The south is home to many great artists– from musicians to film stars to writers. Birmingham native, Matt Layne is no exception. Layne recently published Miracle Strip, a collection of poems set in the Wiregrass region of south Alabama and the Gulf Coast area.
Hybrid of written and spoken word
Each piece of Layne’s collection includes an embellished QR code, which allows you to both read and listen to music along with the poems. Musician Ned Mudd, collaborated with Layne to create music for many of the pieces, as well as a few soundscapes by Layne.
You find the digital album online at mattlaynepoetry.com.
Miracle Strip preserves the campfire tradition of storytelling, with its first line inviting the reader “to tell me your story, and I will tell you mine.” Together, you and the poet explore the complicated landscapes of the deep south and call upon the ghosts who haunt it.
“[Miracle Strip is a] lusty collection of poems rooted in the physical and emotional topography of the south.”–Kirkus Review on Miracle Strip
Miracle Strip Amusement Park
Here is an excerpt from “Miracle Strip.” The poem references the old Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City Beach, FL and is the piece for which the collection is named.
“Three teenagers stand in the bed of a Ford
cruising slow as a shark in warm water
down the strip of Panama City Beach.
Backs, red as the flag scrawled across their hood.
Whistles and whoops as they roll through
a school of girls outside Alvin’s Island.
Pink mopeds flash in and out of the slow current
of cars and trucks. Horns honk and Skynrd blares.
The air is heavy with humidity and salt and curious desire.
The moon floats in the violaceous sky, a pale yellow dot
against the blaze of the Vomatron’s lights.”–Matt Layne, Miracle Strip
More about the author
In addition to being a librarian at O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook, AL, Matt Layne is a poet who’s been performing and teaching for over three decades. In the 1990s he helped found the poetry collective, The Kevorkian Skull Poets. Miracle Strip is his latest publication.
Layne will be at Thank You Books on Wednesday, September 6 for a book reading.
Get updates like this delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for Bham Now’s free newsletter today.