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  • Writer's pictureThe Magnolia Literacy Project

LaWanda Dickens “Country”

In the poem, "Country", LaWanda Dickens recounts a childhood rich with love, family, nature, and freedom.

An educator, writer, and former journalist, Dickens has 28-years of experience teaching in higher education. A Brookhaven, Mississippi native, she is a graduate of Jackson State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism and a Master of Arts in English. She also attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where she studied Composition and Rhetoric.

Dickens' research interests include Hip Hop studies; service-learning in college composition courses; and students' transfer of classroom knowledge to campus and community leadership.


I am a Southern girl, Mississippi, born and raised.

Real Country.

I’m that kind of Country …

Where driving directions are as simple as:

Go right on the black-top road at the church sign,

Then turn by the pine trees growing at the top of the hill.

Where the land I lived on is sacred,

Where my Paw Paw's momma,

My great grandmomma, Mo Venie, was raised,

And where my Mo Mo Ida became the Queen of everything.

Where our food lived on our land in coops, pens, and pastures,

And grew from anointed soil in gardens and fields,

Rows of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peanuts, corn,

Watermelons, potatoes, peas, and beans,

And it was fresh, natural, and abundant.

Where sweet, wild plums, blueberries, figs, pecans,

Honeysuckle, dogwood, and magnolias,

Grew freely on the family’s land,

And we ate Momma’s homemade preserves and pies,

And I gave her and Mo Mo pretty fresh flowers, often, for free.

Where the “street light” rule did not apply,

No such restrictions for my brothers and me,

And our cousins next door,

In our world, wide-open land and space,

Ours, courtesy of Mo Venie.

I’m that kind of Country …

Where the home I grew up in sits at the termination of a dead end road,

Where my dreams began,

Where my dreams were nurtured,

Where my dreams blossomed.

That’s the kind of Country I am.


The Magnolia Literacy Project’s

initiative to showcase the writing and art

of Mississippians.

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