Quitman Marshall

Lyrical Life | Sunday, May 17, 1:40 - 2:30, Carolina Meeting Room B
Genre(s) Poetry

Quitman Marshall’s new book of poems, You Were Born One Time (96 Press, 2014), won the SC Poetry Archives Book Prize. He was the founding host of the Literary Series at Spoleto Festival USA and a founding board member of the SC Book Festival. In 1996 he won the Writers Exchange Award (Poets & Writers). He moved to Paris in 1999, and since 2001 has lived in Beaufort, SC, with his wife and children.

Book Title: You Were Born One Time

“You Were Born One Time is remarkable for its mature, honest voice and breadth of experience. Although the poems move from Paris to Zurich, from watching pirates in St. Augustine to hitting golf balls on the moon, they begin and end in South Carolina. Marshall has a lover’s quarrel with the state where he spent his childhood and where he returned to raise his daughters and sons.” So the book is described by Gilbert Allen, its editor and angel. The earliest poems in the book date from walks past Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst and arguments with geography and time. Later ones linger on returns to South Carolina and family legacies, memories of a dozen years in New York, and other travels. The latest poems are mostly praise songs, sometimes grumpy, for the earth’s beauties, for love, and for children. The elegiac tone is for all of us, though there is only one plain elegy in the book, a poem called “Irish,” for the late poet William Matthews, who once kindly remarked of certain contents of this book: “Alert, wry, skillful and aching with affection for what they can see, Quitman Marshall’s poems command our attention without the slightest swagger.”