Living Blue in the Red States


Living Blue in the Red States

Edited by David Starkey

356 pages
3 maps


September 2007


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2007


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Political pundits never tire of reminding us of the great cultural divide between conservative “red” states and liberal “blue” ones. But common sense tells us that not all people in these states can be politically like-minded. David Starkey, a former red-state resident, wondered what politically progressive creative writers were feeling in the wake of George W. Bush’s reelection. How, Starkey asked contributors, does one live blue in a red state.
This book supplies many answers. Writers as different as Jonis Agee and Stephen Corey, Robin Hemley and Lee Martin (a 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist in fiction), Donald Morrill and Wyoming poet laureate David Romtvedt describe what it is like to live in a region that doesn’t always share one’s values. While pointedly progressive, the collection brings together the work of essayists who look beyond the passions of the moment—the war in Iraq, the rallying of the Right around social issues, the Democrats’ failure in 2004—to the need for unity. Sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, always enlightening, these essayists’ views testify to the power of writing to bring us together as one nation of whatever color.

Author Bio

David Starkey is a professor of English at Santa Barbara City College and author of Poetry Writing: Theme and Variations as well as several collections of poetry, most recently Ways of Being Dead: New and Selected Poems.
Contributors include: West: David Romtvedt, Sherry Simpson, Jennifer Sinor, and Frank Soos; Midwest: Jonis Agee, Steve Heller, Robin Hemley, Lee Martin, Michael J. Rosen, and Deb Olin Unferth; South: Gilbert Allen, Sidney Burris, David Case, Stephen Corey, Anthony Kellman, John Lane, Donald Morrill, Jim Peterson, Mona Lisa Saloy, David Starkey, and Angus Woodward


"Imbued with a spirit of gentleness and forgiveness, Living Blue in the Red States reminds us that we are in this together, left and right, trying to survive an ongoing political Katrina."—Greg Kosmicki, Great Plains Quarterly

“Among the contributors are novelists, poets, essayists, and literature professors, all with passion for their regions and elegance in expressing their anger, frustration, and longing to close—or at least understand—the political divide.”—Booklist

"The red state/blue state divide, which has come to dominate poll projections, is not as well defined as election-eve pundits claim. . . . [David Starkey] shows that a sense of community often trumps politics, and the similarities between neighbors outnumber their differences."—ForeWord

“[R]eveals the sensitivity, openness, and respect which the best (blue or red) minds can offer. . . . David Romtvedt’s ‘Red Politics and Blue in Wyoming,’ Robin Hemley’s ‘Control Issues,’ Jim Peterson’s ‘The Kreskin Effect,’ and Starkey’s ‘Writing the Personal Political Essay’ are all flat-out excellent writing, regardless (but not ignorant) of politics. That’s a real accomplishment. The best of these essays—and there is a lot of great work beyond what I mention above—acknowledge the false dichotomy of red and blue, confront personal biases, and outline the disillusionment of the left at both the right and itself. Most importantly, they are vivid and eloquent.”—Andy Fogle, PopMatters

Table of Contents

David Starkey
Part 1. West
1. Another Way of Saying
Sherry Simpson
2. Hauling Water
Frank Soos
3. Red Politics and Blue in Wyoming
David Romtvedt
4. Running in the Red
Jennifer Sinor
Part 2. Midwest
5. Election Season
Lee Martin
6. Trapping
Jonis Agee
7. Here Was Johnny
Steve Heller
8. America, Where's Your Sense of Humor?
Michael J. Rosen
9. Control Issues
Robin Hemley
10. A Campaign That Failed
Deb Olin Unferth
Part 3. South
11. Playing Debussy in the Heart of Dixie
David Case
12. The Kreskin Effect 
Jim Peterson
13. Faith
John Lane
14. How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Swamp in South Carolina
Gilbert Allen
15. Rescue the Drowning, Tie Your Shoe-Strings
Sidney Burris
16. P Is For . . . 
Stephen Corey
17. Minority within Minority: Dynamics of Race and Culture in the New South
Anthony Kellman
18. Theater of Operations
Donald Morrill
19. The World Loves New Orleans, but America Has Not Come to Its Rescue
Mona Lisa Saloy
20. Louisiana's New Political Landscape
Angus Woodward
21. Summertime
David Starkey
Afterword: Writing the Personal Political Essay
David Starkey

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