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

Interested in how the climate of the South “coalesces with the lifestyle and culture” of the region, Eric Ruby celebrates “light, color, heat, and haze,” in his project Leanen n’ Dreamen, exploring how these atmospheric elements inform a way of life in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Missouri.

NASA astronaut Ronald McNair is the cover star of the 21st Annual Southern Music Issue & Sampler featuring South Carolina!

A feature short story from the Fall 2019 issue.

The godmother is like an ancestor who never really left. Someone who’s here even when they’re not. The godmother is what happens when somebody asks your name and you suddenly can’t remember. When it’s gorgeous outside and you work up the nerve to be part of something but not enough nerve to brush your hair, that’s the godmother. Maybe you stay up too late and are tempted to give yourself completely to unrequited obsessions. That’s the godmother’s doing, too.

 

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

This is the most Marvin Gaye sentiment ever. There is no such thing as a fun, cheap fling in the Marvin Gaye universe. There is no hedonistic misbehavior of a random sort that doesn’t yield an awful psychic consequence. There is only this: wheels within wheels, complications, betrayals, and toxic jealousies. And then getting back together. He heard it through the grapevine. But since we’re still friends. This is his foreplay.

An excerpt from the collection Step Into the Circle: Writers in Modern Appalachia.

In my family, the women of generations past—and sometimes present—often found themselves without choices or options, hemmed into lives they could not escape. I recognized them in the pages of Lee’s novels, and I was able to better comprehend their experiences. But I also heard whispers in her chapters, invitations to escape and understand, yes, but also to imagine..

A new episode of Points South is now playing!

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Episode Three features Arkansas’s “cemetery angel,” Ruth Coker Burks, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Three Encounters” + a performance by Los Texmaniacs.

For more information visit oxfordamerican.org/pointssouth.

A featured short story from the Fall 2019 issue.

She took a trowel and dug. After a few minutes, Antonia disappeared into the shed and came back with a shovel. She thrust it into the ground and stomped. Deeper and deeper she dug. When she deemed it complete, she lay down, burying herself neatly with dirt. 

 

A Points South essay from the Fall 2019 issue

This approach, of stitching different strands of colored yarn through canvas so many times that the individual strings join in a subtle and collective harmony, leads to an image made of rigorous yet soft details. Nothing is exact but everything is defined. The result is a portrait—Miller’s work is almost exclusively portraits—that from across a room is startlingly realistic and that up close, near the strands, can feel alive and uncomfortably intimate, like being so near someone’s personal affairs that fears and failures are sensed.

In her ongoing project Love Is an Action Word, Liz Moskowitz documents “the transformative experience of equine therapy” among veterans and their families at the Broken Wheel Ranch Project in northeast Texas.

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Below the quilt is a daybed where I would lie as a child when I was sick or restless, or just wanted my mother’s company as she worked. The lower reaches of the menagerie have become as familiar as my hand. The cricket—that cricket. Satin-stitched thorax and abdomen in brown thread on an ivory field, with legs and antennae spronging out in stem stitch. Who asked for the cricket? Was it a child? 

A graphic story from the Fall 2019 issue. 

Like many cities, Little Rock is a place of ghosts. The dead hover and haunt, though their stories often go untold. This story is a work of fiction inspired by some of those ghosts, who lived a tale the city tried to forget—of the mob and cops and gamblers, the good and the bad, and the hazy in-between. The violence they knew was real and ugly, with consequences, not a thing to be celebrated or courted. In those days it was impossible to escape. The story begins with a man named Gideon, back home from World War II . . . 

Poetry from the Fall 2019 issue.

We knew no alchemy we knew, the way it lay,
    stood a chance, all the weight put on us pathe-
  tic, the band we’d be