A poem from our spring 2015 issue. It’s Derby Day. And it’s been 30 years since 1984 when I stood in the grandstand at Churchill Downs after betting my last $20 on Swale that horse I groomed and watched as… by Michael Klein | Apr, 2015

My scream moves through a body that has been in working order for more than thirty-four years. It is a five-foot-six-and-one-half-inch female body, around 140 pounds, and its bone structure appears larger than those of most women I see in… by Elena Passarello | Apr, 2016

Parts of the nation would succumb to despair as entrenched racial prejudice was mined to soothe the emotional needs of isolated, angry people. But those willing to resist the chatter, sit in silence, and sink into the pain found spiritual… by Michelle García | Apr, 2017

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.  One of the paradoxes of George Ellis’s career, in hindsight, is that alongside his run of cheap exploitation films, he maintained a parallel career as Atlanta’s first great arthouse film… by Will Stephenson | Apr, 2017

My mother was an instinctive cook. Words and directions did not hold much for her. She was a keen observer. She learned to cook from watching her aunts; her grandmother, Maw; her own mother. She loved recipes. Clipped them from the… by Ronni Lundy | Aug, 2016

The By and By

The By and By

Weekly dispatches on OxfordAmerican.org

The Oxford American is a creature of print, a magazine to sit down with, flip through, read forward and back, pitch across the table to a friend, take along, set upon the shelf. We publish quarterly, we like to say, to give readers just enough time to digest each issue before the next one appears. But three months is a while, and, always, more stories want to be told than will fit into four issues—really good ones, too. Stories bind us together; they are the way communities have found their form for centuries. And in the South, they are the way neighbors have loved and laughed and forgiven each other, each night, on that open air stoop.

A weekly online series, The By and By will feature essays by some of the South’s most gifted and promising talents. Tift Merritt, Sandra Gutierrez, Matthew Neill Null, Will Stephenson, and Ronni Lundy will regularly publish dispatches covering cultural beats from unique Southern perspectives. The By and By will also inaugurate an exciting new editorial partnership between Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies and the Oxford American

Grammy-nominated Americana musician Tift Merritt will share the road life of a musician who is also a first-time mother; Smithsonian-honored food writer Sandra Gutierrez will cover the Nuevo-South food scene; Matthew Neill Null, a West Virginia fiction writer and recipient of the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, will send “Redneck Letters from Rome”; regular OA contributor and Georgia-native Will Stephenson will offer an archaeology of the South’s odd sounds; and Ronni Lundy, a James Beard Award-nominated food writer and expert on Appalachian cuisine, will deliver twenty-first century traditions with a feminist edge.

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) will showcase work by its faculty, students, and affiliated artists, such as: Timothy B. Tyson’s writings about and from his book The Blood of Emmett Till; photos from Theater of War by Christopher Sims; sounds from CDS’s Scene on Radio podcast produced by John Biewen; videos by emerging filmmakers; writing, photography, and graphic nonfiction by CDS award-winners like Abbie Gascho Landis, Lauren Pond, and Steven Cozart; and a presentation by C. D. Wright as part of CDS’s twenty-fifth anniversary events, shortly before the Arkansas native poet’s passing. Created in 1989 through an endowment from the Lyndhurst Foundation, the CDS is dedicated to capturing the reality of people’s diverse experiences in our complex culture. 

In 2017, The By and By will publish on Thursdays from early April through the end of December.

— The Editors 

Image: Trustees’ House Stair. Shaker Village, Kentucky. © Guy Mendes


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

One of the paradoxes of George Ellis’s career, in hindsight, is that alongside his run of cheap exploitation films, he maintained a parallel career as Atlanta’s first great arthouse film exhibitor. It adds a layer of complexity to his work, to know that his own taste was impeccable—he understood the full range of cinematic possibilities and would have seen exactly where his films fit into that spectrum. Around the time Demented Death Farm Massacre was hitting theaters, Ellis was introducing Atlanta to the French New Wave and the New German Cinema, hosting retrospectives of Chaplin and Bergman.

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

From the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University: To introduce our first story for The By and By, a writing-and-audio narrative around the new book The Blood of Emmett Till, we asked its author, Timothy B. Tyson, to reflect on the overwhelming response to the book since its release, why the story of Emmett Till continues to resonate so profoundly.

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

In the West Virginia of long ago, when it was a place with work that lured people, rather than spitting them out into the world, the Calabrians came to mine the coal, the Sicilians to lay the rails, the Abruzzese to chisel lovely stonework on the railroad tunnels and passes—you can still find that abandoned work in places, overgrown in ivy and filth, the names of its artisans lost to history.