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Learn more about the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_Insurrection_of_1898
Learn more about Colonel Waddell here: http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/commentary/97/entry
“Poem after poem, book after book, Gary Lilley explores the underwater depths of the blues, deep sea diving beneath the city corners and tangled histories of this country’s map to tell us where we’ve been and how we got there. Thank you for this journey, Mr Lilley. Thank you for this new testament to the power of the unvarnished, raw voice of our natural selves.”
–Tyehimba Jess, author of Leadbelly
“HIGH WATER EVERYWHERE is an odyssey, a love story, and book of nightmares. Gary Lilley is the poet we need in our times—fearless, worldly, and a music-magician. This is poetry you will not shake off, nor want to shake off. I read it from cover to cover, backward and forward, and found myself astonished at least once on every page. This is enduring work by one of our best living poets.”
–Laura Kasischke, Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry
Colonel Waddell on the Morning of November 10, 1898
from High Water Everywhere
They vote Republican black. They walk
Our streets with their heads up, with more freedom
Than a white man, and now we have been made
To conduct our city’s business under
The rule of carpet-baggers and negroes.
White men will suffer eternally
If we do not honor that it’s our blood
That makes North Carolina sacred ground.
If we don’t act they’ll soon have the land
And all our grand history that’s on it:
The Confederate graves, all the gray men
From all our families, to their proud deaths
Give glory, honor the white way of life.
Let black bodies choke the Cape Fear River.
Gary Copeland Lilley is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. He received the Washington DC Commission of the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Alpha Zulu from Ausable Press. He lives in Swannanoa, NC, and teaches poetry in The Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.