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
“Gary Copeland Lilley is your griot’s favorite griot. Your poet’s favorite poet. In High Water Everywhere, our poet shepherds us through tumultuous waters. Sometimes we might find ourselves in the belly of a hog offering with no tomorrow to serve. Other times, we might have a hand in the secular gospel of America’s underbelly. Lilley’s poems build a particular blues world and moves us to face the particulars of the unseen. ‘Hope is a hammer in the hand that builds / the foundation of the house that can withstand / the storm.’ Hurricane Katrina and other Mother Nature disasters are waded through while landing the reader in the belly of a guitar’s favorite howl. Even when the news isn’t what we all prayed for, High Water Everywhere is the house moving us all to embrace the role of being haunted. Gary Copeland Lilley is my favorite poet, and this might be his finest hour.”
–Derrick Harriell (author of Ropes and Stripper in Wonderland)
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 the author of eight books of poetry, the most recent being The Bushman’s Medicine Show (Lost Horse Press, 2017), and a chapbook, The Hog Killing (Blue Horse Press, 2018). He is originally from North Carolina and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has received the DC Commission on the Arts Fellowship for Poetry and is published in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Best American Poetry 2014, Willow Springs, The Swamp, Waxwing, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, and African American Review. He is a Cave Canem Fellow. Gary’s first edition of High Water Everywhere was published by Willow Books in 2013.