I had never heard of Kelly Cherry until I read an article about her in Nantahala, a journal I just found browsing online. (This looks like a good journal, by the way, focusing on writers/readers in the Appalachian region. The "Fiction" page wasn't working on my computer, but the other links were.)
Apparently, I should read some of Cherry's work because she sounds pretty good--is a fiction writer, poet, and essayist and has won the Pushcart Prize, the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and the PEN/Syndicated Fiction Award. She was born in Louisiana and got her M.F.A. at UNC-Greensboro.
Here's an interview where she talks briefly about being a Southern writer: