Wendy Brenner’s classic 2005 profile of snake enthusiast Dean Ripa, who died Saturday. By now I’ve grown accustomed (and rather devoted) to Dean’s rhetorical style—outrageous overstatement, subsequent qualification—but I think I recognize something else, something authentic here: a certain strain of introverted misanthropy… by Wendy Brenner | May, 2017

In his project I Need Some Rest, Florida photographer Carson Gilliland seeks the “clues locked in a profound stillness of primeval night bathed in sodium vapor glow and humid sky.” by Carson Gilliland | May, 2017

The artist works in a style he calls “romantic realism.” In his paintings people are twenty pounds thinner and twenty years younger, often surrounded by heavenly light, riding exotic animals, or framed by mountain ranges. This willingness to flout the… by Nicole Pasulka | May, 2017

Photographs from This Land: An American Portrait. Jack Spencer spent thirteen years working on the project and traveled more than eighty thousand miles across all forty-eight contiguous states looking for scenes and moments that he says are “an expression of the… by Jack Spencer | May, 2017

The introduction to a previously unpublished poem by Margaret Walker.  Nearly twenty years after her death and seventy-five years after the publication of For My People, this magazine sent me a previously unpublished poem of Walker’s. The poem, “An Elegiac Valedictory,” is… by Kiese Laymon | May, 2017

A previously unpublished poem by Margaret Walker.  For a dozen wonderful writers:Goodbye to all you girls and guyswho walked this weary way who climbed these hillsand walked these milesthis rocky wooded chase.A dozen wonderful writers by Margaret Walker | May, 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

Roger May's project Testify is a measured and honest documentation of Appalachia. His photographs tell a story in which family, industry, memory, erasure, and loss play equal parts.

A firefighter cannot be a coward. He can be a lot of things, a prick, a thief, a liar, but he cannot be a coward. A man who won't tote his own weight, who won't hump his own hose, won't be tolerated. They'll blackball him and nobody will want him on his shift. I've seen men who were reluctant to enter a burning building. It does not endear them to you, not if you think about going down inside one and him being the only one immediately available to pull you out.

Sarah Hoskins's The Homeplace is a beautifully considered study of the small African-American communities that sprang up in post–Civil War Kentucky. Some of these communities have endured, and even thrived throughout the past 150 years. Others are on the verge of disappearing.

An installment of Big Chief Tablet.

In her photographs White contrasts landscapes from Mississippi with scenes from Maine. White’s work speaks to the experience of travel. Not only the pleasure of seeing a new landscape with its unfamiliar textures and light, but also our tendency to seek out the forms and landscapes that remind us of home.

An installment of Big Chief Tablet.

The Anxiety of Authenticity

Six cuts from The Oxford American's Louisianacompilation, plus fun miscellany.

Between 1929 and 1934, Amédé Ardoin recorded seventeen two-sided 78-rpm records, all of which Christopher King has gathered, studied, and sequenced over two compact discs. Why is Ardoin so important to King? “I just naturally, intensely, obsessively gravitate toward music that is emotionally unhinged.”

There's A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On: A Timeline of Louisiana Music

Music Row has witnessed a curious trend towards France—once responsible for freedom fries and stigmatized for its liberal socialism—as an emerging, prominent country signifier.