I was considering this the other day. I was born and raised in Hickory Withe, TN, (right outside Memphis), lived a few years in Boston, a few years in Kentucky, a few years in Georgia, and a few years in Arkansas, but currently live in Missouri. By and large, the majority of my life has been lived in the South (all but 4 years, to be exact). But I do not currently live in the South and have no plans to return to the South–so am I a “Southern” poet?
What is it to be a “Southern” poet? Is it merely where you were born? Is it what you write about, or a style of writing?
Let’s say someone lives most of their life in California, and moves to Tennessee. How long before they can call themselves “Southern”?
With all of our moving, I feel a bit displaced as a writer. When I first began writing, I would solidly claim to be a Southern, mid-south poet, but now, when I type out my current address on a submission, I wonder what I can really claim.
How do you define regional poetry? By the poet being from there, currently living there, or writing about the place?