If an admiring reviewer’s main purpose is to inspire his reader to run out and buy the book he praises, Professor Randall Ivey has done that for me with his review of Louisiana Poets: A Literary Guide (“Chansons by the Bayou,” December 2019). Drs. Brosman and Pass could not have asked for a more justly sympathetic or skillfully detailed description of what must be a delightful introduction to the Pelican State’s best poets. I cannot wait to read it.

If Professor Ivey will bear with me for a moment, however, I feel compelled to provide a little geography lesson: Lake Charles, Houma, and Thibodaux are not parishes but cities. Lake Charles is the seat of Calcasieu Parish, Houma is the seat of Terrebonne Parish, and Thibodaux is the seat of Lafourche Parish. Lafayette is indeed the name of a civil parish, but surely the authors intended primarily to write not of the parish, but of its eponymous metropolis and parish seat, the unofficial capital of Acadiana. And, yes, it is “Acadiana” not “Arcadiana,” though the halcyon and childlike Arcadian joy of the region cannot be denied. Etiam Homer nutavit.

Two of the writers Ivey mentions, the celebrated Walker Percy and the forgotten John William Corrington, enjoyed a connection unknown perhaps even to some avid students of Louisiana literature: both cultivated a friendship with the monks of St. Joseph Abbey outside of Covington, Louisiana, where Percy frequently attended the monastic services and later came to be buried in the abbey cemetery, and where Corrington taught English at my alma mater, St. Joseph Seminary, for a short time in the 1960s. One day Corrington burst into the faculty lounge to announce a newfound enthusiasm for Origen’s theory of the apokatastasis, at which, supposedly, everyone without exception—even Satan—will finally receive the divine forgiveness and eternal salvation. Fr. Marian Larmann O.S.B., one of our philosophy professors, pointed out that it was uncharacteristic for Corrington, a sworn foe of the New South’s love affair with industrialism, to enslave God Himself to the 100-percent-efficiency creed of the Yankee capitalist!

—Fr. Steven Allen
St. Irene Orthodox Church
Rochester Hills, Mich.

Prof. Ivey replies:

Father Allen humbles me with his reaction to my review. I thank him for his kindness and bow with shame and humility to his corrections. Haste turned “Acadian” into “Arcadian,” when I should have known better. As for the designation of parishes, I plead total ignorance, having grown up and lived all my life in a state where we have counties, not parishes. With all these inefficiencies on my part, it is still good to know that the review compelled at least one reader to purchase this very fine book.