August 25, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue

At almost sixty miles in length, the Chattooga is one of the longest and last free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States, and mile for mile, it covers a steeper vertical drop than the Colorado River. Yet growing up in nearby Walhalla, South Carolina, Mark admitted he barely knew it was here. Few did until the film version of Deliverance landed in 1972 like a psychic explosion within the collective consciousness of this country.

August 25, 2020

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.

August 21, 2020

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. 

August 25, 2020

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. 

August 25, 2020

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.

August 21, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue

Hursley has a visual appetite for the broad sweep of landscapes and architecture. He doesn’t necessarily re-envision the commonplace in order to invite us to see it again, but instead directs us to see the effect of forces beyond our own ambitions—forces like time or perspective or serendipity—on objects we believe under our measly control. Hursley peeks inside structures so mundane from the exterior, so commonplace in Arkansas towns like Helena, Wilson, Brinkley, and Lake Village, that most folks familiar with the region would barely take note of them.

August 25, 2020

A photo essay from the Place Issue. 

In his trips to Arkansas Delta towns like Helena and Wilson from his home in Little Rock, Timothy Hursley, one of the world’s most prominent photographers of architecture, became fascinated with the structures known as Muskogee houses, huge storehouses of cotton seed that fill and empty with the farming cycles of the crop.

August 25, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue

I don’t know about this stuff. I’m not a car guy. But it seems I’ve always been aware of Yello Belly Drag Strip as a place an only child of somewhat fearful disposition would not ever want to go. I’m pretty sure, however, (odd to be uncertain, but one wishes things, one tends to make things up) I went there once when a business associate of my father’s came to town in his brand-new ’59 Impala (you don’t have to be mechanical to know that was the very best year for fins—in this case arcing, horizontal; almost practical, anticipating flight) and wanted to race it. Or, more likely, simply time it down the track.

August 25, 2020

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. 

August 25, 2020

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.

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