When the first edition of The Made Thing was published in 1987, it was met with wide acclaim. Finally, there was an impressive anthology of contemporary southern poets that included works of established poets as well as newer, uncelebrated names. Over ten years later, almost all of those "lesser-known" poets have developed national reputations, and The Made Thing has become one of the best-selling books published by the University of Arkansas Press.
The second edition features twelve new poets as well as new work by Donald Justice, T. R. Hummer, Dave Smith, Pattiann Rogers, Andrew Hudgins, Henry Taylor, Gerald Barrax, Rodney Jones, and others. Among the new additions are Mark Jarman, Cathy Smith Bowers, and Charlie Smith.
Many teachers realize that the best way to get their students to relate to poetry is to show them poems that contain landscapes and subjects they understand and can identify with. Leon Stokesbury has put together a richly varied collection used in classrooms not only in the South but all over the country as a means of studying the important influence of southern poetry on American literature.
With the publication of the second edition of The Made Thing, Stokesbury has marked the end of the twentieth century and the rise to prominence of southern writers. This collection serves as a substantial sampling of poets whose works span more than five decades and who explore the rich personal and cultural history that extends beyond the boundaries of the South.
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Leon Stokesbury was the first winner of the Porter Fund Award for Literary Excellence. His books of poetry include Often in Different Landscapes (1976), The Drifting Away (1986), and Autumn Rhythm (1996), for which he won the Poets' Prize for 1998. In addition to editing the first and second edition of The Made Thing, he also edited Articles of War: A Collection of Poetry about World War II (The University of Arkansas Press, 1990). Dr. Stokesbury currently teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Georgia State University in Atlanta.