Originally published in our Tennessee Music Issue  There is a remarkable story tucked halfway through Bessie, Chris Albertson’s biography of the blues singer Bessie Smith, in which Smith approaches a circle of robed North Carolina Klansmen, places one hand on her hip,… by Amanda Petrusich | Nov, 2020

Playlists curated by your favorite musicians and writers. by Brittany Howard, Kiese Laymon, Rosanne Cash, Kelsey Waldon, & others | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Music Issue’s Icons Section Beyond my eye, beyond the death and decay of matters left behind and unsettled, the music ringing up above my head told a thousand stories of bounty and belonging, and it glimmered… by Danielle A. Jackson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our 2007 Music Issue  In a remarkable 1963 appearance with Juilliard professor and friend, Hall Overton, at the New School in New York, Monk demonstrated his technique of “bending” or “curving” notes on the piano, the most… by Sam Stephenson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our North Carolina Music Issue.  I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where… by Tiana Clark | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue The first songs that I listened to by Talibah Safiya had this soft, sweet, plaintive quality. There is something else underneath if you listen a bit closer: a little loneliness. The knowledge… by Jamey Hatley | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Food Issue. Quiet as it is kept, and widely as it has become forgotten, those who do the cooking and the farming know that those who only eat what is cooked for them and served… by Alice Randall | Mar, 2021

June 11, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

My mother turns off the kitchen light
before looking out the window
September 24, 2014

A poem from the summer 2014 issue.

Peace on this planet
Or guns glowing hot,
We lay there together
As if we were getting
Something done. It
Felt like planting
A garden or planning
A meal for a people
Who still need feeding,

May 29, 2015

A poem from our spring 2015 issue, read by the author.

Days of kalmia, azalea, Blue Ridge. Nights
of steak on the grill, canvas chairs with cupholders,

cans of Stag and Blatz, Schlitz we lift from ice.
The fork in the firepit, stainless steel gone ember orange.

June 11, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

Two decades later, I read they named themselves
for Emmett Till. 
The idea of the name was basically that 
a 14-year-old boy should be swimming in the river, 
not dying in it.
But they spelled his name wrong. 
November 20, 2018

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. 

I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where she started, imagining her daddy playing jazz standards on the piano, her mama cooking something good and greasy in the cramped kitchen with siblings zooming around. I envisioned myself, like Alice Walker looking for Zora Neale Hurston’s unmarked grave, shouting Nina in the derelict home, hoping somehow she would appear, gloriously phantasmagoric, and answer all of my incessant probing questions.

September 22, 2014

A poem from the summer 2014 issue.

Something is burning in the Iowa hills.
As we move down the pewter river,
color of our ashen skin, we see smoke,

April 14, 2016

A poem from our Spring 2016 issue. 

Home, I follow the roads passing the fruit orchards and the roaring white sheds of honey. The / clouds—always inclined to thunder. The rain travels west from the mountains.

May 15, 2017

The introduction to a previously unpublished poem by Margaret Walker. 

Nearly twenty years after her death and seventy-five years after the publication of For My People, this magazine sent me a previously unpublished poem of Walker’s. The poem, “An Elegiac Valedictory,” is a work that remembers, with comic clarity, the words, food, time, and space she shared with the likes of Toni Cade Bambara, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Audre Lorde.

May 24, 2019

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

Fieldstones covered with velvet in emerald mark the heads of graves

a deeper depression in the ground means there was a casket that deteriorated causing the 
earth to cave in

shallower dents in the earth mean only linen shrouds wrapped the bodies

March 23, 2015

A poem from “Breaking Bread, a special section in the Spring 2015 issue on the dynamics of hospitality, exclusion, and food justice.

Look like last night
the light hardly wanted

to leave—it hung
round in the pines