Ashley Mace Havird



Ashley Mace Havird grew up on a tobacco farm in South Carolina. Her novel, Lightningstruck (Mercer University Press, 2016), won the 2015 Ferrol Sams Award. She has also published three collections of poems, including The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014), which won the 2013 X. J. Kennedy Prize. Her poems and short stories have appeared in many journals including Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. Visit her at




10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Library of Louisiana, Capitol View Room
Hardlines: Rough South Poetry

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing

1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room F
Book Talk

2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing



In May of 1964, eleven-year-old Etta McDaniel's horse is struck by lightning -- dead and gone, she hopes, out of her life "as though he'd never come in the first place, bringing with him one catastrophe after another." But Troy, gruesomely scarred, not only survives but seems to have gained supernatural powers, which Etta sets her mind on harnessing in her search for treasure. She is convinced that a find of the sort her hero Heinrich Schliemann unearthed at ancient Troy will set to rights everything suddenly gone wrong in her life: rivalry and betrayal at home and social unrest reaching even her family's farm. Half-blind and crippled, the horse does lead Etta to treasure-though not to the treasure she dreamed of. Along with her shell-shocked grandfather, the family's African American housekeeper, and the widow of a Mohawk chief, the lightning-struck horse initiates her into the world of "action and liability" as the Civil Rights Movement takes hold in her rural South. Etta comes to understand that this world was never perfect, with its economy dependent on tobacco and before that on slavery, as excavations on the farm reveal. Once unearthed, the ugly truths of history scar Etta and set her, in a figurative sense, upon the back of the lightning-scarred horse and on the journey of her life.


Hardlines: Rough South Poetry (contributor)

A collection of contemporary poems exploring the grit of work, love, and the land down South

Daniel Cross Turner and William Wright's anthology Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry centers on the darker side of Southern experience while presenting a remarkable array of poets from diverse backgrounds in the American South. As tough-minded as they are high-minded, the sixty contemporary poets and two hundred poems anthologized in Hard Lines enhance the powerful genre of "Grit Lit."

The volume gathers the work of poets who have for decades formed the heart of Southern poetry as well as that of emerging voices who will soon become significant figures in Southern literature. These poems sting our senses into awareness of a gritty world down South: hard work, hard love, hard drinking, hard times; but they also explore the importance of the land and rural experience, as well as race- , gender- , and class-based conflicts.

Readers will see, hear (for poetry is meant to ring in the ears), and feel (for poetry is meant to beat in the blood); there is plenty of raucousness in this anthology. And yet the cultural conflicts that ignite Southern wildness are often depicted in a manner that is lyrical without becoming lugubrious, mournful but not maudlin. Some of these poets are coming to terms with a visibly transforming cultureā€”a "roughness" in and of itself. Indeed many of these poets are helping to change the definition of the South. The anthology also features biographical information on each poet in addition to further reading suggestions and scholarly sources on contemporary poetry.


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