Take Sturgill Simpson. Sturgill (can I call you Sturgill?) is a Kentucky rascal, born in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. Jackson—population around twenty-one hundred. He comes from a family of coal miners. He was in the Navy. He worked… by Leesa Cross-Smith | Nov, 2017

An interview with Les McCann from the Kentucky Music Issue.  All through high school the band teacher and I were very good friends. He received tickets to all the bands and brought me to concerts. I was in perfect heaven. I never… by Harmony Holiday | Nov, 2017

In 1966, Loretta Lynn was anything but little. She had already released eight solo studio albums. Just one year later she would be the first woman in country music to achieve a certified gold album for Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’… by Marianne Worthington | Nov, 2017

Bounding from one circle of attendees to another, dispensing heartfelt hugs and introducing himself and his Danish boyfriend to newcomers with the comportment of a Southern gentleman, was my friend Brandon Godman, a bearded, bearish hipster type whose jolly, grandfatherly… by Jewly Hight | Nov, 2017

Three poems from our Kentucky Music Issue.  Until the nameless traveler learns in terror His lidless eyes are open targets— Where sudden night flings in her quiet spear.    by Thomas Merton | Nov, 2017

A few seconds in, there came this sound. It filled the song and then it filled the room I was listening in. What was that? Like a fiercely shaken box of tacks. Like wind rattling dry leaves on a tree.… by John Jeremiah Sullivan | Nov, 2017

We celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary year by doing what we’ve always done: publish the groundbreaking fiction—three excerpts from Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award–winning novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing—essays, nonfiction, and poetry our readers have come to expect. Revisit or catch up on… by Oxford American | Dec, 2017

It was 1995, the year Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” was released, the end of my eighth-grade year, in rural Kentucky where homophobia was—and continues to be—rampant. My secret boyfriend and I—the one I had kissed in darkened classrooms after… by Jason Howard | Nov, 2017

The Old Regular Baptists and the joyful sound. The Old Regulars sing loud. “You can’t whisper it, it needs to have zip,” one told me. Another: “If you can’t shout down here, what are you gonna do when you get to… by David Ramsey | Nov, 2017

Notes on the songs from our 19th Southern Music Issue CD featuring Kentucky. This faculty, to be attuned to one’s surroundings and the ways in which they’re unique, to be rooted in the local, to be of a certain place—no matter if… by Oxford American | Nov, 2017

In Alabama, some black farmers maintain a collective strength.

The writer makes four points about the singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt: “He was a person who had lost the use of his legs, the enjoyment of his own body, and the first line of the first song from his first record is, “I dreamed I was a’ dancin’,” and he was so good, you don’t notice.”

"Other People, the most recent album by the breakthrough Little Rock band American Princes, suggests another possibility. What if it’s not rock that’s repeating itself, but history? One of the oddities about growing up in the Nineties was hearing how awful the Eighties were—two recessions, the victory of movement conservatism, the threat of thermonuclear war—and fearing that we pampered post–Cold War children would never escape a diminished, if happier, age."

The story of True Soul, an independent record label from Little Rock, Arkansas, and its founder, Lee Anthony: "From the outset, True Soul had been an experiment. Rather than standing by while local talent fled to the nearby city of Memphis, the hotbed of Southern soul, Lee Anthony decided to start his own label in Little Rock, the capital of his home state, to tap into the city’s rich offerings of gospel, soul, and funk and put Little Rock’s long-overlooked music scene on the map."

"Blessed with a helplessly big voice, Kenni Huskey began performing at age seven on the Memphis program Country Shindig in 1962, singing with local country and rockabilly stalwart Eddie Bond. For her first taping, she was too tiny to reach the microphone, and Eddie stacked two wooden Coca-Cola crates so her little face could reach it."

In 2009, the OA asked 134 judges what they considered to be the best Southern books of all time. They came up with a list for fiction and nonfiction, choosing from more than five hundred titles. This is the underdogs list, the books that didn't make the cut for "best" but are more than worth adding to your bookshelves.

Why has Barry Hannah—though considered by many writers and scholars to be the current Great One of Southern Letters (and most would drop the modifiers “current” and “Southern”)—continued to fall under that lackluster rubric, the Writer’s Writer?

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial does not move us to think about the creative spirit so much as it moves us to think about everyday life. Cleave it from its ties to literary celebrity and it becomes replete in and of itself: Come see how, in a certain place at a certain time, some people lived, and some made a living.

"Rereading the novel on my own the summer before teaching it, I was stunned once more by its complexity. Absalom is not an easy read, and it resists casual intimacy. Sentences swell and loop, wind-ing into rhetorical knots. Narrators speculate, are ignorant, or just plain lie. Faulkner himself rarely appears, and he never brings answers. Sixteen-year-olds, I knew—even the most clever ones—tend to read in anticipation of Aesopian morality, a thematic deus ex machina, and Faulkner simply doesn’t provide one."

In 2009, the Oxford American polled a group of 134 judges for what they considered to be the best Southern Literature of all time. This list is their verdict on the region's best nonfiction.

In 2009, the Oxford American polled 134 scholars and writers for the ten best Southern novels and five best Southern nonfiction books of all time.