Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 2) >> 10th Simms Symposium — ''Simms the Poet'' >> Page 33

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Page 33

Reviews/Essays | 2008
Transcription status of Simms in Japan. Dr. Nakamura is the first scholar to translate Simms into
Japanese. He chose Simms's best-known novel, The Yemassee, for that honor.

"The next day I listened to twelve papers on Simms read by scholars from Indiana State
University (Dr. Matthew Brennan), the University of South Carolina (Nicholas Meriwether,
reading a paper by his late father, Dr. James B. Meriwether), the University of Georgia (Dr.
Carl Rapp, Matt Elder, and Dr. James E. Kibler, Jr.), Southwest Oklahoma State University
(Corey Mingura and Dr. Kevin Collins), Rostock University in Germany (Doreen Thierauf),
College of William and Mary (John Miller), College of Charleston (Dr. David Aiken),
Midlands Tech in Columbia (Dr. Paul C. Graham), and North Georgia College (Dr. David W.

"During breaks I met Beverley Simms, a professional pianist, wife of Dr. Brennan, and
great-granddaughter of Simms himself. Beverley, a beautiful lady, studied in Alabama at
Montevallo. For nine years of her childhood she lived in the old St. John Hotel on Meeting
Street, the main drive in Charleston. Her father managed the St. John before it was replaced
by the new Mills Hotel, a replica of the old Mills Hotel on Meeting Street.

"I also met. Bill Cawthon, whose great-great-great uncle was none other than a former
resident of Andalusia, S.I.S. Cawthon, `Uncle Simon;' buried in our Magnolia Cemetery
behind the courthouse. Bill and I discovered, too, that we were both born in St. Margaret's
Hospital in Montgomery. Bill told me that he has bought an old family plantation at Eufaula
and that Dothan was once named Cawthon's Cowpens.

"Lunch and a buffet supper were provided. Supper included a fine shrimps-grits casserole.

"Mint juleps were also served (no, I did not).

"Two new poems on Simms, written for the occasion, were read.

"After supper Miss Deborah Brinson, 22 and home-schooled, a singer-harpist with curls as
soft as silk, dressed in ante-bellum garb, sang for us. Her music on the celtic (folk) harp was
as pretty as she was, a mere slip of a girl, light as a feather, with a voice like a crystal
pendant in the candlelight. She sang a dozen songs for us, including a lovely version of
`Dixie.' At `Dixie' we stood respectfully. Then we sang along the second time. Three of her
songs were set to lyrics by Simms. One set of lyrics had been written by Dr. Kibler. A third
was composed entirely by Deborah herself. From North Carolina, Deborah arranges nearly
all the music she performs, and teaches voice, harp, and piano. One song by Simms that
Deborah played had not been heard in a hundred years.

"That evening at the concert I met Val Green, the great-great-grandson of Williams.
Yancey, the famous Alabama orator and secessionist.L.
"It was while I was in Athens that Hurricane Ike, as big as the Gulf of Mexico, hit Texas and
that I paid over four dollars a gallon for gasoline for the first time in my life.
"The last morning of the `Simms-posium' Dr. Sean Busick of Athens State University served
as moderator as scholars reported on Simms publications and scholarship since 2006.