among the poets, living and dead, represented are: Robert Woodward Barnwell, Patricia Bee, Walter Dennis, Edith Bannister Dowling, Arthur G. Foster, Robert Elliott Gonzales, William J. Grayson, and Gilbert Augustus Selby.

Here's an extract from a favorite of mine, "Island Names," by Edith Bannister Dowling from One for Sorrow, Two for Joy (SC 811 DOW in BDC, HHI; LH 811 DOW in BEA, HHI)

Fish Haul,
And Bay Gall:
Names in use down there --
Place-names, worn,
Like Honey Horn,
Through times both fierce and fair;
Houses, and
Plantations, stand
In ruins, or all waste.
Spanish Wells --
The names ring bells
Of memories; interlaced
With Skull Creek,
Broad Creek,
And Muddy Creek, abode...

Each place known, a name;
And Myrtle Bank,
And Bram's Point ...
Some etymologist
Can add them, dissect them:
I just know they exist
In Hilton Head's long story:
My last name I'll be tossing
In this good island's glory:
The James F. Byrnes, his Crossing.

Stop by the BDC or by one of the Local History collections for more poetry. You'll find additional volumes of poetry in the 810s.

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