Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Beatrice Ravenel, That Timely Charleston Suffragette


I am only afraid
Of the cold dull lids of eyes,
And the cold dull grain of sand in the soul,
Indurate, insensate, not to be made incandescent
Even by God.
I am afraid of the stupid people.

I passed pleasant hours reading an obscure 2007 doctoral thesis last night -- "Captive Women, Cunning Texts: Confederate Daughters and the 'Trick-Tongue' of Captivity," by Rebecca L. Harrison.  It's in the digital archive of Georgia State University, under the aegis of the Department of English.

Okay, so I went straight to page 79.  I can vouch for pages 79 to 148.

There's just not that much out there about Beatrice Ravenel, Charleston poetess, normally assigned the role of writer for hire, functionary of occasional verse.  Harrison frames her alignment with regional Native American voices as speech out of, informed through, and both nurtured by and trapped in, captivity.

Anyway... that great segue!

Ravenel's poem, Fear, comes to me in its entirety whenever there's a vote on, and sometimes the day before a presidential debate.

I know, I know, I should honor the ignored Ravenel by introducing her wider work and not just reprinting Fear according to the electoral calendar.  While you are waiting for that to happen {smirk::smile}, give Professor Harrison a read.

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