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

A feature essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

Most people think of human trafficking as involving sex work, but trafficking occurs across a variety of industries, and migrants are as often coerced by threats of lawsuits and debt bondage as they are by physical violence.

 

An essay from the Place Issue

There was a time when I would have given anything for this quiet space to reflect. As it is, I’m tired of thinking about God, and maybe the reason I can’t figure out how to talk to anyone here is because I don’t want to. What I want is to be at the Led Zeppelin tribute concert with my family. I want noise and color and sweaty human bodies crammed together. Maybe the embodiment I crave is something I’ve had all along and I simply haven’t been paying attention. 

An essay from the Place Issue

At her restaurant, Mosquito Supper Club, and in her cookbook of the same name, Melissa Martin sets out to record the foods and recipes that cannot be found on New Orleans’s restaurant menus or at a Popeyes drive-thru (shrimp boulettes, thistle salad, muscadine compote) and those that have become so synonymous with Louisiana cooking (crawfish étouffée, seven kinds of gumbo, oyster soup) that their points of origin bear reminding.

A featured short story from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

We thought it was the hysterics, him saying over and over again that he couldn’t see, he couldn’t see. Momma was there and rocked over him and prayed the best she could, even though she knew why Reggie was going down to Savannah in the first place. To do those sweet things. I know that Momma would never say it, but she felt like it happened because of his sin. 

 

A poem from the Place Issue

Two hundred thousand miles away / in this ashen desolate terrain / you could almost forget our gun-smoked globe, / the wars raging like wildfire back home. 

An essay from the Place Issue

I visit Mileston more than I do my parents’ graves; it is here in the Delta that I can again imagine them as vibrant people, a way of dimming the memory of the pain of watching their decline into illness and old age.

A Points South essay from the Place Issue

When I learned of El Refugio, I made a pledge to visit one day. Five years later, I made good on it. I thought of the stories inside of Stewart like a sorrowful pile, mostly forgotten or never thought about in the first place by anyone on the outside. But each story deserved to be singled out and held up to the light and examined. Each became a galaxy upon inspection.

An essay from the Place Issue

When the locals are asked about the island’s history, they talk of pirates and Victorian-era seaside resorts, of fish, oaks, and oleander trees, and of storms and disappearing land. They never talk about surfers.

An essay from the Place Issue

The quest was half-ironic, but I was hoping at the same time to feel something I couldn’t make fun of. If a revelation from the Earth manifested inside my body, well, that would mean some of that light was in me, too. 

An essay from the Place Issue

This congregation is the only one in eastern Alabama and was born out of a potluck dinner for Rosh Hashanah in the early ’80s when a local couple invited four friends over, telling them to extend the invitation to everyone they knew. Eighty people showed up, all surprised at the number of other members of the tribe around them; many had assumed they were one of the only Jewish families around.

An Omnivore essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

Johns has said that, even as a child, he wanted to be an artist—only he didn’t know what an artist was. “In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art so I didn’t really know what that meant,” he said. “I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different from the one that I was in.”

 

An essay from the Place Issue

My dad wanted his death, like his life, to be a work of art—a tomb he designed and filled with ceramics—and one that would allow him to define death on his own terms. My mom, for her part, said, “I never planned to put anything in the tomb, but heck, who knows.”