Letter to the Editor & From The Black Notebook

Byron Herbert Reece (1917–1958) was the author of four books of poetry and two novels. During his short career he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Bow Down in Jericho (1950), earned two Guggenheim Fellowships, and served as writer-in-residence at the University of California at Los Angeles, Emory University in Atlanta, and Young Harris College in Towns County, Georgia. Despite being praised by Atlanta Constitution editor and fellow Georgia Writers Hall of Fame honoree Ralph McGill as “one of the really great poets of our time, and one to stand with those of any other time,” Reece never achieved wide recognition. Born near Blood Mountain, Reece often found his studies and writing efforts interrupted by his responsibilities on the family farm and to his parents—both of whom suffered from tuberculosis, a disease he eventually contracted himself. Worn down by depression and illness, Reece took his own life on the campus of Young Harris College in 1958. (Inducted in 2001)