I grew up in Lincoln County, Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism. I began my career as a scriptwriter, moved into magazine work, then wandered into the book world. My work has appeared in magazines throughout the South. Among my recent books are Classic Carolina Road Trips From Columbia, Georgialina, A Southland, As We Knew It, and Reflections of South Carolina, Vol. II. Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Official Folk Life Drama, staged my play, Solid Ground, which pleases me as I am from Georgia but live in South Carolina. In April 2018 the History Press published my book, South Carolina Country Roads.
Wayne Ford of the Athens Banner Herald wrote, “Tom Poland is an inquisitive man who keeps an eye out for extravagant chunks of nature, disappearing cultures, and people who are salt of the earth. He has ridden those so-called back roads for years chewing foods, sipping drinks, absorbing stories and documenting his finds. Change is what Poland touches upon frequently.”
Yep, change is my subject matter. I write a weekly column for newspapers and journals in Georgia and South Carolina about the South, its people, traditions, lifestyle, and changing culture and speak to groups across South Carolina and Georgia. I’m the editor of Shrimp, Collards & Grits, a Lowcountry lifestyle magazine.
I write about “Georgialina”—my name for eastern Georgia and South Carolina. I prefer forgotten backroads and places where the pace crawls, where old mansions crumble, and orchards go untended. It’s there that I find inspiration and there that I uncover tales and ways that belong to the past. You’ll find memories, special places, and unforgettable characters in my work. I think of myself as a blue-collar historian. Maybe you will too.
Order Of The Palmetto—The highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. It recognizes a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina and her people.
Member of Authors Round the South
Board of Directors, The MACK
SC Humanities Speakers Bureau
SC ETV Advisory Council
I don’t understand how a writer can get writer’s block, so called. My problem is having too much and not being able to get it all down. —James Dickey
Because I was born in the South, I’m a Southerner. If I had been born in the North, the West, or the Central Plains, I would be just a human being. —Clyde Edgerton
You speak for the Carolina that is sorely neglected–the down-trodden, the forgotten, the ignored, but hard-working, interdependent heart of our state. —Reg Brashington, Columbia, SC
This morning I re-read Tom Poland’s story in the December, 2018, issue (Georgia Back Roads) about his grandfather, and wanted to shout with joy. Wonderfully written. He’s writer I’d love to meet. —Terry Kay, Georgia Author of To Dance with the White Dog
I almost cried for what we have lost, I cannot tell you how much it meant to me, for you to take me back with you. —Brenda Bancroft, North Augusta, SC
I just discovered your stories online. I really enjoy your writing. I plan to read them like my Mama read the Bible—a little at a time so that I can savor them. —Bill Hatch of Carolina Moon Distillery, Edgefield SC
Author and “blue-collar historian” Tom Poland documents the disappearing rural and folk traditions of South Carolina and eastern Georgia with a voice somewhere between newspaper columnist and general store front porch raconteur. — Kyle Petersen
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self. —Ernest Hemingway
Reader on “Moonshine Memories. ” This was one of the most touching stories I have ever read. It touched me in so many different ways that I lost count. I learned about your writing this year and am looking forward to reading all of it. God bless you for your work and what it means to people. I plan to attend the Southern Studies Showcase and hope to see you there.—Kathy Orr
There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real. —James Salter
No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place. ―Babel
The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement—if you can’t deal with this you needn’t apply. —Will Self in The Guardian
Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real. —Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
I don’t know why I started writing. I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else. ― Cormac McCarthy
In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused. —Ernest Hemingway
Writing is a kind of smoke, seized and put on paper. —James Salter
To be a writer is to be sentenced to correcting. —James Salter
It’s dangerous not to let things age, and if something is really good, you should put it away for a month. —James Salter
If you’re a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older he gets, the better he writes. —Mickey Spillane
All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time. —Ernest Hemingway
Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. —Ernest Hemingway
I never wanted to be well rounded, and I do not admire well-rounded people nor their work. So far as I can see, nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people. The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design. —Harry Crews