At the Bonehouse


978-1-881515-16-6 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5 x 0 in
63 pp.
Pub Date: 03/01/1998


  • Paperback $11.00
Winner of the 1997 Texas Review Poetry Prize
Storytelling is integral to the culture of south Louisiana, particularly the Atchafalaya Basin, where Jack Bedell grew up. Raised, however, with a generation of south Louisianans taught to act Middle American rather than Acadian, Bedell attempts in his poetry to recapture a culture. The poems in At the Bonehouse record the successes and failures of his search to discover what shaped him.

Through his narrative poetry, Bedell provides an accurate representation of the landscape of the region and makes sense of its culture and people. His poems reflect the images and experiences common to Acadiana-saltwater marshes and cypress swamps; cleaning redfish, hunting teal, listening to the broken tones in an old oil-field worker's voice-making the region and its inhabitants accessible to a wider audience and at the same time bringing him closer to understanding himself and his heritage.

For the Boy in Bayou Blue
Who Spoke in Tongues

When he was twelve, he made the national news
to his parents' delight and filled the pews
of the Living Word with gaggles of girls and
tourists eager to hear the sermon he's planned
for a
Current Affair. His long, curly hair
and sparkly eyes glowed when he's share
his witness with the congregation. He'd shout
and swoon and lash his tongue while rows fell out
rolling in ecstasy around his raised 
pulpit. It pleased the deacons when the crazed,
fainting crowds filled their baskets with money,
but no one wondered when his eyes rolled a funny 
white back into his head as if he were reading from
cards inside his skull, or if the Spirit would come 
and improvise the whole show for him
while his mouth spewed syllables like phlegm.

Published by Texas Review Press