John Howell 10/10/14

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 10, 2014

Seay’s visit coincides with article linking Panola, Yocknapatawpha

What a fine coincidence it is that writer Jim Seay’s visit to Panola County Saturday as the literary guest for the recording of Thacker Mountain Radio from Como comes following the publication of his recent essay in the Oxford American, One Corner of Yocknapatawpha.

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The corner of that fictional county that Faulkner created as the setting for much of his writing is Panola County, Seay writes. Seay draws from stories told him by his father and grandfather about the “Big Woods,” the southwestern corner of the county where Faulkner joined other hunters for a rail trip down the Dummy Line to the Stone Hunting Lodge for extended annual expeditions.

Seay also draws from people, places and sources we are familiar with as he links them to the landmarks and events in Faulkner’s fictional county. 

It’s a good read that you can enjoy in print or online in the Oxford American.

In our office is a treasured copy of Seay’s first book of poems, Let Not Your Hart, also filled with Panola themes.

The interim has included a long and distinguished career as a writer and as a teacher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

No doubt looking forward to Seay’s visit this weekend will be his sisters, Jackie Sergi and Donna Magee, plus nieces and nephews (and now grandnieces and grandnephews, I lose count but you can count that anybody with the last name Sergi or Pardoe is connected).

The last public function that brought Seay to Batesville was in 1991 to speak at the dedication of the public library building on Highway 51. He remarked then about what an honor it was for him as a writer to have been asked to return to his hometown to help celebrate the dedication of its library.

And what an honor for us that he will return this weekend for recording Thacker Mountain Radio in Como, joining the throng of talented musicians who call Panola County home.

“It’s a Panola County night,” Como librarian Alice Pierrotti said when she announced the lineup.

A Panola County night indeed.

(Thacker Mountain Radio in Como will begin at 5 p.m. in the Main Street Art Gallery and will be recorded for broadcast on Mississippi Public Radio on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.)