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.

This is how so many black families lose their land. One person wants to sell and starts an action that can force a sale. And if a developer wants the land, he or she can buy a small interest in the property from an heir and through a series of legal maneuvers, force the sale of the whole lot. 

 

A poem from the Place Issue

Friend, what else is there to do / but learn to use the word undulating in a sentence

A featured conversation from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

“The pandemic in the United States opened up the truth of what that nation is about. Like a volcano, truth just came pouring out. Just layers and layers and layers. I keep hearing this stuff about, well, in America, we’re exceptional. Are you kidding? I never thought that, never felt that, never even considered it. American exceptionalism? Please.”

 

An essay from the Place Issue

As a music writer and amateur New Orleans obsessive, I’ve known of Buddy Bolden for years—known what there is to know, that is, about a musician who left no recordings. The shotgun on First Street was deemed a New Orleans Historic Landmark in 1978, but the last ten years for this house, his longest and final residence, have been a saga of demolition by neglect, the City Council’s term when levying fines. 

A Points South essay from the Place Issue

Being a restaurant’s regular, whatever that looks like to you, even in the midst of a pandemic, is still a beautiful thing. Even if that dedication means never actually stepping foot in the establishment at all, let alone eating a meal there.

An essay from the Place Issue

Much has changed in Stone Mountain since that piece was published in 1999, and much has not. The Confederate heroes still perch proudly on the mountainside, defacing the granite, mocking its full potential for glory. And yet the city surrounding the mountain keeps getting blacker and browner, fueled by a surge of immigrants from such countries as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Somalia, and Burma.

by Peter MacKeith, Dean and Professor of Architecture
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, University of Arkansas

An essay from the Place Issue

Today, I venture proudly and safely into the straight world outside the confines of bars and clubs once designated specifically as “gay” spaces. I can be free. This wouldn’t have been the case a generation ago. Within my lifetime, queer behavior has put people in jail, in exile, and in danger. For many who faced their truth in the decade before Stonewall, often the only safe choice was to leave the small towns where they were shamed and muted and to run away to cities—though even in Atlanta, a town with well over a half million people in 1960, the year Frank arrived, gay bars were dangerous and illicit places. 

A Points South essay from the Place Issue

As of today’s journey, our family has been in quarantine for more than a hundred days. Summer camp plans have fallen by the wayside, much like those color-coded home-school schedules parents passed around at the top of the pandemic. In their place are daily, valiant, sometimes pitiful, efforts to educate our kid, get our work done, love each other, and stay alive. The shelter-in-place sameness was beginning to feel a little like Groundhog Day—that is until late winter, early spring when death came in threes. 

A Points South essay from the Place Issue

Stop ignoring your body while you have one, you tell yourself. Stop succumbing to despairing visions of genocide. Pause the video of George Floyd’s strangled voice calling out for his mother, begging for air. Take the air left in your chest, run. In the midst of a disease that continues snatching Black breath, run.

An essay from the Place Issue

He seemed to be governed by boomerang physics, propelling ahead of me and quickly beyond my line of vision—out to the edge of the flickering earth, to sniff the horizon (scent-trails of coyotes, perhaps, his kin, holding the boundaries of the house of the sun), out to the edge of the tame, to lick at the nameless wild with his mottled tongue. Then, a faraway dot, and another dot beside it, growing larger, two dogs racing toward me, mine in the lead, full-tilt ahead with a spreading toothy grin that split his face, hyena-like, the other dog trailing him, the slap of their paws on the soggy ground, happy. 

 A Letter from the Editor, Place Issue.

A tiresome stereotype about the American South is that this place is a monolith. Growing up in Arkansas, with the two sides of my family living in different regions of the state, I learned instinctually how wrong that view is.