Polemics & Exchanges

A Louisiana Lesson

If an admiring reviewer’s main purpose is to inspire his reader to run out and buy the book he praises, Professor Randall Ivey has done that for me with his review of Louisiana Poets: A Literary Guide (“Chansons by the Bayou,” December 2019). Drs. Brosman and Pass could not have asked for a more justly sympathetic or skillfully detailed description of what must be a delightful introduction to the Pelican State’s best poets. I cannot wait to read it.

If Professor Ivey will bear with me for a moment, however, I feel compelled to provide a little geography lesson: Lake Charles, Houma, and Thibodaux are not parishes but cities. Lake Charles is the seat of Calcasieu Parish, Houma is the seat of Terrebonne Parish, and Thibodaux is the seat of Lafourche Parish. Lafayette is indeed the name of a civil parish, but surely the authors intended primarily to write not of the parish, but of its eponymous metropolis and parish seat, the unofficial capital of Acadiana. And, yes, it is “Acadiana” not “Arcadiana,” though the halcyon and childlike Arcadian joy of the region cannot be denied. Etiam Homer nutavit.

Two of the writers Ivey mentions, the celebrated Walker Percy and the forgotten John William Corrington, enjoyed a connection unknown perhaps even to some...

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