Redneck Poems

Pub­lished in the MiPoe­sias Chap­book Series. Avail­able at Scribd as well, and at Mag­cloud if you want a print ver­sion (for a small fee). Thanks to editor/publisher Didi Menendez.


"Harsh, fun­ny, dark, and ten­der. Red­neck Poems will kick you into next week." –Adri­an C. Louis

"These poems are very sen­su­al, ground­ed in nature and set­ting that form the back­ground for the human inter­ac­tions: vio­lent, sad, jeal­ous over lovers, the death of a new­born, the pure ani­mal joy of being alive. Will read again and again. A real pleasure."–David Woodruff

"This is just great. I espe­cial­ly loved 'Ode To ____'. A bunch of tight lit­tle tales that are just as like­ly to tug your heart-strings as to make you hurl. Bad and sad and stun­ning­ly evoca­tive of a time and place. I wish this guy would write a nov­el. Fail­ing that, just more stuff like this."–Mark Stan­i­forth

"The main com­plaint I have on Rusty's books are, they're too dang short. I said this about Break­ing it Down, I'm say­ing it again about Red­neck Poems. Mr. Barnes writes folks well, has a spooky abil­i­ty to get into the skin of any char­ac­ter, man, woman, child, and write them with vivid real­ism. Be warned, these are not always hap­py peo­ple, but the grit and resolve in which they plow through life in these poems is so inspir­ing you don't care whether or not they're hap­py. In fact, you kin­da hope they keep on falling on hard times, again and again, so Rusty will keep writ­ing about them.

Rusty Barnes is the kind of writer I hope to be some day. I would read soup labels if he wrote them."–Helen Peter­son

"With a voice so orig­i­nal in every poem, from begin­ning to end ("Tony lit­tle girls in slim skirts/never real­ly appealed; give/me blues­gals with high-stock­ings and love­ly round thighs/at two ayem in a stripmall/parking lot…Yeah, boy"), Rusty Barnes' "Red­neck Poems" is one of those poet­ry books I can read all the way through, over and over again."–Melis­sa McEwen

"Fight­ing for love in Appalachia. Tune­ful, vis­cer­al, grit­ty."–Lydia Ship

"The term "red­neck" has many dif­fer­ent mean­ings. There is the humor­ous Jeff Fox­wor­thy par­o­dy, but there is also the hard-work­ing rur­al farmer and fresh air image that is tied a lit­tle clos­er to real­i­ty. I'm not sure why Rusty chose that word to rep­re­sent this col­lec­tion of poems, but I feel he almost uses it affec­tion­ate­ly. Sure there is men­tion of cut-off jeans, hal­ter tops, beer, shot­guns, fights, and of course cows, but in each of these poems there is also some­thing that is uni­ver­sal­ly rel­e­vant. Be it young love (or lust), a father's fears, neglect, or lose, the poems are pow­er, mov­ing and real."–What To Wear Dur­ing an Orange Alert


"This book is dif­fer­ent, and you'll begin to notice the first time you hold it in your hands. It's a small book, a sim­ple book, unique­ly sized, well print­ed, and unas­sum­ing. You'd nev­er guess, gaz­ing upon the cheer­ful monarch but­ter­flies grac­ing the cov­er and many of the pages, that this is a trea­sure full of per­son­al depths, moun­tain land­scapes, and trapped moments. Rusty Barnes man­ages to sur­prise even us, and we were already fans.

Much like his short sto­ry col­lec­tion, "Break­ing it Down" (sun­ny­out­side 2007), "Red­neck Poems" offers dis­tinct Appalachi­an themes, as well as pain, sex, a smat­ter­ing of social com­men­tary, and even some big grins. Rusty does a beau­ti­ful­ly lyri­cal job of paint­ing places and peo­ple with crisp real­ism and res­o­nant images." The Leg­endary.

4 Responses to Redneck Poems

  1. Beau­ti­ful poems, red­neck or not these are beau­ti­ful­ly written.

  2. Kerry says:

    Moon­shin­ing red­necks a' fighting,
    That's how we roll here in Texarkana,
    If you don't like that, then you can cer­tain­ly go back to Alabama.

    ( Just a thought!)

  3. ryan says:

    read and write
    kiss and fight
    chevy trucks on fri­day nights
    cruisen through those local spots
    run­ning from those local cops
    moon shin­ing red­necks be fighting
    thats how we roll here in arkansas
    if u dont like that go back to the city

  4. Pingback: Fireside Chat with Rusty Barnes « PLUMB

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