Marking a Savannah Milestone
Editors at Time Magazine in July 2021 reached the same conclusion as editors of the Literary Savannah travel anthology in 1998. They decided the city of Savannah, Georgia (USA) was one of the “world’s greatest places” and listed it alongside such frequently-visited locales as: Cannes, France; Seattle, Washington; Arouca, Portugal; KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Nuuk, Greenland; and North Goa, India.
Among the distinctions noted by Time Magazine for placing Savannah on its list of “100 extraordinary destinations to explore” was its impressive revitalized riverfront. Hill Street Press, 24 years ago as of 2022, included the city on its roster of “Travel Literature” titles following the phenomenal success of author John Berendt’s “nonfiction novel,” Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Surviving to Tell Our Stories
With my poem “Return to Savannah” concluding the volume, I was one of eight living writers (out of thirty-seven total and not counting editor Patrick Allen) included in the Literary Savannah travel anthology published by Hill Street Press in 1998 (and by Trinity University Press in 2011). Of the other authors living at the time, James Alan McPherson and I were the only ones actually born in the city. (Long-time resident, and Savannah State University professor, Ja A. Jahannes, 1942-2015, was a native of Baltimore, Maryland).
As of this writing, I am one of four of the anthology’s remaining living authors and the only native. The others are John Berendt, Rosemary Daniell, and Ben Greer. Publication of the compilation is something I celebrated in Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah, and, an event I commemorate now because too many noteworthy literary voices become targets of historical erasure prompted by commercial indifference or literary genocide.
A Cultural Arts Milestone
The publication of Literary Savannah represented a major cultural arts milestone because it was the first to showcase a comprehensive diverse selection of living and historic authors associated with the city. As writer Lynn Hamilton put it:
“…What will attract buyers to Literary Savannah will probably be the rich collection of stories and bon mots by the cream of Savannah’s local and living (kicking and screaming) literati. The wry, slightly wicked, Tom Coffey is not omitted from these pages... poet and story teller Aberjhani is a presence with his contribution… Though there’s little subversion present in the pages of Literary Savannah, Ja A. Jahannes does provide a surprisingly pointed comment on the exploitation and subsequent historical revisionism of the Yamacraw Indians which is not just good protest, but also beautiful and powerful poetry.” (Savannah Creative Loafing, Vol 5, No. 40, Dec 29, 1998)
Just like the city itself, now 24 years after the book was first published, Literary Savannah continues to demonstrate why so many still find America’s 13th colony such an exciting and intriguing travel destination.
Contemporary award-winning American author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.