Georgia Review focuses on Caldwell, Hall of Fame
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
The Georgia Review, an acclaimed publication of the University of Georgia, features Coweta native Erskine Caldwell prominently in its most recent issue.
The issue is a tribute to authors in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, which recently was unveiled in its new headquarters on the UGA campus in Athens. Caldwell was born in Moreland, and his birthplace was moved into the town where it is now a museum operated by the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance.
Stephen Corey, editor of The Georgia Review, talked about the GWHF issue at the GWHF Celebration at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the University of Georgia campus in Athens.
The issue includes “many of the treasures we find in the Hargrett collection,” Corey said at the Sept. 27 event.
Corey said the Review began in 1947 and has grown “into a national journal over the years.”
Caldwell was an original member of the Hall of Fame, which began in 2000.
Corey said he thinks of the GWHF members “as the Georgia writers in the world hall of fame.”
UGA spokesman David Ingle described the Fall 2012 issue of the Review as an “oversize special issue” which “features work by and about 32 of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame inductees during the honorific organization’s first decade.”
In conjunction with the new space for the Hall of the Fame, “this issue of the Review joins in to commemorate the occasion and to share this wealth of Georgia writing with a national and international audience,” according to Ingle.
Spanning 186 years of Georgian literary history, the Fall 2012 Georgia Review gathers a range of authors into a one-of-a-kind collection that reflects the diversity of the Hall’s members: from Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, whose Georgia Scenes, Characters, Incidents, &c. in the First Half of the Century of the Republic was published in 1835 and lauded by Edgar Allan Poe, to Natasha Trethewey—Pulitzer Prize–winner, current Poet Laureate of the United States, and UGA graduate, whose latest book, “Thrall,” was just released. Tretheway gave a talk and reading at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts on Lower Fayetteville Road last year.
Readers will encounter works from such Georgia favorites as Sidney Lanier, W.E.B. Du Bois, Conrad Aiken, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Crews, as well as from others who will perhaps be new to many readers: Elias Boudinot, Georgia Douglas Johnson, John Oliver Killens, Robert Burch, and John Stone.
The magazine also features essays by writers and critics about the work and lives of Hall honorees including one by the late Stanley W. Lindberg, longtime editor of The Georgia Review, on Caldwell; Glenn T. Eskew on Savannah-born lyricist and music industry titan Johnny Mercer; Milledgeville-based poet Alice Friman on Carson McCullers; Ward Briggs on poet and novelist James Dickey; and poet/essayist Marianne Boruch on Flannery O’Connor.
Mercer was distantly related to the Herndon family from Haralson.
Additionally, work appears from several GWHF members, living and deceased, who are or have been associated with the Athens area and/or the University of Georgia: Raymond Andrews, Coleman Barks, Terry Kay, James Kilgo, Philip Lee Williams, and Judith Ortiz Cofer.
“In total, this issue presents a literary canon that is quite different from that found in mainstream American literature anthologies. It includes a number of pieces that may be familiar to students of Georgia’s literature and history,” Ingle said, “and other previously unseen gems.
Corey said the Fall 2012 issue is “quite unlike . . . anything I’ve been involved with during my 29-plus years with the journal, and I dare say during the whole run of the Review since 1947. Never before has The Georgia Review offered a single issue with such a diverse array of talents and perspectives and such a wealth of historical treasures.”