Inspired by the culture, music, history and mythology of the Blues, The Red Light Was My Mind captures the tone, rhythms, sounds, images, and myths of the Mississippi Blues. Son House, Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Peetie Wheatstraw, Billie Holiday, Jack Johnson, and a cast of entirely fictitious and mythical figures embody the region's legendary past and its often harsh present. These stories wind through a number of related narrative threads, interlaced with poems reflecting a myriad of Blues forms: songs, hollers, monologues, folktales, chants, spells, and sermons. Love, death, evil, sorrow, violence, and dancing fill the Blues and inhabit these poems.
GARY CHARLES WILKENS, born in South Carolina and raised in North Carolina and Arkansas, recently graduated with a master's degree from Sam Houston State University, where he now teaches as a member of the adjunct faculty. He has attended a number of conferences, where he presented his poetry, and his poems have appeared widely in such journals as Oklahoma Review, Poetry Southeast, and The Texas Review.
What Readers Are Saying:
"Red dust, love and whiskey blues: this is poetry of strength and ferocity. Read it and marvel. Gary C. Wilkens is the best poet of his generation, and as good as any who came before him." --Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow