We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Rent from DeepDyve Rent from DeepDyve

The Banjo

From: Southern Cultures
Volume 19, Number 1, Spring 2013
p. 111 | 10.1353/scu.2013.0000

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Plunking the rusty washtub bass
was simple, tautening or relaxing its rope
so that a few thumping notes
rose or fell at the floor of a bluegrass tune.
And it wasn't that hard to squeeze
some buzzing chords from the budget guitar

when the rehearsers took a break
to step outside the basement for some cokes.
But cousin Marc was the only one
stubborn and patient enough to teach himself
to play, fiercely as Scruggs, the banjo:
he'd stand perfectly still, head tilted forward,

watching his big pale hands flashing
as if they weren't part of his body anymore,
the right one with slipped-on picks
speedily crawling among the twanging strings
stretched over the full-moon belly,
the left one racing along sharp steel wires

up and down that skinny neck
until his finger pads started bleeding again,
fresh calluses splitting as he played
"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" one more time,
my cousin only wincing slightly as
the music scarred and healed his flying touch.

Michael McFee  

Michael McFee teaches poetry writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has published ten collections of poetry (most recently That Was Oasis), a collection of essays (The Napkin Manuscripts), and three anthologies, including The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat: Poems by Fifteen Contemporary North Carolina Poets.


From That Was Oasis, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 Center for the Study of the American South
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Michael McFee. "The Banjo." Southern Cultures 19.1 (2013): 111-111. Project MUSE. Web. 8 Jan. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
McFee, M.(2013). The Banjo. Southern Cultures 19(1), 111. The University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved January 8, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Michael McFee. "The Banjo." Southern Cultures 19, no. 1 (2013): 111-111. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 8, 2014).
T1 - The Banjo
A1 - Michael McFee
JF - Southern Cultures
VL - 19
IS - 1
SP - 111
EP - 111
PY - 2013
PB - The University of North Carolina Press
SN - 1534-1488
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_cultures/v019/19.1.mcfee.html
N1 - Volume 19, Number 1, Spring 2013
ER -


You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.

Research Areas


  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access