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

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue She traveled the world and left it scorched with her fearlessness and musical originality, inspired fierce devotion from an audience who thrilled to her enormous gifts and her personal excesses, and shook… by Rosanne Cash | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our Georgia Music Issue Grandmama’s stank was root and residue of black Southern poverty, and devalued black Southern labor, black Southern excellence, black Southern imagination, and black Southern woman magic. This was the stank from whence black… by Kiese Laymon | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue Great Black music is that which isn’t trying to impress or entreat or even necessarily communicate with a white audience—or any audience. Instead, great Black music works to retrieve what Rahsaan Roland… by Harmony Holiday | Nov, 2020

Poachers are among a small group that have actually seen the flytrap in the wild, and Officer Gorchess thinks they know what they’re talking about. “The guys who actually take them probably know more about flytraps than ninety-nine percent of… by Joe Purtell. Photographs by Nina Riggio | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue There was a moment in 1958 when the future of jazz took an extraordinary turn that would be imperceptible to the world for another quarter century. That’s when Ellis Marsalis Jr., freshly… by Gwen Thompkins | 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

Christopher Brunt

Christopher Brunt’s work appears or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Fugue, Poets.org, Meridian, the Cincinnati Review, and other magazines. His fiction has been selected as a Distinguished Story by Best American Short Stories and will soon be featured in the MTA Subway Library in New York City. His poetry has recently been named a finalist for the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. He is an Assistant Professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, where he teaches ancient and modern literature and creative writing. His MFA is from Syracuse University and he received a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi.
November 06, 2019

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

In my research following Leibniz and Spinoza as their paths cross and then diverge, I became interested more broadly in the failure of the Enlightenment to extinguish the things it’s meant to have extinguished: superstition and religious bigotry, tribalism and barbarity, feudalistic economies and stupid, evil, mass death. Their world, on the cusp of a new modernity, begins to look more like ours than not: the post-Westphalian order giving rise to the nation-state and with it, bellicose nationalism, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade birthing global capitalism and the system of racial hierarchy that persists today in its wake. 

September 19, 2019

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

This Having-a-Baby is proving harder than I remembered. In part because it is harder the second time around. Because I am not wise, I had expected the opposite to be the case. I had thought, we already have the tools, the knowledge, the expertise. We have been to Troy in our black ships, looted its treasure, burned it to the ground. We know from diaper changes, projectile spit-ups at four A.M., teeth-cutting, growth spurts, high fevers. We know not to leave the stroller on the porch overnight or else it gets that weird green mold. The second baby would slot right into this operation, a seamless addition to the good world we’ve made.

August 01, 2019

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

Here is what I know: becoming a parent made me a better writer; being a better writer made me a better parent. Now, as the number of children in my household doubles, I expect this positive relationship between the life-crafts of parenting and writing to extend and increase proportionally over time. I also expect severe financial stress. Lastly, I expect it’ll probably all work out somehow.

June 05, 2019

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

I thought they were zany, quippy, tender, uproariously profane. In the crosstalk and hubbub, in the backstories of these women I would learn later from my colleagues, in the atmosphere of the prison itself, there were suggestions of brutal violence. In other words, it was exactly like Orange is the New Black.

April 17, 2019

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

If you’ve never been a young person on a big campaign, it’s hard to convey how thrilling the atmosphere is—part cult, part war, with stolen intervals of shore-leave. It went on for six months, through a January run-off, and it was a euphoric experience.

February 28, 2019

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

To remember your death is to know a powerful clarifying truth: this ain’t no dress rehearsal. My favorite Stoic, Epictetus, suggests we teach our children this as we tuck them in bed each night. “What harm is it,” asks Epictetus, with a straight face, “just when you are kissing your little child, to say: Tomorrow you will die?” To which I think, have you ever met a child?